Works by the artists of the celebrated Group of Seven—Lawren Harris, J. E. H. MacDonald, A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, F. H. Varley, Franklin Carmichael and Franz Johnston—as well as Emily Carr and Tom Thomson, among others—are on view at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, as part of the exhibition Magnetic North: Imagining Canada in Painting 1910–1940. The exhibition, which brings together 87 paintings and five films from several Canadian collections and institutions, will subsequently be hosted by the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in fall 2021.

Magnetic North: Imagining Canada in Painting 1910–1940 is co-organized by the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the National Gallery of Canada. This exhibition is provided within the context of Canada’s Guest of Honour presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2021. A richly illustrated catalogue is also available in English, French (available in Canada only), and German. With the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada’s presence as the guest of honour will be featured at the 2021 Frankfurt Book Fair, which runs from October 20 to 24, 2021.

National Gallery of Canada Director & CEO, Dr. Sasha Suda, PhD, Art History, said that “the presentation of the exhibition Magnetic North at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt and at Kunsthal in Rotterdam will provide incredible exposure for the finest masterpieces from some of Canada’s key museums and cultural institutions. This is a historic moment, as these prodigious works will be brought together for the very first time in Europe. Visitors will discover the remarkable talent of these artists, who created an unprecedented pictorial style for the representation of Canadian landscapes in the first decades of the 20th century. These significant artists have marked the history of art in Canada and their works are ambassadors par excellence for our country.”

The year 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the group’s first exhibition in Canada. Visitors will be able to admire an impressive selection of paintings made between 1910 and 1940, a period of nation building and rapid industrial expansion. These paintings and sketches embody the dream of an independent dominion, a dream very much at odds, then and now, with Canada’s colonial history.

The exhibition also comprises five films, including two by contemporary Indigenous artists: How a People Live, 2013, a documentary by filmmaker Lisa Jackson and Mobilize, 2015, a short film by artist Caroline Monnet.

VR Sunil Gohil