May 06, 2020

Canada Post celebrates centennial of Group of Seven's first exhibition

Stamps featuring striking landscapes to be unveiled online in partnership with several prominent Canadian galleries.

May 06, 2020

OTTAWA – One hundred years ago tomorrow, Canadian art enthusiasts got their first look at paintings from what would become Canada’s best-known school of art — the Group of Seven. Canada Post is celebrating this significant anniversary with a stamp issue featuring works by the Group’s seven founding members.

It was on May 7, 1920, that Canadian artists Franklin Carmichael, Lawren S. Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frank H. Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald and F.H. Varley held their first exhibition as the Group of Seven at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario [AGO]). Inspired by Tom Thomson – who had drowned three years earlier – and encouraged by their shared creative vision, the Group changed the way Canada was viewed at home and abroad. Their raw and daring depictions of the landscape gave birth to a unique Canadian aesthetic that influenced generations of artists.

More than 2,000 people attended the 1920 show during its 20-day run. While only five paintings were sold, the exhibit received good reviews, captured the attention of major galleries and collectors, and paved the way for future exhibitions.

Seven works are featured in the stamp issue:

  • In the Nickel Belt (1928), by Franklin Carmichael
  • Miners’ Houses, Glace Bay (circa 1925), by Lawren S. Harris
  • Labrador Coast (1930), by A.Y. Jackson
  • Fire-swept, Algoma (1920), by Frank H. Johnston
  • Quebec Village (1926), by Arthur Lismer
  • Church by the Sea (1924), by J.E.H. MacDonald
  • Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay (1921), by F.H. Varley

The issue includes a self-adhesive booklet and gummed mini-pane of seven Permanent domestic rate stamps and a set of seven Official First Day Covers (OFDCs) cancelled in locations significant to each artist. Using works drawn from six major Canadian galleries and photographs from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection Archives, the issue was designed by Lionel Gadoury, Andrew Conlon and Matthew Killin of Context Creative, and printed by Lowe-Martin.

VIRTUAL UNVEILINGS: This morning, starting at 10:30 am (eastern time), the stamp images will be unveiled live on social media as well as Canada Post’s Instagram account (@canadapostagram) and the accounts of several prominent Canadian galleries, including the AGO, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Ottawa Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University and the Vancouver Art Gallery, with the OFDCs unveiled on Thursday, May 7, by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. All stamps and collectibles will be available on Thursday, May 7, at canadapost.ca/shop.

Follow these links for all high-resolution stamp images.

For more information:
Media Relations
613-734-8888
media@canadapost.ca