Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Ottawa Exhibition

La dépression des années 30 a donné un nouveau visage à la peinture canadienne
Perspectives (Vol. 17, No. 4)
25 Jan 1975

Canadian painting was deeply affected in the 1930s by the Depression, which moved painters to seek a new role for art, in opposition to the Group of Seven?s approach. This exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Canada and set to tour Canada?s major cities, will retrace this evolution. George Russell summarizes the Depression period on economic, social and political levels. A certain social conscience, expressed in different forms, arose throughout the country. However, the journalist notes that Canada would not experience the unrest that Europe did during the same period. Instead, the general attitude in this country was individualistic. The Depression ended with the war, which had the effect of reviving industry. The article is illustrated with various exhibition works, including: Jack Humphrey?s Charlotte (1939); Goodridge Roberts?s Marian (1937); Carl Schaefer?s Ontario Farmhouse (1939); Paul-Émile Borduas? Portrait of Maurice Gagnon (1937); Fred Varley?s Landscape with Eskimos, Baffin Island (1938) and Philip Surrey?s Sunday Afternoon (1939).


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.