Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Ottawa Exhibition

Ottawa has Two Fine Shows
The Gazette
15 Feb 1975

A review of two exhibitions at the National Gallery of Canada, one on Francisco Goya, and the other titled Canadian Painting in the Thirties. Organized by Charles Hill, this exhibition reveals how Canadian painting of the 1930s moved away from the Toronto-based Group of Seven?s nationalist approach towards a Montreal-based internationalist school influenced by European and American trends, as well as by the Depression, and centred around the Contemporary Arts Society. Landscape ceased to be the central focus and Tom Thomson was replaced by James Wilson Morrice as an influential predecessor. Social concerns and the human figure played a greater role in the works of Edwin Holgate and Miller Brittain. Form became increasingly important in figure studies, nudes, still lifes, industrial scenes, social comment and abstraction. Works featured in the exhibition include a portrait by Borduas, a nude by Prudence Heward, Charles Comfort?s Tadoussac, as well as works by Paraskeva Clark, David Milne, Emily Carr, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, LeMoine FitzGerald and Jock MacDonald. The article 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.