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Defiant Spirits Paperback – Jul 15 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & Mcintyre; Reprint edition (July 15 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553658825
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553658825
  • Product Dimensions: 3.8 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 658 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #47,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Nov. 6 2010
Format: Hardcover
For someone like myself who has only a cursory knowledge of the modern Canadian art scene, reading King's "Defiant Spirits" offered me a great opportunity to journey into the past and discover a dynamic movement that continues to reshape our country's national image both at home and abroad. In this book, King very methodically and descriptively pieces together the story of how a number of landscape painters came together in the early part of the 20th century to develop a radically new concept of how Canadians might choose to see the land they called Canada. Based on a strong influence of impressionism and post-impressionism coming out of Europe in the late 19th century, these seven men and their many associates developed an interpretation of rural and urban Canada that was representative of many deep spiritual encounters with the natural, social and economic forces shaping this young nation. To assist his readers to come to grips with the emotive power of their expressive paintings, King takes them through the transformation that each painter like Jackson, Varley, Harris, Lismer, Johnston, and Thomson experienced on their road to creating a made-in-Canada art form. Along the way, there were many bumps and reversals that were only overcome by their ability to feed of each other and refine the signature product. Mixed in with the discussion of their personal lives is considerable reference to the famous technique of painting that embodied the innovative use of gaudy colors to unlock extraordinary sensations from a natural landscape. The two parts of the account that really hit home with me were the personal struggles and tragic death of Thomson and the war experiences of Jackson and Varley as they worked on the Western Front as war painters.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book offers a more complete look at the lives and work of this famous group of Canadian painters. It goes well beyond the superficial information most Canadians have about these important artists, to "paint" a more complete picture. Well written and highly recommended to art lovers or historians.
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Format: Paperback
I have read many books about the Group of Seven and was eager to read this one, as the cover praises it will mentions of nominations, best of, etc. But what a huge disapointment it has been. It is truely a story told by someone who gathered informations and then made a collage of them, never questionning if they were historically correct, or just assumptions served as truths, told over and over again. Doing so, the writer serves us again all sorts of old and tired clichés that have no reasons to survive in this era.How should I put it. The 'facts', the biographical material, the factual stuff, about the members of the Group of Seven, and Tom Thompson, are great. Unfortunately, the book doesn't just deliver that, it tries to deliver the factual, in a larger view of Canada - late 19th century, early XXth - about the art scene (or supposedly lack of) in Toronto and Montreal in that time. Which tells me that the writer is only serving us stuff already written previously elsewhere, and did not do as thorough a fact checking job on those aspects as he did on the painters themselves. After a while, I just couldn't stand it, The vision of Canada carried in this book, and of the two cultural centers of the time (Toronto and Montreal) is so out of date, I just don't get it. How could this book have gotten such good reviews. I must not be reading the same book as all these other people. In the end, it was so frustrating to have to put up with the botched up job of the writer that the biographical material about the Group of Seven and Tom Thompson wasn't enough to keep me going. Maybe one day I'll have more patience and pick it up again.
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By Kevin in Canada on June 15 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a must for anyone interested in Canadian art. It tells the fascinating tale of the forming of the Group of Seven. Well written and engaging.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent book -- captures the "spirit" and stories behind the Group of Seven painters in a rich and colourful fashion. For those who enjoy history, Canadian art, or just a well-written non-fiction book, this is rare treat.

Wonderous stuff.

I also suggest the book, Picturing the Land: Narrating Territories in Canadian Landscape Art, 1500-1950
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