"We have no group formula and are conscious of widely divergent aims. We have as little desire to be revolutionary as to be old-fashioned."
-The Group of Seven Exhibition Catalogue, May 1921.

1920 saw the first exhibition of a bunch of Canadian artists who called themselves "The Group of Seven," and who were to become a national institution in art. They were deeply inspired by the wild, awesome landscape in more remote parts of Canada, and by abstract painting. The seven founding members were: A deep sense of commitment to national subjects and spirit drove their work. On an early trip to Algoma, Lawren S. Harris suggested that they rent a boxcar from the Algoma Railway; from here they sketched, travelled along the railroad, and literally lived (when it was warm). With broad brush strokes and vibrant colours, all of these painters endeavoured to capture vast scenes of threatening skies over frozen lakes in northern Ontario, lone pine trees clinging to living rock, villages blanketed with snow in Quebec, and warm sunshine over mountains in British Columbia. At first, their collections may just seem to be a whole thwack of landscapes, flogging a dead horse with slabs of paint, but after familiarising oneself with the paintings and especially with the areas of the world which they depict, a restless energy can be found in every one, something beautiful and also something sinister.

Most of them met while working for a Toronto commercial design firm called Grip Ltd. Tom Thomson is often associated with the Group, but he died (drowning in Canoe Lake, Algonquin Park, under mysterious circumstances) in 1917, before the Group of Seven was officially formed. Emily Carr is also frequently associated with the Go7.

"We had commenced our great adventure. We lived in a continuous blaze of enthusiasm. We were at times very serious and concerned, at other times hilarious and carefree. Above all, we loved this country and loved exploring and painting it." - Lawren S. Harris

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