“I had to develop my own style. Began to dig out places of my own… I loved to paint villages, and I’m glad, because they’re pretty much gone now. They’ve all changed, fallen down or been destroyed." A.J. Casson
AJ Casson was the youngest member of the Group of Seven. Born in Toronto in 1898, Casson studied at the Ontario College of Art under J.W. Beatty from 1918 to 1921 and took private classes with Harry Britton from 1916 to 1918. In 1919, he began to work as a commercial artist at Rous & Mann Ltd., where he became the assistant to Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael, a connection that would prove to be invaluable. Casson joined the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto in 1920, where he met other artists and Group members.
As well as exhibiting regularly in Canada with the Group, the Ontario Society of Artists, the RCA, the Canadian Group of Painters and the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, he participated in many international shows such as in Wembley, England, the Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Tate Gallery in London, the Canadian Club in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
He retired from his position as Art Director at Sampson Matthews in 1957 at age 60 and he poured his energies into sketching and painting the Ontario landscape.
Later in life, honors poured in, as his special status as a Group of Seven member garnered great appreciation, and his regular exhibitions at Roberts Gallery sold out. He was made Fellow of the Ontario College of Art in 1973 and received an honorary degree from the University of Toronto in 1975.
Casson died in 1992 at age 93 and is buried in the grounds of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario along with five other Group of Seven members.