Canadian Art Club

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A private exhibiting society of Canadian artists active in Toronto from 1907 to 1915. The main instigators of the Club were the painters Edmund Morris (1871–1913) and Curtis Williamson (1867–1944), who were ‘deeply disturbed by the tired, old-fashioned look of Canadian art as seen in the various annual exhibitions’ (Reid) and attempted to establish higher standards through small, carefully hung shows. Membership of the Club was by invitation only. Homer Watson (1867–1944) was the first president, and other members included the Scottish-born William Brymner (1855–1925), who had studied in Paris at the Académie Julian, Maurice Cullen, and J. W. Morrice. The work of these artists was varied in style and subject, but generally it showed influence from Impressionism and Whistler. Their eight exhibitions were well received, but the Club disbanded in 1915, having lost some of its momentum because of the death (by drowning) of Morris in 1913 and because of the distractions of the First World War (there were also personality clashes among some of the members). However, the Club helped to prepare the way for the Group of Seven.

Subjects: Art — History of the Americas.

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