Canadian Painting in the 30s

4. The Independents

Most Canadian artists during the thirties concentrated in the large urban centres – like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – where they could associate with other artists, see exhibitions, and participate in current events. However, there were some, such as LeMoine FitzGerald and David Milne, who consciously maintained or sought out isolation from the mainstream to allow themselves to develop along more integrally personal lines. After leaving for the United States, Lawren Harris's painting also evolved in directions quite distinct from anything in Canada.

After five months at the Art Students League in New York under Boardman Robinson and Kenneth Hayes Miller, LeMoine FitzGerald returned to Winnipeg and in the fall of 1924 joined the staff of the Winnipeg School of Art, becoming its principal five years later. 1 Sometime during the late twenties FitzGerald came into contact with the Group of Seven, 2 a relationship strengthened by Bertram Brooker, a native Winnipegger and close friend of the Group. An exhibition of FitzGerald's drawings at Dent's Publishing House in Toronto was greatly admired by Lawren Harris who purchased one of the drawings 3 – a purchase that resulted in an invitation to exhibit in the Group show in 1930. That same year FitzGerald went east and for the first time met several of the Toronto artists. 4 In March 1932 Arthur Lismer visited FitzGerald in Winnipeg during his cross-country lecture tour, and Lismer was made aware of the provincialism of the Group's concept of a Canadian identity. 5 The quality and direction of FitzGerald's work, as well as the need to broaden the geographic base of the Group, were the deciding factors in inviting FitzGerald to become a member of the Group of Seven. While, as a member, he exhibited with them only in one private show, 6 he was 'pleased to feel a definite connection' 7 with the Eastern artists.

FitzGerald remained an isolated figure in Winnipeg all during the thirties, making only two trips outside Manitoba, both in connection with his work at the School. His tour of the United States and Central Canada in 1930 was made to report on art-education facilities in the different centres. 8 In 1938 he went east again to locate a new assistant. 9 FitzGerald, however, recognized certain advantages to his separation: 'It seems impossible for the artist to attain any height without sacrificing at least a little of the ordinary necessities, not to mention the loss of ordinary social contact, that are so essential to others. The desire to create something . . . fills the artist's mind, and to do this requires time for active work and quiet thought.' 10

At the same time FitzGerald's teaching duties left him little time to paint; Doc Snider' s House (1931, cat. no. 42), completed in 1931, the result of two winters' work, 11 was the last large canvas he painted for many years. While occasionally he resented the lack of time, he wrote, 'It is necessary to earn a living, but much better to find some other forms of activity to cover that than to sacrifice the real joy of having given full rein to the power that has been given you. I think the person born with a real art sense usually manages to scramble through the material side and keep a certain healthy attitude to the real thing.' 12

FitzGerald's concern for qualities of light, colour, and texture, seen in his Impressionist canvases of the early twenties, continues in his later work. He slowly breaks away from atmospheric rendering, and the light, instead of blending the compositional elements, isolates them, stressing their formal relationships. In Doc Snider's House the trees become plastic units revolving in an elliptical motion within the blue-white space of the yard. The contrasting straight and curved lines and closed and open spaces are unified by the muted colouring, limited to browns and blues – with a touch of pale green in the house at the right.

While the texture of the snow in Doc Snider's House still owes something to Lawren Harris, the careful brushwork of Farm Yard (1931; cat. no. 43) is very much FitzGerald's own. Applied thinly, layer over layer, the dry paint has almost the quality of a bas relief, intensifying the internal structure of each of the forms. The compositional elements interrelate in a complex schema of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal lines. While most of the canvas is painted in bleached tones of similar values, a subtle richness is added by the green on the boards at the left and faint purples in the shadows on the barn.

In Broken Tree in Landscape (1931, cat. no. 44), the rich greens and blues of the shadows seem to vibrate in intensity – in contrast to his usual delicate colouring, seen in the clearing and trees. While FitzGerald still creates a complex spatial arrangement of line and form, the shapes are softer, the stylized foliage almost like air-filled cotton, and the splintered tree smoothly honed.

FitzGerald's approach to his art demanded 'a greater emphasis on study than on picture-making alone.' 13 In countless studies in pencil and oil he would work out each detail of the picture, building up the form and studying the relation of the elements to each other before uniting them in the finished work.

These formal concerns owe a great deal to his interest in the work of the Pointillist Seurat. Visiting the Chicago Art Institute in 1930, FitzGerald commented on the 'great feeling of reality' he found in Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and the beauty and 'alive' quality of his drawings. 14 Another artist who interested FitzGerald was the American Precisionist Charles Sheeler. 15 Sheeler's tonal colouring and careful rendering of simplified form studied under strong sunlight find their parallel in FitzGerald's work. However, whereas Sheeler's themes are mechanical and functional objects, FitzGerald confines himself to more natural surroundings. Less concerned with the final result than with the study itself, FitzGerald produced few completed paintings – thereby occasioning plaintive letters from the East requesting works for exhibition. He replied, 'I find it very difficult to keep up with the shows. I seem to require so much time to do even a small drawing that I only get through a very few things during the year even though I am working all the spare time I have.' l6 To an expressed preference for oils over drawings, he answered, 'For the time being the drawings seem to satisfy my desire to create and I am egotist enough to think that some of them are darn fine things with just as much in them as any painting I have done.' 17

Concentrating his studies resulted in periods when he preferred to work in only one medium, almost to the exclusion of any other. The oils of the early thirties were replaced by drawings as he became more and more interested in drawing in increasingly subtle relationships. Oil became almost too rich a medium for him: 'Recently I have had a peculiar feeling . . . . It has almost amounted to a physical nausea at the thought of looking at paintings by the wholesale.' 18

In The Pool (1934, cat. no. 45), one of the few oils of the mid-thirties, the linear interaction of verticals, parabolas, and ellipses reflect his predominant interest in drawing. The paint is applied in thin, short strokes and flecked at the edges – creating a series of concentric lines echoing the curves of the reeds. The linear quality of the paint is so strong the reeds appear almost as if incised. At the same time, the texture, gently curving horizontals, and subtle colouring of the trees and clouds reflected in the water give the work a richness and complexity beyond two-dimensional pattern.

FitzGerald's increasing interest in geometric relationships is seen also in Jar (1938, cat. no. 46). As usual in his still-lifes, he confines himself to one or two objects chosen for their elementary contours and formally juxtaposed with each other and within the whole environment. The abrupt perspective flattens the jar, accentuating the smooth curves to the mouth, contrasting with the enclosing diagonals. The intersecting lines in the upper left are almost Constructivist in the subtlety of their minimal forms. The flecked stroke gives a solidity to the individual elements and an overall surface unity.

It is evident that these formal studies would eventually lead to pure abstraction. However, several years earlier FitzGerald had discarded that possibility. After talking with a friend, FitzGerald wrote in his journal, '[We] agreed on the feeling that [the] purely abstract has a tendency to lose contact with the living thing . . . and that the move today is rather a swing towards . . . an eternal contact with humanity and nature and a greater sense of unity.' 19 The Realism of Courbet held more attraction for him at this time, and it was only much later, in the early fifties, that he would make the break.

FitzGerald's art is a steady progress in the study of formal relationships. While choosing places and objects familiar to him, he was, unlike the rest of the Group of Seven, convinced that subject matter was essentially unimportant. For him it was more important to make 'the picture a living thing, one great thought made up of many details but all subordinated to the whole.' 20

FitzGerald's interests find their parallel in an artist quite similar yet at the same time quite different in expression, David Milne. After having lived in New York State for twenty-five years, Milne returned to Canada in the spring of 1929, first settling at Temagami 21 and in the fall moved to Weston, just outside Toronto. 22 The following spring he moved to Palgrave, Ontario, 23 where he was to remain for three years.

During his first two years in Canada, Milne re-established contact with The National Gallery, sized up the Canadian art scene, and sought exhibition outlets. He only made his first sale in Canada in 1931 when Vincent Massey purchased his painting, Window. 24

As it was for FitzGerald, 'for David Milne the process of art, not the content of it, was paramount.' 25 Milne wrote, 'Do you like flowers? So do I, but I never paint them. I didn't even see the hepaticas. I saw, instead, an arrangement of the lines, spaces, hues, values and relations that I habitually use. That is, I saw one of my own pictures, a little different from ones done before, changed slightly, very slightly, by what I saw before me.' 26

Milne used words as a part of the process to concentrate his vision. 27 First there were notes on the pictures as they were painted, 'a half-way technical analysis of each sketch, with some extensions into the theory of painting in general, and occasional notings of weather, incidents and thoughts outside the strictly painting thing,' 28 – points of reference for future work. The other method Milne called 'the inventory method,' a verbal inventory of his immediate environment: 'The point of it is in the everything. Not merely things you would usually see but things so simple that you wouldn't ordinarily think of them.' 29

His actual painting method is admirably described in his letter to his friend James Clarke in New York: the choice of elements, the arrangement, at first 'purely observation and reason,' the first drawing with his brush, something catches, his interest heightens, then the brushing in of colour and values, the adding and subtracting, all at a feverish pitch. 30

David Milne's Palgrave landscapes are studies in line and separation of value and hue. 'All line is put in detail first – though the rest is planned at the same time – then is made readable, simplified by emphasis and reduction with values and hues or by simplifying the arrangement of the line itself.' 31 In Blind Road (1930, cat. no. 47) the lines create a complex of open and shut spaces relieved by the blank space above. In Splendour Touches Hiram's Farm (1932, cat. no. 48) the hues are higher in intensity, there are fewer open spaces, demanding a larger rest area above. The contrast of values, with a limited number of hues, gives the 'kick.'

In Palgrave (I) (1931, cat. no. 49) he reverses the motifs, from a serene, empty sky and detailed landscape to a concentration on the upper part of the picture, with the earth becoming a 'foil for the sky.' 32 However, unlike the other Palgrave pictures, it is the contrast of hues, and not blank spaces, that plays against the sky. 'The thing that "makes" a picture,' he remarked, 'is the thing that "makes" dynamite – compression. It isn't a fire in the grass, it is an explosion.' 33

From a painting point-of-view, David Milne's time at Palgrave was extremely productive; however, economically it was difficult. Tensions at home, aggravated by financial constraints, resulted in his separating from his wife and moving to Six Mile Lake near Severn Falls, Ontario, in May 1933. 34

Having no contacts with other Canadian artists at this time, David Milne was unable to exhibit with the Canadian Group of Painters, the main outlet for 'modern' work in oil. 35 Hampered by lack of funds, he could not risk shipping paintings to exhibitions where they might be rejected by juries. 36 Without exhibitions, there were no sales. He began to consider the possibility of selling all the pictures he had ever painted – '$5,000 for a lifetime's work' 37 – and finally approached the Vincent Masseys, the only Canadian collectors he knew. The arrangement as finally agreed upon was the purchase by the Masseys of all his work painted in the last five years, with a few earlier works he had brought to Canada with him. 38 The Masseys also arranged for an exhibition of Milne's work at Mellors Galleries in Toronto, 39 the first one to be followed by annual exhibitions during the next three years. 40 Through the Masseys and the Mellors exhibitions Milne soon came in contact with several people who were to be extremely important in his life.

Milne decided to live in the country, isolated from other artists, partly for economic reasons but, more importantly, to allow himself the time to concentrate on the thing that interested him most, his painting. Like FitzGerald, Milne's art depended on the formulation and solution of certain formal, artistic problems and the consistent development and concentration of his inner self. For this, time and space were needed, not social contacts or change of scene. However, the few personal connections he did have, and especially his correspondence with these people, were important to him. They allowed him to share his observations about Canadian art and theorize about art with persons on an equal level in a creative dialogue. Over the next few years his correspondence with his American associate, James Clarke, diminished as he developed new contacts and friends in Canada.

Donald Buchanan first saw Milne's work at the Masseys' house in Port Hope and in October 1934 visited Milne at Six Mile Lake. 41 Articulate about art and aware of contemporary developments seen through the writings of the aestheticians Clive Bell and Roger Fry, Buchanan struck up a close friendship with David Milne, as witnessed by their correspondence over the next few years. Donald Buchanan wrote the introduction to the catalogue of the first Mellors exhibition 42 and several excellent articles which at last brought Milne to public attention. 43

Douglas Duncan and Alan Jarvis first saw Milne's work at Mellors Galleries in 1934, and the next summer visited him at Six Mile Lake. 44 Douglas Duncan was completely captivated by both Milne and his work, and over the years did more than any one else to establish his reputation. At first, he arranged private sales of Milne's works, and after that an exhibition of his drypoints, 45 as these were not covered by the contract with Mellors Galleries.

The arrangement between Mellors Galleries and David Milne had originally been made by Mrs Massey for the sale of works from the 1934 purchase, with any profit going to buy works by contemporary Canadian artists. The contract was renewed after the Masseys left for England, with Milne sending more recent works to be included in the exhibitions. However, when he finally asked for an accounting of the costs and profits he found that he had lost money on the arrangement. 46 He then left Mellors and joined the Picture Loan Society.

Through Douglas Duncan, David Milne met some of the younger Toronto artists, including Will Ogilvie and Carl Schaefer. He also met Alan Plaunt, a collector of contemporary Canadian art and one of the persons instrumental in the creation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 47 Douglas also interested J.S. McLean, President of Canada Packers and a noted collector, in Milne's work and resultant sales finally guaranteed Milne some economic security.

When Milne first moved to Six Mile Lake in 1933 there was a period of adaptation from the 'open skies of Palgrave to the closed in material of the bush.' 48 New material stimulated new methods. Instead of concentrating on line, value, and hue, he would now use a colour where before he would use a value. He would work up a painting in his shack rather than completing it at one sitting at the site. He no longer painted several versions of one motif, but sought out a variety of subjects around his camp. In Young Poplars Among Driftwood (1937, cat. no. 50) he still uses the blank space as a resting area to contrast with the cluttered space below. However, the brushwork is freer and broader, building up the forms from the inside in an almost painterly manner. The few hues are all of a similar intensity.

The still-lifes of the mid-thirties, starting with Raspberry Jam (1936, cat. no. 51) were, as Milne called them, studies in progression, across the canvas in a measured beat, in this case from black to light blue by way of red, grey, and green. 49 A similar progression is seen in Red Nasturtiums (1937, cat. no. 52), from areas of brilliant colour to black-white areas, with black unifying the whole. He still confines himself to a few hues at maximum intensity, swiftly laid on against the white paper, which is itself incorporated as a hue.

Milne started painting in watercolour again during the summer of 1937, attracted by the decisiveness and immediacy of the medium and he confined himself almost totally to watercolour for the next few years. 50 In 1939 he moved from Six Mile Lake to Toronto and then to Uxbridge. As usual, a change in place resulted in a change in colour, form, and theme in his work of the forties.

Lawren Harris arrived in Hanover, New Hampshire, in November 1934, originally intending to stay only a few months; 51 however, the sympathetic atmosphere of Dartmouth College, the White Mountains nearby, and the accessibility of New York City convinced him to remain. Freed from a difficult personal situation in Toronto, newly married, and in a congenial environment, he began to paint again.

Drawings made on sketching trips to the White Mountains were reworked in his studio through successive stages of abstraction 52 and then transferred to canvas. In studies of wood-grain patterns, rock formations, and mountain landscapes, he sought a form of abstract expression derived from natural elements.

Both Riven Earth I (c. 1936, cat. no. 53) and Resolution (c. 1937, cat. no. 54) retain definite landscape references. Riven Earth I relates compositionally to certain Lake Superior canvases as well as to a symbolic, though representational, landscape of 1935 entitled Winter Comes from the Arctic to the Temperate Zone. 53 Resolution's vertical format and conical peaks refer to the later Rocky Mountain paintings. 54 However, Lawren Harris was not merely attempting to create geometricized landscapes.

In his 1948 statement on abstraction he defined two categories: 'One kind is derived from the accumulated experience of nature over many years. In these the endeavor is to embody and concentrate this accumulated experience in organization of line, mass and colour in such a way that they express the motivating spirit in nature . . . .The second kind of abstractions aim at statements of ideas and intimations of a philosophic kind in plastic, aesthetic and emotive terms.' 55 Both Riven Earth I and Resolution fall somewhere between the two categories. They express not only the experience of nature, be it open arctic spaces or soaring mountains heights, but Lawren Harris's theosophic interpretation of these places and experiences.

The similarities between Riven Earth I and Winter Comes from the Arctic to the Temperate Zone 56 naturally suggest his belief in the 'spiritual flow' from the North 'that will ever shed clarity into the growing race of America.' 57 The mountains were also seen as spiritual centres in theosophic teachings; and the waves emanating from the base of the 'peak' possibly refer to these energies, in a depiction curiously similar to Bertram Brooker's early abstractions. However, the inscription on the back of the stretcher implies a more complex symbolism: RESOLUTION / INTERLOCKING FORMS – SYMBOL OF STEADFASTNESS, COURAGE. 58

Without further research, it is difficult to determine to what extent Lawren Harris had formulated a system of symbolic form and colour. He was familiar with the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian, 59 both of whom had developed their abstractions with the aid of theosophy. 60 One of the sources of Kandinsky's analysis of form and colour, Thought Forms by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, 61 had been reviewed in The Canadian Theosophist at the time of the book's second printing. The anonymous critic wrote, 'It is difficult to suppose that the shapes and images of either psychic or artistic imagination shall always be standard conceptions by which we might recognize these aspects of the karmic nature which they are intended to represent. . . though the colours may more nearly represent the reality.' 62

It is possible that Lawren Harris had already in his arctic landscapes adopted certain aspects of the theosophic colour symbolism as interpreted by Kandinsky: 63 blue expressing the desire for purity and transcendence, the call to the infinite; yellow, a more typically earthly colour; and white, purity and stillness pregnant with potentialities. In Riven Earth I the spiritual blues and whites rise above the browns and yellows of the foreground elements. In Resolution the green-grey in the background and black of the 'shadow' crowning the triangular 'peak' are both colours of rest, immobility, and death – silence with no potentialities. 64

Lawren Harris first exhibited his abstracts in the Canadian Group of Painters exhibition in 1937, 65 and again in 1939. 66 The general reaction had been anticipated in an article by Arthur Lismer: 'the artist turns from the world of other men's making and goes to the vast unexplored world of abstract thought, psychological and metaphysical, where the emotional and scientific union of intellect and speculation releases the spirit into lands less forlorn, into a world of order and mathematical divination but which takes from him all contact with his fellow men into a stratosphere of rarified purity of design and colour.' 67 Other reviewers echoed this criticism of Harris's apparent rejection of humanity, 68 to which Harris replied, 'many folks have the idea that so-called abstract art is not in terms of Humanity. This, because most folks don't know its language and therefore mistake their limitations for infallible criteria.' 69 Not surprisingly his abstractions were not included in any of the Canadian representations in international art exhibitions, not even in the Canadian art section of the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition (1939) which Harris himself organized. 70

During the spring and summer of 1938, Lawren and Bess Harris had made a motor trip to New Mexico to explore the possibilities of settling there, 71 returning to Maine in July. 72 While in Santa Fe, they met Raymond Jonson who was in the process of organizing a group of abstract artists and Lawren Harris was invited to join them. 73 Harris moved to New Mexico in September. 74

The Transcendental Painting Group was organized during the summer of 1938 while Lawren Harris was still in Maine. 75 Recognizing its roots in the art of Kandinsky, the new group sought to promote an art that expressed 'the immaterial by means of material substances,' 76 and 'to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world . . . to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual.' 77 The seal of the group was a stylized butterfly symbolizing metamorphosis, 'the constant renewal of forms toward a higher, freer, always transcendant life.' 78 The painter's group, primarily an exhibiting organization, had an educational adjunct in the American Foundation for Transcendental Painting. With Lawren Harris as the first president, its aims were to protect, preserve, and promote transcendental painting. 79 Exhibitions were organized in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and paintings by members were included in the state representations at the New York World's Fair 80 and the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition. Works sent to the Guggenheim Museum in New York 81 were included in two exhibitions of 'Non-Objective Painters.' 82

Lawren Harris's Santa Fe works show an increasing maturity and familiarity with 'non-representational' painting. In White Triangle (c. 1939, cat. no. 55) he avoids all representational references. The complex interaction of directional lines and overlapping forms gives the central motif a solid feeling of three-dimensionality and weight floating in a glowing atmosphere of white and blue. The theosophic triangle, painted in white, the colour of joy, purity, and silence, symbolizes the three principles of spirit, force, and matter.

It is probable that Lawren Harris was experimenting with dynamic symmetry at this time. Dynamic symmetry, 'a mathematical system of composition . . . based on the relationship of the diagonal to the sides of a rectangle,' 83 was derived by its author, Jay Hambidge, 84 from a study of ancient Egyptian painting and Greek vases. 85 This system purported to be a compositional aid in the solution of space problems and was popular in the United States during the twenties, being used by such artists as George Bellows, Robert Henri, and Leon Kroll. 86 Franz Johnston, one of the original Group of Seven, used it from the mid-twenties 87 and it was taught at the Roerich art school in New York. 88 Emil Bisttram, one of the members of the Transcendental Painting Group, was an authority on dynamic symmetry, 89 and Bess Harris studied it with Bisttram while in New Mexico. 90 Certain aspects of the system, such as the concept of a mathematical 'law' derived from ancient sources, would appeal to Lawren Harris's theosophic interests.

Lawren Harris enjoyed New Mexico, the purity of its air, the altitude, and the convivial surroundings, as well as his involvement with the Transcendental painters. He had no plans to return to Canada. However, with the outbreak of the Second World War, the Canadian government blocked the export of funds from Canada, and he had to leave. 91 He visited Vancouver in October 1940 92 and decided to stay the winter. 93 He was to remain there for the next thirty years.


NOTES TO CHAPTER 4

1.  L.L. FitzGerald, Chronology (dated 1953), in his 'Journal'; private property. He attended classes at the Art Students League from November 1921 to March 1922.

2. The earliest extant correspondence between FitzGerald and any member of the Group is a letter from J.E.H. MacDonald dated 10 February 1928; private property.

3. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 28 December 1929; private property.

4. FitzGerald kept a diary of this trip which, however, does not include the period of his visit to Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. In the 1953 chronology he notes these stops. Lawren Harris later wrote FitzGerald regretting having missed him during his visit to Toronto. (Lawren Harris, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 23 November 1930; private property.)

5. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 21 April 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.

6. An exhibition of works by the Group of Seven was held in Hart House at the University of Toronto in December 1932. See Chap. I, n. 32.

7. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 6 July 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.

8. L.L. FitzGerald, Chronology, in his 'Journal'; private property. On this trip he visited Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.

9. Idem. On this trip he visited Ottawa and Toronto.

10. From unpublished notes quoted in Ferdinand Eckhardt, L.L. FitzGerald 1890 – 1956. A Memorial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue) (Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1958).

11. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 18 March 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.

12. From unpublished notes quoted in Ferdinand Eckhardt, op. cit.

13. Idem.

14. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal,' entry for 7 June 1930; private property.

15. Idem.

16. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 22 April 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.

17. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 18 March 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.

18. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Bertram Brooker, [Toronto], 17 June 1935; property Estate of M.A. Brooker.

19. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal,' entry for 29 June 1930; private property.

20. Idem.

21. David Milne, Weston, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, [October 1929]; in The National Gallery of Canada.

22. Idem.

23. David Milne, Palgrave, to James Clarke, [Yonkers, N.Y.], 27 May 1930; in the Public Archives of Canada.

24. David Milne, Palgrave, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 23 February 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada. See also Vincent Massey, What's Past is Prologue (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1963), p. 88.

25. David Silcox, 'Introduction,' David Milne 1882 – 1953 (exhibition catalogue) (Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1967).

26. Exhibition of Little Pictures by David B. Milne (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: Mellors Galleries, 1936).

27. Emily Carr used words in a similar way. 'It seems to me it helps to write things and thoughts down. It makes the unworthy ones look more shamefaced and helps to place the better ones for sure in our minds. It sorts out jumbled up thoughts and helps to clarify them, and I want my thoughts clear and straight for my work.' (Emily Carr, Hundreds & Thousands [Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1966], p. 20.)

28. David Milne, Big Moose (N.Y.), to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 13 November 1927; in the Public Archives of Canada.

29. Idem.

30. David Milne, Temagami, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 21 June 1929; in the Public Archives of Canada, published in David Silcox, David Milne (18821953) A Survey Exhibition (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: Galerie Godard Lefort, 1971).

31. David Milne, Palgrave, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 17 March 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada.

32. David Milne, Palgrave, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 10 April 1932; in the Public Archives of Canada.

33. David Milne to Donald Buchanan, quoted in Donald W. Buchanan, 'David Milne as I Knew Him,' Canadian Art, vol. XI, no. 3 (Spring 1954), p. 90.

34. David Milne, Severn Park, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 February 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.

35. As with the Group of Seven, artists could exhibit with the Canadian Group of Painters by invitation only.

36. David Milne, Severn Park, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 February 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.

37. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 14 June [1934] (continued 28 June); in the Public Archives of Canada.

38. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 22 November 1934; in the Public Archives of Canada.

39. Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 27 November – 8 December 1934, Exhibition of Paintings by David B. Milne. This exhibition was also sent to James Wilson & Company in Ottawa and W. Scott & Sons in Montreal.

40. Toronto, Mellors Galleries, through November [1935], Exhibition of Paintings by David B. Milne; Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 24 October – 7 November 1936, Exhibition of Little Pictures by David B. Milne; Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 15 – 29 January 1938, Exhibition of Recent Pictures by David B. Milne.

41. H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, to Mrs Vincent Massey, Port Hope, 25 October 1934; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.

42. Donald W. Buchanan, Ottawa, to David B. Milne, Severn Park, 30 October 1934; property of David Milne, Jr, Toronto.

43. Donald W. Buchanan, 'Milne – An Artist In a Forest Hut,' Lethbridge Herald (2 November 1934); Donald W. Buchanan, 'An Artist Who Lives In The Woods,' Saturday Night, vol. L, no. 4 (1 December 1934), p. 2; Donald W. Buchanan, 'David Milne,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xv, no. 173 (February 1935), pp. 191 – 193.

44. Alan Jarvis, 'Douglas Duncan,' in Pierre Théberge, Gift from the Douglas M. Duncan Collection and the Milne-Duncan Bequest (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971), p. 28. Reprinted in Alan Jarvis, ed., Douglas Duncan A Memorial Portrait (Buffalo, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), p. 10.

45. Toronto, Picture Loan Society, 10 – 24 December [1938], Exhibition of Colour Drypoints by David B. Milne.

46. David Milne, Severn Park, to Mr and Mrs Massey, London, 1 September 1938; in the Public Archives of Canada.

47. Alan Plaunt and his wife, now Mrs Dyde, were important collectors and supporters of contemporary Canadian art in the late thirties, before his early death in 1941. See J.F.B. Livesay, 'Alan Plaunt, An Appreciation,' The Ottawa Journal (15 September 1941).

48. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 11 June 1933; in the Public Archives of Canada.

49. David Milne, Severn Park, to Graham C. McInnes, Toronto, 16 February 1938; in the Public Archives of Canada.

50. David Milne, Toronto, to Donald Buchanan, [Ottawa?], 14 January 1940; in The National Gallery of Canada.

51. Bess Harris, Hanover, to Doris Spiers, [Toronto?], 14 November 1934; property of Doris Spiers, Pickering (Ontario).

52. A number of these New Hampshire drawings are in the collection of the artist's son, Howard Harris, Vancouver.

53. Bess Harris and R.G.P. Colgrove, Lawren Harris (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1969), p. 97 repr.

54. An abstraction by Lawren Harris of about the same date and similar composition is entitled Mountain Experience (Collection of the University of Manitoba Library, Winnipeg). See 'Art on the Campus, 'The Alumni Journal / University of Manitoba, vol. 23, no. 4. (Summer 1963), p. 8 repr. (cropped).

55. Quoted in Sydney Key, 'The Paintings,' Lawren Harris Paintings 1910 – 1948 (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, October 1948), p. 32. In later essays Lawren Harris expanded these categories to three and then four. However, as this was his earliest statement and apparently referred to his own summation of his development to that date, I shall only refer to these two categories.

56. The arctic reference of Riven Earth I is confirmed by hanging icicles in Riven Earth II in the collection of Mrs Charles S. Band, Toronto. (Bess Harris and R.G.P. Colgrove, op. cit., p. 108 repr.)

57. Lawren S. Harris, 'Revelation of Art in Canada,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VII, no. 5 (15 July 1926), p. 86.

58. My thanks to Peter Larisey for informing me of this inscription.

59. Both artists had works included in the International Exhibition of Modern Art, assembled by the Société Anonyme and brought to Toronto by Lawren Harris and exhibited at The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1 – 24 April 1927. Kandinsky had three works: Whimsical Line, Gaiety (repr. cat.), and Rote Tiefe. Mondrian had two works: Clarification I and Clarification II.

60. Sixten Ringbom, 'Art in "The Epoch of the Great Spiritual." Occult Elements in the Early Theory of Abstract Painting,' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, vol. 29 (1966), pp. 386 – 418. Robert P. Welsh, 'Mondrian and Theosophy,' in Piet Mondrian 1872 – 1944 (exhibition catalogue) (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1971), pp. 35 – 51.

61. Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, Thought Forms (Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1925). One of the artists who illustrated the original 1901 edition of this book was John Varley, a follower of Madame Blavatsky, and probably a relative of Fred Varley.

62. 'Thought Forms,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VII, no. 4 (15 June 1926), p. 77. My thanks to Dennis Reid for bringing this and the article by Sixten Ringbom to my attention.

63. In the artist's library, presently the property of his children, is a book by Oskar Rainer, Musikalische Graphik. Studien und Versuche über die Wechselbeziehungen Zwischen Ton und Farbharmonien (Musical Art. Studies and Experiments in the Interlations Between Tone and Colour Harmonies) (Vienna, Leipzig, New York: Deutscher Verlag für Jungen und Volk Gessellschaft, 1925).

64. Wassily Kandinsky, trans. Michael Sadleir, adapt. Francis Golffing and others, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (New York: George Wittenborn, Inc., 1947), p. 58 – 61.

65. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, November 1937, Canadian Group of Painters. Exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, January 1938.

66. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, November 1939, Canadian Group of Painters. Exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, January 1940.

67. Arthur Lismer, 'Art in a Changing World,' Canadian Comment, vol. IV, no. 2 (February 1935), p. 23.

68. Graham McInnes, 'Upstart Crows,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 184 (May 1936), p. 16.

69. Quoted in Fred Housser, Toronto, to Arthur Lismer, South Africa, 20 July 1936; in The McMichael Canadian Collection.

70. San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition (1939), Contemporary Art. Lawren Harris did exhibit an abstract in the United States section of the exhibition (no. 169, Composition) .

71. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 14 February [1938]; in The National Gallery of Canada.

72. Lawren Harris, Prout's Neck (Maine), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 28 July 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.

73. Raymond Jonson, Albuquerque (N.M.), to Peter Larisey, Ottawa, 14 November 1973; property of Peter Larisey, Ottawa. My thanks to Peter Larisey for making this letter available to me and for his extensive assistance with my research into Lawren Harris's work in the United States.

74. Lawren Harris, St. Catharines (Ont.), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 23 September 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada. Lawren Harris returned to Santa Fe via Montreal where he had his portrait painted by Lilias Newton (A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 3 August 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.)

75. Alfred Morang, 'The Transcendental Painting Group,' Santa Fe The New Mexico Daily Examiner (21 August 1938), Magazine Section, p. 3. The Group was founded on 10 June 1938. Lawren Harris is not listed as a member in this article.

76. Idem. This article, written by a supporter of the Group, is interesting for its rejection of theosophy and its linking of mystical cultures with the rise of fascism.

77. Transcendental Painting Group, pamphlet, n.d. Members listed inelude Raymond Jonson (Chairman), Bill Lumpkins (Secretary Treasurer), and Lawren Harris from Santa Fe, Emil Bisttram, Robert Gribbrock, Florence Miller, and H. Towner Pierce from Taos, Agnes Pelton from Cathedral City, California, and Stuart Walker from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

78. 'The Transcendental Movement Opens a New Period in the American Arts,' Santa Fe The New Mexico Daily Examiner (21 August 1938), Magazine Section, p. 3.

79. Alfred Morang, Transcendental Painting (Santa Fe: American Foundation for Transcendental Painting, Inc., August 1940).

80. New York, World's Fair, 1939, American Art Today (exhibition catalogue). Lawren Harris exhibited Composition No. 10 (no. 211 , repr. p. 92).

81. Alfred Morang, 'Transcendental Painting Group Invited to Send Examples to Guggenheim,' Santa Fe New Mexican (11 April 1940).

82. New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, 14 May – 27 June 1940, Twelve American Non-Objective Painters; New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, 6 August – 30 September 1940, Six American Non-Objective Painters.

83. Milton W. Brown, American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955), p. 164.

84. Jay Hambidge was born in Canada and was a close friend of C.W. Jefferys ('Hambidge Dead, But Left A Great Legacy,' Toronto Daily Star, 1 February 1924).

85. Jay Hambidge wrote several books on dynamic symmetry, the first being Dynamic Symmetry (Boston: n.p., 1919).

86. Milton W. Brown, op. cit., p. 164.

87. 'Johnston Never Member of the Group of Seven Is Exponent of Dynamic Symmetry,' Toronto The Star Weekly (11 October 1924).

88. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal', entry for 19 June 1930; private property.

89. Raymond Jonson, Albuquerque (N.M.), to Peter Larisey, Ottawa, 14 November 1973; property of Peter Larisey, Ottawa.

90. Bess Harris, Santa Fe, to Doris Spiers, [Toronto?], 19 February 1939; property of Doris Spiers, Pickering.

91. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 19 November [1940]; private property.

92. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Nan Cheney, Vancouver, 13 October [1940]; in The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

93. Lawren S. Harris, Toronto, to Raymond Jonson, Santa Fe, 28 November 1940; in the Jonson Archives, Jonson Gallery, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M. This correspondence is also on microfilm in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. My thanks to Jean-René Ostiguy for making typescripts of this correspondence available to me.