This Reid has done outstandingly well. Rather than seeming a mere sequence of objects—points on the graph of artistic development—his soon-to-be unveiled installation of historical Canadian art feels instead like a gathering of old friends, huddled together in convivial discussion. In part, this is because of the warm tones and domestic scale of many of the spaces. But largely it is due to the grace and tact of Reid’s shaping hand. The Group of Seven, instead of looking like stuffy inevitables, fairly pulse with new life at the centre of the installation, connected by numerous archways to the Canadian Art Club of 1907 to 1915 (with its emphasis on the Parisian idiom), the Arts and Crafts movement in Toronto at the turn of the century (including a preponderance of women artists such as Laura Muntz, Marion Nelson and Mary Hiester Reid as well as early works by J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris), the stylized and spiritual landscapes of Emily Carr, the figurative concerns of the thirties and forties (artists like Charles Comfort, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark), and the new room full of David Milnes.
So begins our Winter 1992 cover story. To keep reading, view a PDF of the entire article.