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Group of Seven Canadian Naturalist Artists Part 2 of 3

Frank Johnson Fire Spotters 1919

Group of Seven Canadian Naturalist Artists Part 2 of 3

Frank Johnston

Frank Johnston, 1888 –1949, was born in Toronto Ontario. As a young man he began to work as a commercial artist at Grip Limited. In 1921, he left Toronto to work at the Winnipeg School of Art, and had officially broken away from the Group of Seven by 1924. In 1927 he changed his name to Franz Johnston and continued to make decent money off of his paintings.

Arthur Lismer Isles of Spruce 1922

Arthur Lismer

Arthur Lismer, 1885 –1969, was born in Sheffield England. At age 13 he apprenticed at a photo-engraving company. He was awarded a scholarship, and used this time to take evening classes at the Sheffield School of Arts from 1898 until 1905.  In 1905 he moved to Antwerp Belgium where he studied art at the Academie Royale. Lismer immigrated to Canada in 1911, and settled in Toronto where he began to work at Grip Limited – a commercial design company. While at Grip he met MacDonald, Carmichael and Thomson and they eventually became members of the Group of Seven.

J.E.H. MacDonald Falls on the Montreal River

E. H. MacDonald

James Edward Harvey MacDonald, 1873 –1932, was born in Durham England. He immigrated to Canada with his English mother and Canadian father when he was only fourteen. Once he completed his studies of art in both Hamilton and Toronto he began to work at Grip Limited from 1895 to 1911 along with other members of the Group of Seven.

Frederick H. Varley Night Ferry-in Vancouver 1937

Frederick H. Varley

Frederick Horsman Varley, 1881-1969, was born in Sheffield, England where he lived until 1912 when he moved to Canada. During the first 31 years of his life he studied art in both Sheffield (Sheffield School of Art) and Belgium (Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts When longtime friend Arthur Lismer arrived in England for his own wedding, he encouraged Varley to move to Canada. He and his family packed up and moved to Ontario, and it wasn’t long before he began to work at Grip Ltd where he met his fellow painters in the Group of Seven.

A.J. Casson Farmhouse Winter-Sun

A.J. Casson

Alfred Joseph Casson, 1898 –1992, joined the Group of Seven in 1926 at the invitation of Franklin Carmichael. Casson is best known for his depictions of landscapes, forests and farms of southern Ontario, and for being the youngest and eighth member of the Group of Seven.


Tom Thomson and Emily Carr The Ninth and Tenth Members of the Group of Seven

Tom Thomson was never formally a member of the group, because he died (disappeared in northern Ontario, presumed drowned) before the group was formed. He is often linked to the Group of Seven. Emily Carr was also closely affiliated with the group.

We will be exploring the works of Tom Thomson and Emily Carr in our next blog: The Group of Seven Canadian Naturalist Artists Part Three of 3