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Publishers WeeklyAward-winning art historian King (The Judgment of Paris) recounts the evolution of the Algonquin School in this biography of seven remarkable Canadian artists. On the eve of WWI, a small group of talented painters converged in the art department of the Toronto design firm, Grip Limited. While the firm had introduced the nation to Art Nouveau and metal engraving, its designers had loftier ambitions--to develop an artistic identity for Canada. Head Grip designer J.E.H. MacDonald found kindred spirits in Tom Thomson, Franklin Carmichael, A.Y. Jackson, Franz Johnston, Arthur Lismer, and Frederick Varley. The group's challenge--to capture with "'Canadian' eyes" the harsh landscape of the north on canvas--led to extensive exploration of Algonquin Provincial Park. In 1914, the seven gathered at the purpose-built Studio Building for Canadian Art, where they would hone their skills and their vision, resulting in their first group exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1921. After a productive decade and mounting criticism that their work had begun to settle into clichés, the group finally disbanded in 1931. Their paintings reflected what fellow artist Emily Carr called the "naked soul." King's book does an excellent job of exploring the roles of these visionary individuals in the shaping of an artistic cultural identity. With 24 pages of color plates and 43 black and white photos
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