Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Media Index

A Zesty, Difficult, Creative Time for Our Art Lives Again
Financial Post
15 Feb 1975

A review of the exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties at the National Gallery of Canada. According to author Arnold Edinborough, Paraskeva Clark?s Self-Portrait is a particularly powerful painting. Canadian painting of the 1930s, and especially Ontario painting, is linked to earlier work by The Group of Seven representing the nationalist cause, such as Tom Thomson?s The West Wind, A.Y. Jackson?s Algoma, Arthur Lismer?s Bright Morning, and works by Lawren Harris. Clark, Edwin Holgate, Lilias Newton and Prudence Heward were more interested in the human form. John Lyman and André Biéler, founders of Montreal?s Atelier, focused on form, color and the object. Lyman?s Woman with the White Collar, Lassitude and Jori Smith in Costume, and Biéler?s Gatineau Madonna and Corpus Christi Procession Saint-Adèle, along with paintings by Marian Scott and Jean Paul Lemieux all bridge the gap between landscapes and figure paintings. The show includes works by David Milne and Emily Carr, as well as LeMoine FitzGerald?s Doc Snyder?s House. Hill reports in the catalogue that the Depression led to financial privation among artists, particularly for Goodridge Roberts. Milne, FitzGerald and Frederick Varley turned to inexpensive watercolours. The Montreal group, including Marian Scott, Biéler, Fritz Brandtner and Clark, reflected their preoccupation and involvement with politics. Clark defended such politicization to Toronto sculptor Elizabeth Wyn Wood. After Ottawa, this exhibition will travel to Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Montreal. The review is illustrated with a black and white reproduction of Clark?s Self-Portrait (1933).


Images of the exhibition's installation, the opening ceremony and official visits.

Media Coverage

Almost 200 newspaper and magazine articles in English, French and other languages: reviews, details of the Canadian tour, lectures, films and special events.


Audio clip of curator Charles Hill interviewed by CBC's Carol Bishop. Includes Pierre Trudeau's opening speech.

NFB Film

Derek May's 1977 documentary Pictures From the 1930s looks at the exhibition in the context of the Depression, with newsreel footage of the day.