Frederick Varley was born in England in 1881. After studying in Belgium, he immigrated to Canada in 1912. He was hired by Grip Ltd, where his friend Arthur Lismer also worked. During the First World War, he became a war painter and accompanied the Canadian armed forces in France and Belgium. On his return, marked by war, he painted wild landscapes from arid climatic regions. Later, he was the only member of the Group of Seven to specialize in portraiture.
He moved to British Columbia in 1926 for a job at the School of Decorative and Applied Arts in Vancouver. He embarked on an Arctic trip in 1938.
He died in Toronto in 1969.
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