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for beauty espouses the ideal of a harmonic relationship between the
wilderness and a certain state of culture.)
Sicotte's identification of a 'nouvelle dynamique de recherche et
d'exploration identitaires qui se développe au Canada durant le pre-
mier tiers du XX e siècle' (29; new dynamic of identitary quest and ex-
ploration that develops in Canada in the first third of the twentieth
century) not only raises the allied issue of national identity but also
moves it to a broader, pan-Canadian level. 15
On that same level, in the preface to a catalogue combining an exhibi-
tion of Quebec artists from the early twentieth century and the Ontario-
based Group of Seven, John Porter concludes as follows: 'L'observateur
attentif aura tôt fait d'opposer les larges horizons nordiques du Groupe
des Sept à la vision plus intimiste de la nature qui caractérise la plupart
des peintres du Québec. Fort contraste également entre le territoire
vierge et les grands espaces inhabités des artistes ontariens, d'une part,
et les villes, villages et territoires apprivoisés de leurs voisins, d'autre
part.' (The attentive observer will have soon contrasted the broad
Nordic horizons of the Group of Seven with the more intimate vision of
nature that characterizes most of Quebec's painters. A sharp contrast
also between the virgin territory and vast spaces of the Ontarian artists,
on the one hand, and the cities, villages, and territories tamed by their
neighbours, on the other hand.) 16 To nuance this broad distinction
somewhat, it might be more accurate to say that the Group of Seven
tends towards nature, and the Quebec artists towards culture, or
rather, as I contend, towards the combination of nature and culture
that has characterized all four of the painters we have been examining
in relation to the written sketches of Marie-Victorin. Two of these
painters, Suzor-Coté and Gagnon, reappear in the following chapter,
since both did illustrations for the same novel, itself an exploration of
French-Canadian identity: Louis Hémon's Maria Chapdelaine .
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