Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Ottawa Exhibition

Art in the '30s - a Period of Adjustment
The Citizen
08 Feb 1975

Material reprinted with the express permission of: Ottawa Citizen Group Inc., a CanWest Partnership.

An article about the exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties on view at the National Gallery of Canada and organized by Charles Hill, Assistant Curator of Post-Confederation Art. This exhibition examines various artist groups active during the Depression: the Toronto-based Group of Seven, with its nationalistic vision; the more internationalist Montreal artists; the Canadian Group of Painters, who were influenced by A.Y. Jackson?s attachment to the Canadian landscape; the Contemporary Arts Society, led by John Lyman, and the Automatists, both of which moved away from landscapes towards abstraction, nudes, social commentary and still lifes. A number of artists and their works are cited: Lawren Harris, who moved towards abstraction, and his Grounded Icebergs; Emily Carr, who took an interest in theosophy and the British Columbia landscape, with A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth and Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky; and David Milne. There are numerous women artists represented: Pegi Nicol MacLeod, whose work is reminiscent of Chagall; Paraskeva Clark; Anne Savage; Prudence Heward, with Girl Under A Tree; Marian Scott, with Escalator. Other artists represented include Arthur Lismer, Edwin Holgate, Phillip Surrey, L.L. FitzGerald, Carl Schaefer, Charles Comfort, Goodridge Roberts, Stanley Cosgrove, Miller Brittain, André Biéler and Jean Paul Lemieux. The exhibition 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 article is illustrated with images of A. Y. Jackson?s A Quebec Farm, Louis Muhlstock?s Sainte-Famille Street, Marian Scott?s Escalator, and Jean Paul Lemieux?s Lazarus.


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.