Canadian Painting in the Thirties

The 1975 exhibition: Catalogue Reviews

Printed Part of Total Event / Book Covers Art in the '30s
Edmonton Journal
17 May 1975

A review by Ron MacGregor of the catalogue for the National Gallery of Canada?s exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties, which features over 100 works of art and will travel across the country. The catalogue?s author, Charles Hill, documents the period separating the ascendancy of the Group of Seven and the postwar emergence of Pellan and Riopelle. He examines the pursuit of a Canadian identity, as well as internationalist trends, as promoted by John Lyman. A.Y Jackson was the only member of the Group of Seven who challenged the nationalist approach, as Wyndham Lewis suggested at the time. Hill identifies individuals and groups who expressed a social conscience, such as Paraskeva Clark, Fritz Brandtner and Miller Brittain, as well as Norman Bethune and the League for Social Reconstruction. Many artists suffered financially, including Goodridge Roberts; a number dressed windows for the T. Eaton Company. Artistic influences are discussed: LeMoine Fitzgerald was influenced by Seurat, Carl Schaefer by Paul Nash, and Marc-Aurèle Fortin by Frank Brangwyn. Only six of the book?s 109 reproductions are in colour, and there are photographs of the painters, including one of Emily Carr. Hill focuses on Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal as regions of the greatest art activity. The review is illustrated with black and white reproductions of John Lyman?s Haying by the Lake and Goodridge Roberts?s Marian.


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.