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Canadian artists dazzled London, coming to McMichael

Guests view paintings by Canadian artist Tom Thomson during the a show's opening at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London October 17, 2011.

CHRIS HELGREN/CHRIS HELGREN / REUTERS

Plans are under way to bring a hit European show of classic Canadian paintings to the McMichael Canadian Art Collection north of Toronto once its overseas circuit is completed in the fall.

Victoria Dickenson, director and CEO of the McMichael, confirmed Monday that negotiations are in progress with lenders and the National Gallery of Canada – which co-organized the touring exhibition last year with London's Dulwich Picture Gallery – to have most or all of their 123 paintings and sketches displayed at the McMichael in Kleinburg, Ont., in early November through early January, 2013.

Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven ran for 12 weeks at Dulwich in South London, drawing record crowds before its closing in January this year. The exhibition – which includes 37 loans from the National Gallery, 25 from the Art Gallery of Ontario and 26 from the McMichael – features some of Canada's most iconic art works, most notably Tom Thomson's The Jack Pine and The West Wind as well as F.H. Varley's Stormy Weather, Georgian Bay. The Dulwich show was the first to highlight the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson in England in decades.

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The exhibition subsequently moved to the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo where it's on view until May 13. Its next and final destination is the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, opening June 30 with a close of Sept. 30. The Groninger is the first-ever showcase of the Group and Thomson in the Netherlands.

"We think it's wonderful that it should come back," said Dickenson. "I think Canadians are interested in what the fuss was all about in England and in Oslo and Groningen."

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