Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Other Venues

Nostalgia Hits Gallery
Edmonton Journal
06 Sep 1975

A review of Canadian Painting in the Thirties, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, at the Edmonton Art Gallery. A reduced version of the exhibition does not contain any painting from Alberta or Saskatchewan. Canadian painting in the 1930s marks a shift in focus from the Toronto-based Group of Seven to the Montreal- based Contemporary Arts Society and from a national to international outlook. In 1930 the Group of Seven consisted of Harris, Jackson, Lismer, Macdonald, Varley, Casson and Carmichael. Edwin Holgate and LeMoine FitzGerald later joined them. The Group of Seven was absorbed into the Canadian Group of Painters, which dominated the Toronto scene in the 1930s. The Canadian Group of Painters included Carl Schaefer, Charles Comfort, Bertram Brooker, Paraskeva Clark and Pegi Nicol Macleod, and represented 28 English-speaking artists from across Canada. The Montreal group of artists included Edwin Holgate, Lilias Torrance Newton and Prudence Heward, who were interested in painting the human form. In British Columbia, Emily Carr, Fred Varley and Jock MacDonald dominated the painting scene. Emily Carr's career marked a turning point when she met Lawren Harris and the Group of Seven in 1927. Both Macdonald and Varley taught at the Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts. Varley?s Vera and Dharana were painted during this period. Paintings by the group of ?independents?, David Milne, LeMoine FitzGerald and Lawren Harris, are included in the show. Jack Humphrey and Miller Brittain worked in isolation in New Brunswick during the 1930s. Marc-Aurèle Fortin, André Bieler, Jean Paul Lemieux, Jori Smith and Stanley Cosgrove are representative of artists in Quebec. John Lyman founded the Contemporary Arts Society in Montreal in 1930 upon his return from abroad. Montreal became the art centre of Canada during the 1940s.


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.