Canadian Group of Painters
The Canadian Group of Painters succeeded the disbanded Group of Seven, whose paintings of the Canadian wilderness had been a strong influence on Canadian art. In the early 1930s, the Group of Seven's prominence had caused controversy as many believed that the National Gallery of Canada exhibited favouritism for their work and they were the only Canadian artists to receive global recognition. Concern over the Gallery's potential bias and exclusion of modern artists led to the formation of the Canadian Group of Painters in February 1933.
The group was made up of 28 different English-speaking painters from across Canada with Lawren Harris as their inaugural president. Several of the other Group of Seven painters were also included in the new group including A. J. Casson, Arthur Lismer, A. Y. Jackson, F.H. Varley and Franklin Carmichael.
Although the group never created a manifesto, they lived and worked with two objectives: to foster closer cooperation between Canadian artists and to encourage and cultivate Canadian artistic expression.
Their first exhibition of "nationalist art" was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey in November 1933. They showcased 57 works at the Heinz Art Salon, which proved to be a great international venue to showcase their brand. However, the pieces that gained the most recognition and press were still the Group of Seven works. The first CGP exhibition in Canada was held in November 1933. The exhibit was less restrictive in style and featured a wider range of works that fell outside of the Canadian landscape style.
Their next exhibition was not held until January 1936 at the Art Gallery of Toronto. The significant delay was caused by a variety of scandals between group members, including an affair between Lawren Harris and Bess Larkin Housser, fellow artist and the wife of CGP's secretary, Fred Housser. Harris stepped down as president and A. Y. Jackson took the lead with vice presidents Arthur Lismer and Prudence Heward in 1936. The group held a number of exhibitions under their new leadership and were making strides towards a unified style.
As active painters and as a group they continued to produce and influence Canadian art for many years. The Canadian Group of Painters organized exhibitions of the works of the Beaver Hall Group. Gentile Tondino was elected to the Canadian Group of Painters. Walter Yarwood, who was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, was also a founding member of Painters Eleven.
1933 founding members
Select group exhibitions
- 1953: Art Gallery of Ontario
- 1951: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, QC
- 1940: Art Association of Montreal, QC
- 1939: New York World's Fair, NY
- 1938: National Gallery of Canada
- 1937: Art Gallery of Ontario
- 1936: Art Gallery of Ontario
- 1933: Heinz Art Salon
- Robert J. Belton, "Important Moments in Canadian Art History" – 1919–1945, UBC Okanagan
- "Formation of the Canadian Group of Painters". Canadian Painting in the Thirties. National Gallery of Canada. Retrieved 10 July 2013.
- Boutilier, Alicia (2013). A Vital Force: The Canadian Group of Painters. Kingston, Oshawa, Ontario: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Robert McLaughlin Gallery. ISBN 978-1-55339-264-4.