Frederick Horsman Varley, also known as Fred Varley (January 2, 1881 – September 8, 1969), was a member of the Canadian Group of Seven artists.Varley was born in Sheffield, England. He studied art in Sheffield and in Belgium. He came to Canada in 1912 on the advice of another Sheffield native (and future Group of Seven member), Arthur Lismer, and found work at the Grip Ltd. design firm in Toronto, Ontario.
“We’d be healthier to forget [the war], and that we never can. We are forever tainted with its abortiveness and its cruel drama”.
Varley’s Some Day the People Will Return, shown at the Burlington House in London and at the Canadian War Memorials Exhibition, is a large canvas depicting a war-ravaged cemetery, suggestive that even the dead cannot escape the destruction.
His and A.Y. Jackson‘s contribution in the war influenced work in the Group of Seven. They chose to paint Canadian wilderness that had been damaged by fire or harsh climates. Varley’s major contribution to art is his work with the Group of Seven. He and Lawren Harris were the only members of the group to paint portraits.
In 1954, along with a handful of artists including Eric Aldwinckle, he visited the Soviet Union on the first cultural exchange of the Cold War.
His secure place in the art history of Canada is verified by the government’s decision to reproduce his self-portrait as a 17-cent postage stamp.