Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Other Venues

Canadian Art of the 30s, As Seen from the East
The Albertan
26 Jul 1975

A review of the National Gallery of Canada?s exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties, and its accompanying catalogue and talk by curator Charles Hill. Currently on view at the Glenbow-Alberta Institute, this version of the exhibition includes 53 works by some 30 artists. Author Vic Arcega criticizes Hill for selecting primarily Eastern Canadian artists, with the exception of Emily Carr, David Milne and a few others. A. Y. Jackson, according to the author, does not constitute a Western painter. Hill, he remarks, defines the dominant theme of the period as the transition from a Toronto-based nationalist movement centred around The Group of Seven to a Montreal-based internationalist school centred around the Contemporary Arts Society. However, Arcega praises Hill for his effort to demonstrate the mood and spirit of the 1930s, including the harsh economic realities. He explores the merging of The Group of Seven into the Canadian Group of Painters, with members Lawren S. Harris, Jackson and Arthur Lismer influencing a younger generation of painters. He looks at the romantic tradition in British Columbia, under Fred Varley and Carr. The latter, in particular, moved from examinations of native culture to exultant, mystical images. In Montreal, John Lyman and his contemporaries were influenced by European and American trends. The exhibition catalogue is highly readable, according to the author. A number of films associated with the show will be screened at the gallery. The article is illustrated with black and white reproductions of Miller Brittain?s Longshoremen, Jean Paul Lemieux?s Lazarus and A. Y. Jackson?s Quebec Farm (1930).


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.