Physics Colloquium: Following the Group of Seven Painters

Event Details

  • Speaker(s): Jim Waddington
  • Date:
  • Time: 4 PM
  • Location: UC 103

How did a physicist become involved in a problem in art history?

Although the Group of Seven worked throughout Canada and produced many of the iconic images that we have of the north, there are very few photographs of the actual scenes that inspired them. One may dine in the Maison Fournaise restaurant in Chatou, France, in the very place that Renoir painted "Luncheon of the Boating Party" and "The Rowers' Lunch" but the sites of A.Y. Jackson's "Terre Sauvage" and Franklin Carmichael's "Light and Shadow" are unknown.

My wife and I enjoy canoe tripping and the art of the Group of Seven. We have combined these interests in a hobby that involves trying to locate the exact places where the artists sat. Since the artists did not keep detailed records of where they worked, each painting represents a puzzle to be solved. For each of the 150 places that we have found, we have recorded what the view looks like now and have compared it with the artist's impression of the same scene.

The talk will illustrate some of the paintings that were made in the beautiful La Cloche hills of Killarney Provincial Park and I will discuss what we have learned about the painters themselves. In the fall of 2010, the McMichael Canadian Art Collection will host an exhibition of fifty works from La Cloche. The art works will be presented along with our photographs of the same scenes.

Host: Joanne O'Meara