Monday, 31 October 2011

'Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven' at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven is the latest exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery  It includes the largest group of Canadian paintings ever to leave Canada!

The exhibition opened recently and is on until 8 January 2012.  It's been organised in liaison with the National Gallery of Canada and collaboration with the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo and the Groninger Museum.

This is by way of a preamble as I've not yet seen the exhibition - but I hope to see it very shortly!  I'll also be doing more posts about the development of Canadian landscape art.

Franklin Carmichael, Autumn Hillside, 1920,
Oil on canvas 76 x 91.4cm,
© Art Gallery of Ontario,Gift from the J.S. McLean Collection, Toronto
© Courtesy of the Estate of Franklin Carmichael
Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven

This exhibition is one of those "once in a lifetime" events.  

The famous landscape paintings of Canada which feature in this exhibition were first seen at the British Empire exhibitions at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. Although both Thom Thomson and the Group of Seven are greatly revered within Canada, they are much less well known outside that country.  However they very much deserve to be better known.

Sketch for the Jack Pine by Thom Thomson
This is the first major exhibition of Canadian landscape art outside Canada and includes the largest  number of paintings (122 paintings in total) ever to travel to Europe plus Tom Thomson’s sketchbox.

Painting Canada is displayed as a journey across Canada, from East to West, framed by two grand rooms dedicated individually to Tom Thomson’s electrifying sketches and paintings of Algonquin Park and Lawren Harris’s other-worldly paintings of the Arctic and the Rocky Mountains. Between these two ‘poles,’ a selection of the best work by Thomson and the Group of Seven will be on display. A special feature of the show will be the juxtaposition, wherever possible, of the initial sketch with the finished canvas. One room will be devoted entirely to a display of these vibrant sketches, which represent one of Canada’s most impressive contributions to 20th century art.
Exhibition Catalogue
The 216 page fully illustrated catalogue is available online from the Dulwich Picture Gallery shop.  It tells the story of the beginnings of the Group of Seven and how and why they started to try and depict the landscape of Canada in paint, the challenges they faced and the journeys they undertook to find their subject matter.
Tom Thomson developed an artistic language that captured the unique qualities of the Canadian landscape - dazzling in colour and in tune with the subtle changing of the seasons. After his untimely death, Thomson’s friends organised a memorial exhibition, and followed this up by forming probably the most famous artistic force in Canadian art history: the Group of Seven. Lawren Harris, J.E.H. MacDonald, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Frank Johnston, Franklin Carmichael and A.Y. Jackson created - along with Thomson - a landscape style that to this day influences the way Canadians visualise their own country.

Highly revered in Canada, these great artists are virtually unknown outside. This spectacularly illustrated book, arranged according to the geographical areas depicted, with scholarly essays investigating different aspects of the painters’ craft, aims to redress that imbalance.
Interestingly this exhibition also has a related art blog - which also focuses on the journey across Canada. Here are some of the posts - and a quote from the first which explains what they are all about
Over the next three months and seven blog posts, Julian Beecroft will travel across Canada from Atlantic to Pacific coasts. During the course of his extraordinary journey he will introduce you to Tom Thomson, Canadian landscape painter, and the members of the Group of Seven, their paintings and something of their individual characters, as he visits and photographs the sites of paintings loaned to the exhibition coming this autumn to Dulwich Picture Gallery.
The exhibition is also going on tour to the following locations:
There is also an iPhone app associated with the Exhibition - priced at $1.99 from the iTunes store.  It's compatible with iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.  It's especially useful for visitors to the Gallery.  However it's NOT available from the iMac Store and there doesn't seem to be an Android application.
A unique, interactive exploration of Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Featuring over 70 works and using landmark technology developed by ArtFinder, visitors to the exhibition at Dulwich Picture Gallery (19 October 2011 – 8 January) can use image recognition “snap” technology to use their app to identify the works in front of them and listen to audio commentaries accompanied by text and a room by room guide to the exhibition. Alternatively simply explore the exhibition by room and location to take a virtual tour of the show.
Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven
Exhibition dates:  19 October 2011 – 8 January 2012 
Exhibition Opening hours:

  • Tue - Fri 10am–5pm 
  • Weekends & Bank Holiday Mondays 11am– 5pm
  • Closed Mondays except Bank Holidays 
Exhibition entry: £9, £8 Concessions Free entry for children and Friends of Dulwich Picture Gallery


For those interested in Canadian art 
you might like Canadian Art Calendars 2012

1 comment:

Michelle Basic Hendry said...

I look forward to hearing what you think! Thanks for the interesting blog links...

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