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Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal
Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal
October 24, 2015, to January 31, 2016

The Beaver Hall Group

Discover Montreal of the 1920s

The first major exhibition to feature the Beaver Hall Group!

It sheds new light on this association of some twenty artists and their closest colleagues spanning the period from 1920 to 1933. The Beaver Hall Group gave “new impetus” to artistic life in 1920s Montreal, Quebec and Canada. It offered one of the most original expres­sions of pictorial modernism in the country!

Immigrantes par Jacques Des Rochers

Historical context

The Beaver Hall Group, although initially considered to be a Montreal counterpart to Toronto’s Group of Seven, stood apart through their work: rather than offering an image of Canadian identity through depic­tions of the untamed landscapes of a northern country, the Montreal artists imbued the inhabited landscapes of a northern culture with the colours of mod­ernity.

They also painted many portraits that convey this same quest for mod­ernism; these works rank among the most remarkable in the history of Canadian art. The male-female parity within the group — a first in Quebec as in Canada — is another resolutely modern trait.

The exhibition shows how the question of gender goes hand in hand with the idea that the group’s diversity fuelled rich and fruitful exchanges. Although short-lived, the Beaver Hall Group provided rich soil for abundant and substantial art-making, now inextricably linked with the history of art in Montreal, Quebec and Canada.

The exhibition 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group presents works by its official members as well as by artists associated with them through friendship and solidarity: Nora Collyer, Emily Coonan, Adrien and Henri Hébert, Prudence Heward, Randolph S. Hewton, Edwin Holgate, A. Y. Jackson, John Y. Johnstone, Mabel Lockerby, Mabel May, Hal Ross Perrigard, Robert W. Pilot, Sarah Robertson, Anne Savage, Adam Sherriff Scott, Regina Seiden and Lilias Torrance Newton, as well as André Biéler, Ethel Seath, Kathleen Morris and Albert Robinson.

Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal

Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal

Prudence Heward (1896-1947), At the Theatre, 1928, oil on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Prudence Heward (1896-1947), At the Theatre, 1928, oil on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

A contemporary perspective

Her Story Today

Nearly one hundred years after the existence of the Beaver Hall Group (1920–1923), a seminal moment in the assertion of women as professional painters in Montreal, where do woman artists working with the paint medium stand today? This year’s Beaver Hall Group exhibition at the Museum offered the pretext for a reflection on the place assumed by women artists in Quebec and Canada’s art milieus.

Wanda Koop (born in 1951), Friendly Fire, From the series “No News”, 2011, Acrylic on canvas. MMFA, promised gift of Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Majudia Collection. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest
Credit

Publication

Edited by Jacques Des Rochers and Brian Foss, a scholarly publication with 350 pages and as many illustrations has been published in English and French by the MMFA’s Publishing Department and Black Dog Publishing. On sale at the Museum Boutique and Bookstore.

Beaver Hall - Publication

Acknowledgements and curatorial staff

The exhibition 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group is produced by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) and will be circulated to the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Windsor and the Glenbow Museum, Calgary.

This project was made possible with the generous support of the A. K. Prakash Foundation, exhibition patron, and the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program. The exhibition is presented in Montreal by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, in association with Heffel Fine Art Auction House, Air Canada, Bell and the Museum’s Volunteer Association. The Museum would also like to thank MABI, Richter, La Presse and The Gazette.

The Museum wishes to thank the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec for its invaluable help, as well as the Conseil des arts de Montréal and the Canada Council for the Arts for their ongoing support.

The Museum would also like to acknowledge the indispensable contribution of its Volunteer Guides and its members, as well as the many individuals, corporations and foundations – particularly the Fondation de la Chenelière, directed by Michel de la Chenelière, and the Arte Musica Foundation, presided over by Pierre Bourgie – that provide it with their magnanimous support.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to all those who, through their generous assistance, encouragement and support, made this exhibition and scholarly publication possible.

Women of Influence Circle

This exhibition on the Beaver Hall Group features exceptional women who, in the 1920s, were the first in Canadian history to join an association of professional artists. This event provided the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with the perfect opportunity to launch the Women of Influence Circle. The Circle brings together influential women to help the Museum shine the spotlight on women who have had, or will have, an impact on our society, be it in the cultural, artistic, social or economic spheres.

We are grateful to the Circle’s founding members:

Sandra Abitan, Alix d’Anglejan-Chatillon, Christiane Bergevin, Sylvie Boileau, Johanne Champoux, Hélène Couture, Viviane Croux, France Denis Royer, Giovanna Francavilla, Carolina Gallo, Diane Giard, Anne- Marie Hubert, Isabelle Hudon, Suzanne Legge Orr, Constance Lemieux, Johanne Lépine, Mary Leslie, Isabelle Marcoux, Monique Parent, Miriam Pozza, Gurjinder P. Sall, Michelle R. Savoy, Marie Senécal-Tremblay and Martine Turcotte, under the leadership of Françoise E. Lyon.

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts logo
Major Patron
AK Praskash Foundation
A presentation of
Osler Avocats
Gouvernement du Canada
Gouvernement du Québec
MMFA's Women of Influence Circle
Heffel
Air Canada
Bell

MABI

La Presse +
Montreal Gazette
Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal

Lilias Torrance Newton (1896-1980), Winkie, 1929, oil on canvas, 76.5 x 61.5 cm. Montreal, McCord Museum. Estate of Lilias Torrance Newton © NGC. Photo © McCord Museum, Montreal

Prudence Heward (1896-1947), At the Theatre, 1928, oil on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Prudence Heward (1896-1947), At the Theatre, 1928, oil on canvas, 101.6 x 101.6 cm. MMFA, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Wanda Koop (born in 1951), Friendly Fire, From the series “No News”, 2011, Acrylic on canvas. MMFA, promised gift of Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Majudia Collection. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Wanda Koop (born in 1951), Friendly Fire, From the series “No News”, 2011, Acrylic on canvas. MMFA, promised gift of Pierre and Anne-Marie Trahan, Majudia Collection. Photo MMFA, Christine Guest

Beaver Hall - Publication
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