The Art Gallery of Ontario has teamed up with actor/comedian and art enthusiast Steve Martin for a new exhibit showcasing one of Canada’s most famous painters, Group of Seven member Lawren Harris.
The Group of Seven was the equivalent of rock stars during the 1920’s in the Canadian art scene, becoming well known for painting beautiful portraits of their countries landscape. Harris was known as being somewhat of a leader for the Group as he provided a great deal of financial help due to his wealthy family background.
While the Group was mostly famous in their home country of Canada, they ended up gaining a fan, years later unexpectedly in Steve Martin. The funnyman is also quite the art collector and has collected Harris work over the years. His love for the painter’s work is now the inspiration for the AGO’s newest exhibit “The Idea o North”, which Martin is curating.
After a successful run in galleries in Los Angeles and Boston, the exhibit arrives in Toronto for 10 weeks and speaking at a press event earlier this week, Martin noted that he felt Harris was such an important artist to North America that they needed to see his works.
“I felt I was the only person who knew him!” Martin joked, touching on the fact that Harris isn’t a household name in his native United States. “Then I learned he was famous in Canada.”
The exhibit traces the beginning of Harris’ work, showing his paintings of Toronto scenery during the 1910’s and 20’s and then transitions into Harris paintings of the Canadian Rockies.
It was wonderful to see the passion Martin has for Harris work, as it’s not often that Canadian work receives such a warm reception by our friends South of the Border and especially by someone as famous as Martin!
Martin, speaking with AGO curator Andrew Hunter, stated that this would be his only time he’ll curate an exhibit and he’s excited for the people of Toronto to be able to experience the breathtaking beauty of Harris’ work.
“Just wait till they see these paintings!”
The Idea of North: The Paintings of Lawren Harris runs at the AGO from July 1- September 18, 2016
[Review and photography by Jennifer King]