The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson
(Galleries 1, 2, 3, 4)
The Toronto-based Group of Seven held their first exhibition in 1920 with the intention of promoting a uniquely Canadian art through subject matter and innovation in style. The original seven members – J.E.H. MacDonald, Lawren S. Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank H. Johnston, and Franklin Carmichael – would later be joined by three additional artists who were invited to become part of the Group prior to its evolvement into the Canadian Group of Painters in 1933. Johnston left after the first Group show and was replaced by A.J. Casson, followed by the inclusion of Edwin Holgate from Montreal and L.L. FitzGerald from Winnipeg. Tom Thomson was a close associate of the original seven artists. His name has become synonymous with the Group although he could not become a member due to his sudden and premature death in 1917, only three years prior to the Group’s formation.
Since their inception, the Group of Seven and Thomson gradually became the
predominant national school of Canadian art embracing the modern era in art of the
early part of the twentieth century. The artists largely focused on representing the
Canadian landscape as a symbol of national pride and cultural identity. The Canadian
land also provided the means by which to experiment in techniques and create a new
formal language that would be distinctively Canadian.
Legends: Norval Morrisseau and Anishinabek "Woodland School" Artists
Please Note: This gallery is currently closed for exhibition reinstallation and will reopen on June 29.
First Nations artist Norval Morrisseau is celebrated for establishing a style of art that became known as the Woodland School. Morrisseau’s decision to produce his art on canvas and paper marked a shift to European-influenced traditions. His painted compositions are characterized by an intuitive use of bright, pure colour shapes contained within black form lines; a deliberate attempt to communicate his beliefs with the viewer using colour. At the same time, other First Nations artists were similarly motivated in their desire to communicate the values of their culture, and subsequent generations of artists continue to do so through the creation of unique and significant art forms.
Norval Morrisseau (1931-2007)
Shaman and Disciples, 1979
acrylic on canvas
180.5 x 211.5 cm
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
The Founders' Story
A Tribute to the Legacy of Robert and Signe McMichael
Don’t miss this display of archival photographs and accompanying texts recounting the history of the McMichael from its early beginnings in the home of Robert and Signe McMichael through the donation to the Province in 1965, until the Founders’ retirement in 1981.
Learn more about our Founders’ passion for collecting and their mutual vision – a vision that enabled the creation of a unique public art gallery, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection.
To view The Founders’ Story visit the ramp leading from Gallery 1 to the restaurant.
Robert McMichael signing the Gift Agreement, with Premier John Robarts
and Signe McMichael, November 18th, 1965
Photo by the Ontario Department of Tourism and Information