J. E. H. MacDonald


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Canadian landscape painter. He was born in Durham, England, the son of a Canadian father, and moved to Hamilton, Ontario, when he was fourteen. In 1889 the family moved to Toronto, where he studied at the Central Ontario School of Art and Design. After spending several years in England working as a commercial artist, he returned to Toronto in 1907. In 1911 he met Lawren Harris, who persuaded him to devote all his time to painting; they began working together and their shared dream of creating a uniquely Canadian type of landscape painting culminated in 1920 in the formation of the Group of Seven. MacDonald's best-known works include The Solemn Land and Autumn in Algoma (1921 and 1922 respectively, NG, Ottawa)—large, spectacular canvases that are regarded as being among the very finest produced by the group. He was important in its affairs not only as a painter, but also as a spokesman against reactionary criticism. From 1921 he taught at the Ontario College of Art, where he became principal in 1929. His last works included some sketches of beach and surf in Barbados, where he had gone to recuperate following a stroke in 1931.

Subjects: Art.

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