Toronto painters have made an important contribution to the development of modern art. The members of the Group of Seven and their successors created a distinctive style that combined local concerns with international trends. Their work was a major force in establishing the reputation of Canadian painting abroad. They paved the way for younger generations to explore a new language of abstraction.
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The wide world of abstract painting reached Toronto in the early 1950s. A survey exhibition in 1949 at the Art Gallery of Ontario included semi-abstract images by Britain’s neo-Romantic painters and abstract works by New York’s Abstract Expressionists. Jock Macdonald and Alexandra Luke were introducing the teachings of Hans Hofmann to their colleagues, while individual experiments with abstraction were set to coalesce into a local movement.