THE STUDIO BUILDING & The Death of Defiance

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I don’t get much reading done in the summer. It’s the autumn that sees me curled up with tea and a good book. I started rereading Ross King’s Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven. Given the centennial is coming up on their formation, I am particularly interested in their activities during 1916-1920. As I do every autumn, I went to visit the historic Studio Building last week on Severn Street in Toronto. The maple trees in front of the property were lit with splendid crimson leaves, the air was fresh and the sun was shining, but as I approached I noticed something different.

This marvelous building Harris had commissioned and in which the group painted regularly, and was situated to capture a perfect interior light, now sits in the shadow of a monolithic condo building. Sometimes progress really ruins things as this was an important part of the building for the painters. Tom’s cabin was originally near to the building, but has since been moved to the grounds of the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg. The front windows of the studio building have been changed. What remains is a heritage plaque on the lawn and the annual autumn spender that ends with thousands of red maple leaves on the ground.

I wonder what it might be like to paint in there.

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