Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Ottawa Exhibition

La peinture canadienne des années trente
Galerie nationale du Canada: Communiqué de presse
14 Jan 1975

National Gallery of Canada press release about the Canadian Painting in the Thirties exhibition, signed by Janine M. Smiter and Louise Simard Conroy and issued on January 14, 1975. The exhibition retraces the evolution of painting in Canada from the national milieu of Toronto to the international school of Montréal, and will be opened by the Rt. Hon. Pierre Elliott Trudeau on January 30, 1975 at 9 p.m. It will be on tour at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Glenbow Alberta Institute, the Edmonton Art Gallery, the Saskatoon Gallery and Conservatory Corporation, and the Musée d?art contemporain de Montréal. The exhibition was organized by Charles Hill, Assistant Curator of Post-Confederation Art, and includes more than 100 works. Hill has written a bilingual, two-volume catalogue that includes seven studies, along with the complete works and documentary photographs of the artists. The Group of Seven, in particular Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson and Arthur Lismer, had a major influence on a new generation of painters such as Yvonne McKague Housser, Jock Macdonald and Emily Carr, through the Art Students League and the Canadian Group of Painters. Many artists, such as David Milne, Charles Comfort, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark, Bertram Brooker, Pegi Nicol MacLeod, L.L. FitzGerald, Jack Humphrey and Miller Brittain, freed themselves from the Group of Seven?s tradition to explore new facets of Canadian art. The catalogue includes a study of Lawren Harris? first abstract paintings. In Montréal, a group of figurative painters formed around Edwin Holgate. These painters were Prudence Heward, Sarah Robertson and Lilias Newton. Direct opposition to the Group of Seven was led by several artists united around John Lyman in Montréal. These included Goodridge Roberts, Louis Muhlstock, Paul-Émile Borduas, Alexandre Bercovitch, Eric Goldberg, Philip Surrey, Fritz Brandtner, and Marian Scott, precursors of the Contemporary Art Society and the Automatistes of the 1940s. The exhibition is being presented at the National Gallery of Canada until March 2, 1975.


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.