A. J. Casson (A A. J. Casson)

A. J. Casson

Artist. While not one of the original members of the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933 that included Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A. Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J. E. H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley, he was invited to join the Group in 1926 after Frank Johnston resigned in 1921. He is best known for his depictions of landscapes, forests and farms of southern Ontario, and for being the youngest member of the Group of Seven at the time he joined. He was born Alfred Joseph Casson on May 17, 1898 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to an English Quaker father and Canadian mother. At age 9 he and his family moved to Guelph and at age 14 to Hamilton, both in Ontario, Canada. In 1913 he studied are at the Hamilton Technical School. When he was 15, his father sent him to work as an apprentice at a Hamilton lithography company. In 1915 the family moved back to Toronto and he attended evening classes at Central Technical School. The first public exhibition of his work was at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1917. He was then hired by the commercial art/engravers firm Brigden’s. In 1919 he was employed by Rous and Mann as a commercial artist where he apprenticed with Group member Franklin Carmichael, and was encouraged to sketch and paint on his own. During the 1920s he continued to paint during his spare time alone and with the Group. He was fond of watercolors, which he used primarily until the 1950s, and in 1925 along with Carmichael and F.H. Brigden, founded the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Color. In 1926 he became an Associate Member of the most conservative Royal Canadian Academy and became a full member in 1940. In 1927 he left Rous and Mann and joined the firm of Sampson & Matthews. In 1932, after Carmichael departed to teach at the Ontario College of Art, he became their Art Director and later their vice-president in 1946. After the ending of the Group of Seven in 1933, he co-founded the Canadian Group of Painters in the same year, of which several members of the Group later became members including Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, A. Y. Jackson, and Franklin Carmichael. In 1957 he retired as Vice-President and Art Director of Sampson & Matthews to devote to painting full time. Among his awards are the winner of a national competition for designing poster for a Victory Bond (1942), the Gold Medal for Distinguished Service to Advertising (1954), the University of Alberta Gold Medal (1957), the Silver Centennial Medal (1967), Fellow of the Ontario College of Art (1973), and an Honorary Degree from the University of Toronto (1975). He died in Toronto on February 20, 1992 at the age of 93. (bio by: William Bjornstad)  Family links:  Spouse:  Margaret Alexandria Petry Casson (1900 – 1992)* *Calculated relationship


  • May, 17, 1898
  • Canada


  • February, 02, 1992
  • Canada


  • McMichael Canadian Art Collection Burial Grounds
  • Ontario
  • Canada

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