Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Media Index

Canadian Painting in the Thirties / La peinture canadienne des années trente
What's on in Ottawa / Voici Ottawa (Vol. 18, No. 1)
01 Feb 1975

An article announcing the upcoming National Gallery of Canada exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties, including a brief description of art trends in the 1920s and 1930s. The author cites the economic and political influences of the era, including famine, strikes and Nazism, and comments on the lack of colour in paintings of the time. Artistic trends of the 1920s include Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism and Dadaism; approaches of the 1930s include avant-gardism, anti-naturalism, abstraction and formalism.

Canadian Painting in the Thirties explores the development of painting from the nationalistic scene in Toronto to the internationalist Montreal school. The show will travel to the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Glenbow-Alberta Institute, Calgary, Edmonton Art Gallery, Saskatoon Gallery and Conservatory Corporation (Mendel Art Gallery), and Musée d?art contemporain de Montréal. The author recalls the experience of studying art at McGill University under John Lyman, who is featured in the exhibition. Other artists included are Goodridge Roberts, Louis Muhlstock, Paul-Émile Borduas, Alexandre Bercovitch, Eric Goldberg, Philip Surrey, Fritz Brandtner and Marian Scott. Artist societies mentioned are the Group of Seven, Contemporary Arts Society and the Automatists. The author identifies David Milne as one of the few Impressionist artists in the show, and quotes W. J. Phillips on the importance of light as a subject. Readers are invited to visit the Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, to view the Milne painting The Orchard, Mount Riga. The article is illustrated with a reproduction of Miller Brittain?s 1940 painting Longshoremen.


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.