Lawren S. Harris
1930. Oil on canvas,
121.9 x 152.4.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. H. Spencer Clark, 1971.17. Lent by: McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg
Icebergs, Davis Strait, by one of the Group of Seven's most vocal and captivating figures, dates from a period when Lawren S. Harris sought a greater understanding of the Canadian landscape. Unsatisfied with the current state of Canadian art, a 1913 exhibition of contemporary Scandinavian painting helped convince him of the need for an analogous national school of painting and he sought out like-minded friends. The Group of Seven formed in 1920 with Harris as its unofficial leader. Initially devoting his time to painting Toronto's working-class suburbs, Harris became conscious that a crucial aim of the group was to paint the natural diversity of the country, striking out further afield. Icebergs, Davis Strait suggests an isolation that, for Harris, was a positive state of consciousness that freed the mind. The arctic canvases were some of the last works Harris painted before the Group of Seven disbanded, and before he would move into a distinctly abstract idiom.