Canadian Abstraction Timeline

Abstract art in Canada dates back to the 1920s—a period of art dominated by the Group of Seven. Considered “rebels” for resisting traditional forms of art, abstract artists celebrated abstraction for its ability to convey emotion and individuality. The trajectory of Canadian abstraction includes names of groups who shifted the Canadian understanding of art—Les Automatistes, Regina 5, Painters Eleven—those mid-century modernists who sought to place abstraction in the Canadian consciousness. 

With a permanent collection that includes nationally significant works of modern Canadian abstraction, the largest holding of Painters Eleven in the world, and an expanding collection of contemporary art, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is uniquely suited to tell the story of Canadian abstraction. This timeline features various abstract art in the RMG’s collection to visualize the ongoing history of abstraction in Canada.