January 12, 2016, KLEINBURG ON—Most great works of art begin with a drawing – ideas come out on paper first. To explore the ways in which the story of Canada has been shaped by works of art on paper, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection presents the exhibition On Paper, from February 6 to May 1, 2016. Visitors will be given a rare glimpse of the finest works of art on paper from the McMichael permanent collection. These works will be on view for a limited time only, since light exposure can be a conservation concern.

On Paper will be displayed over two gallery spaces and features Emily Carr’s 1903 diary/sketchbook, Clarence Gagnon’s original artworks for Maria Chapdelaine, the best watercolours by A.J. Casson and David Milne, including Milne’s watercolour Morning Paper – a recent promised gift to the gallery – and more.

“The McMichael is delighted to have been promised a significant gift of Milne’s Morning Paper, which has never-before been publicly exhibited,” said Sarah Stanners, Director of Curatorial & Collections at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. “This artwork is not only a beautiful watercolour, but celebrates and encourages the spirit of giving. Through the generosity of donors, the McMichael collection continues to grow and provide a unique arts and cultural experience for the public.”

Clarence Gagnon’s original fifty-four artworks for his illustration of Louis Hémon’s classic Canadian novel, Maria Chapdelaine, is one of the highlights of the show. Éditions Mornay, a book publisher in Paris, commissioned Gagnon to create the first colour illustrations, in mixed media on paper, for a new edition of the novel. In illustrating Maria Chapdelaine, Gagnon revealed the complexities of the seemingly simple way of life of the early settlers in rural Quebec. Their experiences, immortalized by Hémon, depicted the struggles against a harsh natural environment while at the same time emphasizing their inner strength and resilience. These qualities profoundly shaped their sense of historic cultural and spiritual values as well as their identification with the land.

“Clarence Gagnon was far more popular than the Group of Seven in both French and English Canada, and in Paris during the first two decades of the twentieth century,” said Chris Finn, Assistant Curator at the McMichael. “He too believed in creating national art, but chose to focus on the people and domesticated landscape of his native province as opposed to the wilderness.”

In addition to the artworks, an iPad will be installed in the first gallery space where Emily Carr’s diary/sketchbook is featured, allowing visitors to scroll through its entire contents. The Maria Chapdelaine display will include copies of the original limited-edition Éditions Mornay novel and the 1931 French periodical L’Illustration, which promoted the book. One of the first Maria Chapdelaine films, produced in France in 1934 and directed by Julien Duvivier, and a hand-drawn lithographic poster promoting the film, will also be part of the exhibition.

For those who love the Group of Seven, rarely seen drawings by Arthur Lismer of Tom Thomson and each Group of Seven member will also be featured in On Paper. Lismer’s drawings lend a personal and playful perspective on these important Canadian artists.

Media wishing to view the exhibition are requested to contact Daniela Travierso-Galati at [email protected] or 905.893.1121 ext. 2210. High resolution images of the artworks in the exhibition are also available upon request.


Emily Carr’s Pause

Speaker: Sarah Milroy

Saturday, March 12, 11 am to 12 pm

Illustrating a very special Pause in the artist’s life, Emily Carr’s original sketchbook is one of many treasures on paper in the McMichael’s holdings. Discover a fresh new take on this period in Emily’s life offered by acclaimed journalist Sarah Milroy, curator of the recent exhibition From the Forest to the Sea: Emily Carr in British Columbia.

Fee: A+ seating (first two rows only): $29 general public; $24 McMichael members; $15 for students with valid ID. A seating: $19 general public; $15 McMichael members; $10 for students with valid ID.

Registration required. Call 905.893.1121 ext. 2216, email [email protected] or visit for more information. Fee includes gallery admission.

Stories Between Two Solitudes

Speaker: Chris Finn

Saturday, April 23, 11 am to 12 pm

Discover the interrelationship of English and French-Canadian cultural narratives illustrated by two major historical Canadian artists, Clarence Gagnon and Franklin Carmichael. Gagnon’s original colour illustrations are immortalized in Louis Hémon’s iconic novel Maria Chapdelaine. Franklin Carmichael’s graphic work in Grace Campbell’s novel Thorn-apple Tree animates the narrative and “does for the Scottish settlers in Glengarry what Maria Chapdelaine did for the habitant.”   

Included with gallery admission. Registration required.


Matinée Francophone with Maria Chapdelaine (IN FRENCH)  

Speaker: Nathalie Sienkiewicz

Saturday, May 7, 10 am to 12 pm

Join us for a petit dejeuner followed by a tour in French to discover the iconic story of Maria Chapdelaine and explore Clarence Gagnon’s illustrations with the McMichael’s Bilingual Lead Educator.

Soyez des nötres pour un petit déjeuner suivi d’une visite guidée en français avec notre animatrice bilingue, qui vous fera découvrir l’histoire emblématique de Maria Chapdelaine et les illustrations de Clarence Gagnon qui s’inspirent du sujet.


Included with gallery admission. Registration required.


Images: David Milne (1882-1953), Pansies No. 1, 1941, watercolour over graphite on paper, 38.1 x 55.3 cm, Gift of Mr. R.A. Laidlaw, McMichael Canadian Art Collection,1969.2.1; Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942), The Betrothal, 1928-1933, gouache over colour monotype on paper, sheet: 24.1 x 26.5 cm; image: 21.5 x 22.6 cm, Gift of Colonel R.S. McLaughlin, McMichael Canadian Art Collection,1969.4.54; Emily Carr (1871-1945), A Calm Day at Albert Head, 1935, oil on paper, 55.9 x 87.6 cm, Gift of Darwina Faessler Moore, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, 2010.7


About the McMichael Canadian Art Collection

The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. It is the foremost venue in the country showcasing the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. In addition to touring exhibitions, its permanent collection consists of almost 6,000 artworks by Canadian artists, including paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as First Nations, Métis and Inuit artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of northern landscape and hiking trails at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, north of Major Mackenzie Drive in the City of Vaughan. For more


Media Contacts:

Daniela Travierso-Galati

Media Relations and Communications Coordinator

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2210

[email protected]

Nick Foglia

Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales

McMichael Canadian Art Collection

905.893.1121 ext. 2265

[email protected]