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A.J. Casson: the last of the Group of Seven

The Story


Franklin Carmichael didn't have to look far to find a replacement after Frank Johnston left the Group of Seven. A young watercolour painter named A.J. Casson had joined the commercial firm where Carmichael worked, and was soon accompanying him on sketching trips. Casson was just 28 when he became a Group member in 1926. In a CBC profile 60 years later, he remembers having to stake out his own thematic territory as an artist.

Medium: Television
Program: The Journal
Broadcast Date: Oct. 28, 1986
Guests: A.J. Casson, Paul Duvall, Dennis Reid
Reporter: John Kalina
Duration: 13:07

Did You know?


• A.J. Casson was born in Toronto in 1898 and began apprenticing at a commercial art firm at age 17. In 1919 he became Franklin Carmichael's apprentice at Rous & Mann. Later in his career, Casson was the head designer at the screen printing company Simpson Matthews.
 
• Casson was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the more broadly based successor to the Group of Seven. He worked in commercial art until the age of 60, when his paintings earned enough for him to become a professional painter. His work was suddenly in demand and eager patrons waited hours in line for a chance to buy one of his paintings.

• Casson died in 1992 at age 93. He is buried in the cemetery at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ont., where five other members of the Group are also interred.

• The Group of Seven dissolved in 1932, satisfied that they had achieved their aim of bringing a uniquely Canadian style to landscape painting. They felt their dominance of the art scene was crowding out a younger generation of painters who were in the same position the Group had once been. The "club" spirit of the past gave way as each member of the Group developed his own interests.


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The Group of Seven: Painters in the Wilderness more