In the late 1930s the human figure returned as subject matter for Canadian painting and largely replaced traditional portraits of wealthy or well-known sitters. Artists painted self-portraits and images of ordinary people and often used an unassuming indoor or outdoor context for the figure. In this way they suggested that human beings and the natural world could coexist—a condition that the Group of Seven had largely rejected.
Similar ideas appeared in paintings by Montréal’s Beaver Hall Group, whose members all had studios on Beaver Hall Hill in Montréal. Prudence Heward and other women members of the group, as well as Edwin Holgate, also established the nude as modern Canadian subject matter. A number of Canadian figure painters delved into the psychological character of their models, including Jack Humphrey and Miller Brittain in New Brunswick and Charles Comfort, Paraskeva Clark, and Pegi Nicol MacLeod in Ontario.
Sculptors became a more important part of the Canadian art community beginning in the 1920s. Artists across the country received commissions to create monuments commemorating World War I and other events in Canadian history. These artists included Hamilton MacCarthy and Frances Loring in Ontario and Alfred Laliberté in Québec. Women sculptors such as Loring, Florence Wyle, and Elizabeth Wyn Wood worked in a modern vocabulary, using simplified and stylized forms and emphasizing the inner character of their human subjects. These women, along with Henri Hébert and Emmanuel Hahn, established the Sculptor’s Society of Canada in 1928 to hold exhibitions and encourage sculptors. This step indicated increasing interest in and respect for Canadian sculpture. "Canada" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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