Before The Group of Seven, these artists travelled to Europe for a bumpy encounter with Impressionism

by AryanArtnews
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Clarence Gagneon’s “Winter Train” shows a locomotive running on steam in the snowy wilderness.Paul Elter, National Gallery of Canada / National Gallery of Canada

The 2019 Canadian and Impressionist exhibition in Munich ended with a room dedicated to the Group of Seven. The enthusiastic German audience found here was the flowering of the encounter between Canadian expatriates and repatriated artists with the French Impressionists in the 1880s and 1920s.

The same show was finally held at the National Gallery of Canada, one year behind the pandemic and another month behind the Ottawa protest, so the last room isn’t needed. The work of mid-teens Tom Thomson, Lawren Harris, JEH McDonald, Arthur Lismer and two relentless portraits of 1927 and 1930, Prudence Hiward, before the group was formed in 1920. It ends with the work of. Anna And Edwin Holgate’s Rudivine.. Canadians rarely need to remember the group. At least English Canadians are familiar with the story. Inspired by Thomson’s example, in 1920, saddened by his premature death, a group of seven stubborn outdoor men began painting harsh Canadian landscapes in new, modern ways.

122 years later, revisionism is floating in the air. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, celebrated its 100th anniversary with Uninivited, a show dedicated to the neglected female contemporaries of male painters, as well as an overview of the group. In a sense, the Canadian and Impressionist shows, which collect about 100 paintings from Canada’s public and private collections, are a healthy part of the same reconsideration of national mythology. This reminds viewers that the group did not grow completely from Zeus’s eyebrows or, if necessary, from Algonquin Provincial Park.

At McMichael’s new exhibition Uninvited, Canada’s neglected female artist gains a long postponed exposure

There was a Canadian precedent for them Plein Air Paintings, other artists who traveled to Europe and saw what the Impressionists achieved by focusing on everyday urban life and paying attention to the effects of light in the countryside and gardens. Many of these artists are already well known to Canadians, if not as respected as Thomson and Harris. The show includes European and Canadian scenes by Clarence Gagneon and Maurice Cullen. Resident James Wilson Morris is represented here with bright views of Paris, Venice and North Africa.

On the other hand, as the show suggests, it’s not straightforward to claim that Canada has made a significant contribution to the Impressionists in France and around the world. Organized by Katerina Atanasova, Senior Canadian Curator at the National Gallery, this exhibition has a very broad perspective on the movement. It includes early landscapes by William Brymner and William Blair Bruce, admitting that it owes more to the darker and more delicate approach of the Barbizon school than those produced by Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro.

Also, there is little distinction between academic painters and Refusenik, as the main ambition of many Canadian artists was to hang in Paris’ annual salon to improve their career at home. And that continues until the time when abstractions emerged in Europe while landscape painters worked as soldiers in Canada. (For fairness, these distinctions are recognized in catalogs with room for a more subtle approach to the subject. In his prologue, Adam Gopnik, art marches on a single file to modernism. Warn against the notion that it was.)

Florence Carlyle’s studio is a prime example of Japanese influence on Post-Impressionist art.John Tambourine / Woodstock Art Gallery Collection

Still, it seems unlikely that something by Toronto artist George Reed would be labeled Impressionist. He is an academic genre painter who specializes in narrative scenes, represented here by the studied oils of a boy reading a book. Similarly, the profile of the Quebec forest people and pretty landscapes carefully observed by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté feels beyond the point.And it’s ridiculous to compare the bland pointillist subject matter of Henri Bo’s family picnic with the one that shakes the land of Edouard Manet. Ledéjeuners url’herbeBut the text on the wall does exactly that.

Post-Impressionists Paul Cézanne and Fauvism, on the other hand, can be mentioned in the same breath as Emily Carr. Autumn in France, A striped representation of Breton’s hills dating back to 1911. Carr is a powerful example of the show’s dissertation. She went to France in 1910 and revolutionized her approach to Canadian subjects. Unfortunately, it’s one of the two cars on the show. Coincidentally, her European work was already spoken by the 2019-2020 show at the Odein Museum on her relationship with French modernism.

If there is a confirmation here – a confirmation of Morris’s light joy. Karen and Ganyon’s Solid Patience – Thankfully, there are some revelations in the show with nine women among the three dozen artists.Florence Carlyle studioA bold portrait of a woman relaxing in a kimono is a classic example of Japanese influence on Post-Impressionist art, a provocative statement of the subject’s intellectual and sexual power.Mary Bell East Lake In the orchardPortraits of young girls in mottled light do a remarkable job of turning striking effects into graphic patterns.

It hangs in a fairly original section dedicated to children’s portraits. There, Atanasova describes how softening social attitudes have transformed childhood into an important country.It includes Paul Peel Bubble boyA well-known image of a chubby cheek cherub blowing soap bubbles, which can be seen with fresh eyes in this new context. The sensibility of the pretty genre still remains, but the sunlight shining through the broken brim of the child’s straw hat is the Impressionist.

In the end, revisionism is hated and the story of a victorious nationalist emerges. Canada’s main contribution to the Impressionists, of course, turned out to be the winter scene. Karen returned to Canada and made the following sharp observations of the winter atmosphere: Ice harvestTraveling between Paris and Quebec, Gagnon gained popularity for his quaint Canadian snow scenes, including: Old house in Bethan Paul And early in his career, Lauren Harris observed a shade of blue snow in the shade. Snow IIThat lovely 1915 canvas from the National Gallery’s own collection.

But perhaps the most obvious is Ganyon’s Train, winter, 1913-14. It shows a locomotive, the subject of which is very elevated by Monet, steaming the snowy wilderness rather than sitting proudly at Gare St. Lazare. Of course, it’s Canadian history, a country built by railroads, but as a composition, it offers a surprisingly nasty contrast between black and white and nature and technology. Don’t worry about discomfort, it moves forward, like a non-uniform encounter with Canada’s French Impressionists.

The fall of Emily Carr in France is a striped rendition of Breton’s hills dating back to 1911.National Gallery of Canada

Canada and the Impressionists will be held at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa until July 3.

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