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PRINT Summer 1984

JUST NORTH OF MODERNISM

“THE MYSTIC NORTH” was a sweeping survey of Symbolist landscape painting in Northern Europe and North America, organized by Roald Nasgaard of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where it was first shown this spring before its only other stop, at the Cincinnati Art Museum. The show’s title came from statements by J.E.H. MacDonald, one of the Group of Seven artists who determined, shortly before World War I, to found a mode of painting that would be rooted in Canadian experience. Inspired by a show of modern Scandinavian art that he and Lawren Harris saw in Buffalo in 1913, MacDonald and his cohorts set out to make paintings that would be “true souvenirs of that mystic north round which we all revolve.” The Scandinavian landscape paintings MacDonald and Harris saw, some of which reappear in the present show, impressed them as being the work of artists “not trying to express themselves so

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