Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

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D & M Publishers, Sep 25, 2010 - Art - 504 pages
Beginning in 1912, Defiant Spirits traces the artistic development of Tom Thomson and the future members of the Group of Seven, Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley, over a dozen years in Canadian history. Working in an eclectic and sometimes controversial blend of modernist styles, they produced what an English critic celebrated in the 1920s as the “most vital group of paintings” of the 20th century. Inspired by CÚzanne, Van Gogh and other modernist artists, they tried to interpret the Ontario landscape in light of the strategies of the international avant-garde. Based after 1914 in the purpose-built Studio Building for Canadian Art, the young artists embarked on what Lawren Harris called “an all-engrossing adventure”: travelling north into the anadian Shield and forging a style of painting appropriate to what they regarded as the unique features of Canada’s northern landscape.

Rigorously researched and drawn from archival documents and letters, Defiant Spirits constitutes a “group biography,” reconstructing the men’s aspirations, frustrations and achievements. It details not only the lives of Tom Thomson and the members of the Group of Seven but also the political and social history of Canada

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User Review  - m.belljackson - LibraryThing

DEFIANT SPIRITS is a meticulously researched story of The Group of Seven, painting men who worked to change both internal and external perceptions of Canada as culturally backward - "to awaken ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Ross King is the author of three previous best-selling art history books, including Brunelleschi's Dome, which won the 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Nonfiction and The Judgment of Paris, winner of the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in Canada. He lives in England, near Oxford.

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