The Group of Seven

The Group of Seven was a collective of enormously influential Canadian landscape painters dating from 1920-1933. The Group originally consisted of Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley.  A.J. Casson joined the Group after Johnston left. The Group of Seven was committed to exploring, through art, the unique character of the Canadian landscape, which they captured in a distinctive and iconic painting style.

Most of the members of the Group of Seven were either students, instructors, or administrative staff at OCAD University, when it was known as the Ontario College of Art (OCA):

J. E. H. MacDonald (1873-1932)

In 1921 MacDonald began instructing at OCA in design and commercial art. He later became the Principal of OCA from 1929 to 1932.

Frederick H. Varley (1881-1969)

Varley taught at OCA in 1925, after serving as an official artist during the First World War.

A. Y. Jackson (1882-1972)

Between his painting trips Jackson lived at the OCA Studio Building from 1914 to 1955. He also taught at OCA during the 1924/25 session.

Arthur Lismer (1885-1969)

A distinguished educator, Lismer taught at OCA and later served as its Vice Principal from 1919 to 1927.

Frank (Franz) Johnston (1888-1949)

While he only exhibited once with the Group, in 1920, Johnston was one of the founding members. He later served as the Principal of OCA from 1927 to 1929.

Franklin Carmichael (1890-1945)

Carmichael studied at OCA in 1911. After further studies in Antwerp, he returned to Toronto and took up residence in the Studio Building with Tom Thomson. He later taught at OCA from 1932 to 1945, and then served as the Head of the Commercial and Graphic Arts department.

A.J. Casson (1898-1992)

Casson studied at OCA from 1918 to 1921 under J.W. Beatty. He joined the Group of Seven in 1926 and later became a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters.

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