Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

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Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

by Ross King

D&M Publishers Inc | July 25, 2011 | Trade Paperback |

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A Globe 100 Book of the Year for 2010 and shortlisted for the 2011 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

A Governor General''s Award-winning author recounts the turbulent years during which a group of young Canadian painters went from obscurity to international renown.

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 Cezanne, 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.

Sumptuously illustrated, 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 during a time when art exhibitions were venues for debates about Canadian national identity and cultural worth.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 504 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: July 25, 2011

Publisher: D&M Publishers Inc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553658825

ISBN - 13: 9781553658825

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– More About This Product –

Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

by Ross King

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 504 Pages, 5.91 × 9.06 × 1.18 in

Published: July 25, 2011

Publisher: D&M Publishers Inc

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553658825

ISBN - 13: 9781553658825

Read from the Book

From Book II, Chapter 8, "The Dweller on the Threshold" The four men, accompanied by Harris''s dog Prince, departed from Union Station early in September on an overnight cpr train to Sault Ste. Marie. At the Soo a specially equipped boxcar awaited them, a mobile studio conveniently fitted, as by Harris, with bunks, windows and lamps, cupboards, a stove, a sink and a water tank. The men also had use of a canoe and a jigger, a three-wheeled vehicle with which they could propel themselves along the tracks until, as MacDonald wrote, "some attractive composition of spruce tops or rock and maple" called for sketching. Their boxcar was hitched to a northbound acr train and then uncoupled 180 kilometres later on a siding near Canyon, where the steel was laid as recently as the winter of 1911-12. After several days of sketching near the Agawa River they were collected by a southbound train and shunted onto sidings 30 kilometres later at Hubert. A second southbound train then took them 25 kilometres to their final stop at Batchawana. The painters were mesmerized by the sight of winding rivers, thundering waterfalls and vertiginous granite canyons covered in radiant autumn colour. Harris found in the scenery "a richness and clarity of colour" that made everything in southern Ontario seem "grey and subdued." 41 MacDonald was even more smitten. "It is a land after Dante''s heart," he wrote to Joan on September 11, describing how Algoma had "all the attributes of an imagined Paradise," wit
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix Book I 1 A Wild Deserted Spot 3 2 This Wealthy Promised Land 12 3 Ein Toronto Realist 26 4 Eerie Wildernesses 41 5 Life on the Mississagi 51 6 Wild Men of the North 66 7 The Infanticist School 78 8 The Happy Isles 94 9 Rites of Paysage 110 10 The Young School 133 Book II 1 Men with Good Red Blood in Their Veins 153 Comparative and CompetitiveTitles Comparative titles: 1. Ray Ellenwood and Roald Nasgaard. The Automatiste Revolution. October 2009, Douglas & McIntyre, ISBN 978-1-55365-356-1, Hardcover, $60.00 2. Dennis Reid. Tom Thomson. June 2002, Douglas & McIntyre, Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-55054-898-3, $65.00 3. Doris Shadbolt. Art of Emily Carr.November 1992, Douglas & McIntyre, Paperback, ISBN 978-0-88894-441-2, $45.00 Competitive titles: 1. David P. Silcox. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. August 14, 2006, Firefly Books, Hardcover, 9781554071548, $49.95 2. John O''Brian and Peter White. Beyond Wilderness: The Group of Seven, Canadian Identiy, and Contemporary Art. September 30, 2007, McGill-Queen''s University Press, Paper (0773532447) 9780773532441, $49.95 3. Charles C. Hill. The Group of Seven: Art for a Nation. November 1995, McClelland & Stewart Ltd., Hardcover, 9780771067167, Price unknown. Defiant Spirits, 2010, Douglas & McIntyre, Hardcover, 504 pages, ISBN 978-1-55365-362-2, CAD$36.95. Leonardo and the Last Supper. August 31, 2010, Doubleday Canada, Hardcover, 978-0-385-66608-4 (0-385-66608-X), $34.95 Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power. May 29, 2
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From the Publisher

A Globe 100 Book of the Year for 2010 and shortlisted for the 2011 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

A Governor General''s Award-winning author recounts the turbulent years during which a group of young Canadian painters went from obscurity to international renown.

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 Cezanne, 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.

Sumptuously illustrated, 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 during a time when art exhibitions were venues for debates about Canadian national identity and cultural worth.

From the Jacket

[Back cover] $36.95 [barcode: isbn 978-1-55365-362-2] "In Defiant Spirits, Ross King tells the story of the Group of Seven as it has never been told before. He does for the Group what in his much-acclaimed books he does for Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, and Meissonier: sets out an articulate context, digs out a ton of new information, packs in lots of juicy details, and tells a story elegantly and compellingly, as if it were a mystery novel. Without doubt, a definitive, major, thorough, mesmerizing, and thrilling addition to Canadian art history." -David Silcox, author of The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson "Ross King''s Defiant Spirits takes a comfortable national myth and returns it to the days of its making. King rewrites the script of the story and gives us young artists schooled and alert to the trends and issues of early twentieth-century modernism. We will never see the Group of Seven the same way again." -Richard Rhodes, editor of Canadian Art "With remarkable speed and enthusiasm Ross King weaves anecdote, biography, social history, sound research and perceptive analysis in a fluid narrative that pulls the reader along. Situating the ideals and practices of the Group members within the national and international contexts of their own individual histories, he shines new light on and raises new questions about this much debated and popular movement." -Charles C. Hill, Curator of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada [Back flap] [Author photo] Ross King is the author of three books on Italian history and art: Brunelleschi''s Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, which was named the Book Sense Non-Fiction Book of the Year; Michelangelo and the Pope''s Ceiling; and Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power. He has also published two novels, as well as The Judgment of Paris, a study of French Impressionism, which won the Governor General''s Award for Non-Fiction. In addition, he has been nominated for a National Book Critics'' Circle Award, the Charles Taylor Prize, and the National Award for Arts Writing. He lives in England, near Oxford. [bull logo] Douglas & McIntyre D&M Publishers Inc. Vancouver/Toronto www.douglas-mcintyre.com [McMichael logo] McMichael Canadian Art Collection Jacket design by Naomi MacDougall Front jacket illustration by Tom Thomson (Canadian, 1877-1917), Twisted Maple (detail), 1914, oil on plywood, 26.7 x 20.9 cm, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Gift of Mrs. Margaret Thomson Tweedale, 1974.9.4 Author photo by Judith Ghilks Printed and bound in Canada Printed on fsc-certified paper

About the Author

Ross King, born in Estevan, Saskatchewan, is the Canadian author of three books on Italian history and art: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, Machiavelli: Philosopher of Power and Brunelleschi's Dome: How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture, which won the 2001 Book Sense Book of the Year Award for Adult Nonfiction. His study of French Impressionism, The Judgment of Paris, won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction in Canada. He lives in England, near Oxford.

Editorial Reviews

"Ross King’s collective look at the Group of Seven not only paints vivid portraits of the individual artists, but it reaffirms their place in Canadian cultural history and offers a clearer understanding of what it was like to persist in artistic activity."" Globe & Mail Top 100 for 2010 ""Although Canadian art is identified in the popular psyche with the Group of Seven, the attitude persists that the group’s work is somehow quaint…Ross King’s Defiant Spirits not only situates Tom Thompson, A.Y. Jackson, et al. in their historical contexts, it also conveys their emerging artistic sensibilities and their desire to create an authentic Canadian art, even in the face of institutional hostility."" Quill & Quire “If Ross King were a geologist, he’d have made millions striking untapped rivulets of gold or oil in overlooked places. Instead, as an art historian, he mines nuggets of obscure information that he forges into page-turners about Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Manet and, in this new book, the Group of Seven.” Montreal Gazette “In his book, Defiant Spirits, author and art historian Ross King does argue that far from being woodsy ruralists the Group was more aethestically shaped by the explosion of modernist Impressionism in Europe, which included the work of Cézanne and Van Gogh...Defiant Spirits explores how the dynamic paintings of the Group revealed a group of divergent painters who flaunted convention and were driven to interpret the rugged landscape of their country.” Critic
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