It was gone! I was sad when I returned to my job at the Winnipeg Art Gallery after a holiday to find the most popular painting in our Group of Seven room was gone.
I loved Clouds by Lawren Harris. It is always a favorite with children on tours. I usually ask kids to walk slowly around the Group of Seven exhibit room looking carefully at all the art pieces. Then I have them vote for their top two paintings. Clouds was always a sure-fire winner. But now it was gone and had been replaced by Alfred Casson’s Morning Light.
Imagine my surprise when on my first Group of Seven tour after my holidays Morning Light was the hands down favorite of the kids just like Clouds had been. Some said Cassion’s painting seemed strangely familiar to them. It reminded one girl of a mountain she had seen on cruise in Costa Rica. Another told me there were rocks like the ones in Morning Light at her family cottage near Kenora. A boy said he’d seen cliff jumping on TV and he thought the cliffs in the painting would be fun to jump from. Another fellow pointed out the monster’s claw he could see in the cloud formation. Someone thought the shadows on the lake and rocks looked a little scary.
I still miss Lawren Harris’ Clouds but I’m not as sad anymore that it is gone. Its absence and its replacement with the Casson painting means visitors at the gallery will be introduced to another great painting by a Group of Seven member; another great painting that stirs their imaginations and links them to personal memories.