May 26, 2018 - July 14, 2018
This rare exhibition highlights the little-known relationship between early Alberta artists and members of the Group of Seven. As artists, from east and west, they shared an emotional bond with, and a commitment to, the Canadian landscape. Formed in Toronto in 1920 and disbanded in 1933, the Group of Seven is Canada’s most celebrated and internationally known collective of landscape painters. Just four years after the Group’s formation, and eager to create what they considered to be a distinctly Canadian art reflective of the country’s vast size and diverse terrains, A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and Frank H. (Franz) Johnston came west to paint the imposing alpine country of the Rockies. All would make this journey again with the most frequent visitors being A.Y. Jackson and Lawren Harris.
As for Alberta’s own artists, those who lived and worked in the province, by the 1930s small clusters of trained practitioners could be found in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge and Banff. Born before the end of the First World War, and including Illingworth Kerr, Euphemia McNaught, Annora Brown, Peter Whyte, Catherine (Robb) Whyte, H.G. Glyde and W.L. Stevenson, some of these Albertans were either former students or artistic colleagues of the Group of Seven. Their contribution helped to broaden the image of Alberta beyond its towering western ramparts and icy waters.
Guest curated by Alberta art specialist Mary-Beth Laviolette, the exhibition includes paintings and drawings of Alberta by both the Group of Seven and early Alberta artists, from public and private collections.