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A red house in winter

December 5th, 2015 · No Comments

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Group of Seven member Lawren Harris, who painted Red House, Winter, shown on this year’s holiday cover, not only has many links to the Annex, but to this issue as well. He attended the University of Toronto, taught visual art for a time at the Central Technical School, and painted several depictions of the Ward before the First World War. His time in Toronto’s first immigrant neighbourhood — what some called a slum — is recounted in The Ward, which was reviewed in a previous issue, and features in our Year in Review.

Part of Hart House’s permanent collection at U of T, Red House, Winter (Oil on canvas, 88 x 103 cm) “fuses Harris’s early, post-war subject matter — derelict buildings in Toronto — with his increasingly abstract impulses, as well as his long-standing interest in what he romanticized as the Great White North,” writes Elizabeth Went in A Story of Canadian Art: As Told by the Hart House Collection. “The acquisition of this work was no doubt a clear response to the growing backlash against the Group of Seven, founded on the notion that they were self-indulgent painters unconcerned with everyday Canadian life. It also, however, fulfilled a very practical need: it filled a gap in the collection, both in terms of Harris’s work, and in terms of depictions of Toronto.”

The Gleaner wishes to thank Rebecca Gimmi and Marsya Maharani from the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto Art Centre for their help in producing this cover.

—Annemarie Brissenden/Gleaner News

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