by Charlie Hill, C.M.

Tom Thomson and the future members of the Group of Seven were the most influential artists working in Canada in the first decades of the twentieth century. Their bold experimentation and engagement with Canada's many landscapes were the tools to foster a uniquely Canadian art that would, in turn, further the development of Canada as an independent nation. Though their lives and art were closely intertwined, individual artists emerged as the creative forces at different moments in the history of the movement. Tom Thomson first revealed the northern Ontario landscape to his fellow artists but his all too brief career was cut short in 1917. J.E.H. MacDonald became the public spokesperson for the fledgling movement prior to 1920 and in the 1920s A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer and Lawren Harris articulated their shared goals and ideals, both in word and paint.