Charles C. Hill
The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
©The National Gallery of Canada for the Corporation of the National Museums of Canada, Ottawa, 1975
The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photo-copying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the prior consent of the publisher is an infringement of copyright law, Chapter C-30, R.S.C., 1970.
PRINTED IN CANADA
The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
The Vancouver Art Gallery
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
A reduced version of this exhibition to be circulated by the National Programme of The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Glenbow-Alberta Institute, Calgary
The Edmonton Art Gallery
The Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon
Musée d'art contemporain, Montreal
Mrs Charles S. Band, Toronto
Jules Bazin, Montreal
Dr and Mrs Raymond Boyer, Montreal
Estate of M.A. Brooker
Morley Callaghan, Toronto
Canada Packers Limited
Paraskeva Clark, r.c.a., Toronto
Maurice Corbeil, Montreal
John H. Creighton, Vancouver
Dr and Mrs Albert Fell, Kingston
The Honourable Milton Gregg and Erica Deichmann Gregg, Fredericton
Mrs Jack Weldon Humphrey, Saint John
Kastel Gallery, Montreal
Mrs Leslie J. Kerr, Vancouver
Dr G.R. McCall, Montreal
McCready Galleries Inc., Toronto
Miss Isabel McLaughlin, Toronto
Mr and Mrs W. A. Manford, Toronto
Reta and Max Merkur, Toronto
Louis Muhlstock, c.g.p., Montreal
Mr and Mrs T.E. Nichols, Dundas
Power Corporation of Canada, Limited
Roberts Gallery, Toronto
Mrs Carl F. Schaefer, Toronto
Mrs Ninel Schuman, New York
Frank H. Sobey, Sobeys Stores Limited, Stellarton, Nova Scotia
Philip Surrey, Montreal
University College, University of Toronto
Mr Stuart H. Wallace, Vancouver and other private collectors
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
The Art Gallery of Windsor
Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton
Hart House, University of Toronto
The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Musée du Québec, Quebec
The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
The Sir George Williams Art Galleries and Collection of Art, Concordia University, Montreal
The Vancouver Art Gallery
The Winnipeg Art Gallery
This is the first occasion on which The National Gallery of Canada has examined intensively a particular decade of Canadian art in an exhibition and in a publication. To many of us it may seem curious that such a study should have begun with a decade that, because of the Depression and the beginning of the Second World War, we would prefer to forget. Nevertheless, with fashion recently directing our attention to the thirties through films, revivals in dress, music, and literature, it seems appropriate now to examine this period in the exhibition Canadian Painting in the Thirties – with a seriousness that has little to do with fashion.
The thirties were a time in which The National Gallery was, through various circumstances, less closely allied to the more progressive movements in Canadian art than it had been since the beginning of the First World War. One reason was that during the Depression its appropriations inevitably were far from generous. For all its purposes, including staff salaries and acquisitions, its income ranged from $130,000 in 1930 – 1931 (the highest) to $115,000 in 1939 – 1940, with a low of $25,000 in 1934 – 1935. Added to these difficult circumstances, was the distress of the Director, Eric Brown, when more than a hundred artists petitioned the Government, protesting the Gallery's support of certain artists, essentially the Group of Seven, through acquisition and exhibition. Eric Brown expressed his disillusionment in a letter to a friend in 1932: 'I am getting rather doubtful of the wisdom of trying to push Canadian art forward as much as we do . . . . I think it would be wise to withdraw from current art activities gradually or at least temporarily so as to give us time for more study and some peace of mind at least.' As the author of this publication shows, these circumstances meant that The National Gallery between 1932 and 1936, very uncharacteristically, acquired only one work – Varley's Self-Portrait in 1936 – by any of the artists shown in this exhibition, whom it had previously enthusiastically supported and who were among the nearly 300 artists who rose to Brown's defence in 1933.
In spite of these problems, The National Gallery did buy a few major works, aside from contemporary Canadian art, during those years. One of these was Sister Saint-Alphonse by Antoine Plamondon (1802 – 1895). Another was the great Vulcan and Aeolus by Piero di Cosimo (1462 – 1521), bought, like the Plamondon, in 1937. One of the artists in this exhibition, David Milne, was particularly enthusiastic about the acquisition of the Piero di Cosimo. He made a detailed analysis of the painting in words and drawings in a letter (now in the Public Archives) to his friend Graham McInnes.
Despite the period of four years between 1932 and 1936 when The National Gallery appeared to have withdrawn its support of the artists represented in this exhibition, it should be noted that one of them, Lawren Harris, served on the Board of The National Gallery from 1950 to 1962 and that another, Charles Comfort, became its Director from 1960 to 1965. In addition, solo exhibitions of eighteen of these artists' works, not always necessarily organized by The National Gallery itself, have been shown at The National Gallery.
When the time came to study this period with both respect and detachment, it is interesting to note that the young Assistant Curator, Charles Hill, who applied himself to this task with so much enthusiasm and scholarly apparatus, should have been born well after this decade ended. Dennis Reid, the Curator of Post-Confederation Art, under whom Mr Hill began this project and to whom he has owed much for guidance and advice, was born after 1940. Consequently, in his work Mr Hill has every reason to be grateful to the artists, their friends and their descendants who have talked with him so generously about the period and its paintings.
Jean Sutherland Boggs
This exhibition has taken a year and a half to prepare and during that time I have been assisted by numerous people who have very kindly given of their time and memories. To those who allowed themselves to be interviewed, I would like to express my deepest gratitude. My thanks go to Harry Adaskin, Sylvia Bercovitch Ary, Robert Ayre, André Biéler, Mrs Fritz Brandtner, Ted Campbell, Paraskeva Clark, Dr Charles Comfort, Mrs Louise Comfort, Lawren P. Harris, Allan Harrison, Edwin Holgate, Yvonne McKague Housser, John P. Humphrey, Louis Muhlstock, Lilias T. Newton, Carl Schaefer, Frank Scott, Marian Scott, Jack Shadbolt, Hazen Sise, Jori Smith, Doris Spiers, Philip Surrey, Jacques de Tonnancour, and Isabel Wintemute.
I would also like to thank those who patiently answered my questions and kindly supplied information: Mrs Marcelle Abell, Mrs Anna Vanderpant Ackroyd, Hedwige Asselin, John Aveson, James Borcoman, Mrs Nan Cheney, Stanley Cosgrove, Mr and Mrs Gordon Davies, Ann Davis, Dr Paul Dumas, Mrs Regina Goldberg, Dr Naomi Jackson Groves, Howard Harris, Mrs J.W. Humphrey, Ruth Humphrey, Rick Kettle, Mrs James Knox, Peter Larisey, Norah McCullough, Mrs Barbara Macdonald, Donald Mackay, Mrs Pat Morrison, Mrs Vera Mortimer-Lamb, Kathleen Munn, Jean-René Ostiguy, Allison Palmer, Marian Robertson, David Silcox, Frances Smith, Dr and Mrs Paul Toomik, Peter Varley, and Margaret Williams.
During my research I have been assisted by the staff of galleries across Canada. I would especially like to mention Juanita Toupin, Librarian, and Ruth Jackson, Registrar, at The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Charles McFaddin, Registrar at the Art Gallery of Ontario; Wylie Thom, Registrar at The Vancouver Art Gallery; Miss Jacqueline Hunter, Librarian at The National Gallery.
For their assistance in indexing periodicals of the decade, I would like to thank Andrée Lemieux and Karen Love, summer students at The National Gallery; for their patience and help, I would like to thank Peter Smith and Donald Mowat, editors of the English text, and Jean-Claude Champenois, Hélène Papineau, and Louis Arial, editors of the French text.
Lastly I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Director of The National Gallery of Canada, Dr Jean Sutherland Boggs, and to Dennis Reid, Curator of Post-Confederation Art, for the opportunity to work on this exhibition.
Charles C. Hill
Lenders to the Exhibition / 5
Preface / 7
Acknowledgements / 8
Introduction / 10
Chapter 1 Formation of the Canadian Group of Painters / 20
Chapter 2 'The Beaver Hall Group' / 38
Chapter 3 The Canadian Group of Painters in British Columbia / 50
Chapter 4 The Independents / 70
Chapter 5 New Developments in the Canadian Group of Painters / 88
Chapter 6 Regionalist Manifestations in Quebec / 114
Chapter 7 The Eastern Group and the Contemporary Arts Society / 124
Catalogue / 149
Abbreviations / 150
Selected Bibliography / 208
Index / 219
Credits / 223
The thirties in Canada lack a definite image in the history of Canadian art. While the twenties are dominated by the success of the Group of Seven and the forties by the explosive development of the Automatistes, the thirties only raise the names of a few isolated artists. In fact when the exhibition was first considered, it was felt to be an arbitrary chronological imposition on actual artistic developments. Yet as the research began certain characteristics did develop: reaffirmations of earlier trends and the beginnings of other developments that were to find their fruition in the next decade. The dominant theme of Canadian art in the thirties can be broadly defined as a movement between polarities: from nationalism to internationalism, from the Group of Seven to the Contemporary Arts Society, from Toronto to Montreal.
The Toronto-based Group of Seven was the embodiment of the nationalist cause, and A.Y. Jackson remained its leading spokesman. He believed that an art determined by geography and created by artists 'with their feet in the soil' 1 would naturally be a true expression of Canada and that the revitalization of Canadian art would come about through the continued exploration and interpretation of its landscape.
To a degree this attitude was shared by Lawren Harris, another member of the Group, who believed that art was a universal expression created through the interplay of the personality of the artist, time, and place and that one could reach the universal only through concentration on the particular or national. 2 However, unlike A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris believed the artist should move from the necessities of time and place to an art beyond time and place.
The influence of the Group continued in Toronto throughout the thirties. They had their copyists, followers, and loyal disciples: Paraskeva Clark, trained in a formalist tradition in Russia, even turned to landscape painting under this influence. However, younger artists, while recognizing their debt to the Group of Seven, were seeking new resources and new directions and these came mainly from the United States.
The rapid development of American art during the previous two decades had attracted the attention of many young Canadians. They now went to New York instead of studying in the open academies of Paris. The American Government's sponsorship of art and artists during the Depression and the strong Social Realist school also interested many Canadians seriously concerned about their rôle in times of social unrest. Miller Brittain in Saint John was seeking a form of expression similar to that of New York's Fourteenth Street School. Charles Comfort was attracted to the machine-like Precisionism of Charles Sheeler, and Carl Schaefer to the regionalism of Charles Burchfield. David Milne, returning to Canada in 1929 after almost twenty-five years in the United States, produced landscape studies in colour and line totally different in intent and character from the epic grandeur of the Group.
Montreal, which had never been won over by the Toronto artists' work, already had a strong figurative school in Edwin Holgate, Lilias Newton, and Prudence Heward. André Biéler developed this tradition in directions paralleling the Social Realist art of the Works Progress Administration (w.p.a.) in the United States. Jean Paul Lemieux incorporated into his work qualities of native folk art and social comment.
While in Toronto these new developments could harmoniously coexist with or develop from the Group of Seven, among some Montreal artists internationalism was a conscious rejection of the Group's nationalism. The most articulate spokesman for this point of view was John Lyman. Having lived in France for almost eighteen years, he returned to Canada in 1931 to find Canadian art dominated by what he felt to be a self-conscious nationalism bordering on artistic xenophobia. Lyman especially identified with another expatriate Canadian, James Wilson Morrice, whom he had known in France and whom he considered Canada's finest artist. The nationalist legend of the Group placed Tom Thomson at the source of a 'Canadian' art and relegated Morrice to the rôle of a French artist for not having painted in Canada. 3 To this Lyman replied, 'The talk of the Canadian scene has gone sour. The real Canadian scene is in the consciousness of Canadian painters, whatever the object of their thought.' 4 To Jackson's concentration on landscape or the object he opposed the subjective vision of the artist expressed in plastic terms of design, colour, and structure. To the 'native school' of painting he opposed Cézanne, Matisse, Lurçat, and Derain. Through his writing and organizing efforts he sought to create a greater appreciation of the 'subjective' qualities of art and support newer Canadian artists working in this vein. Goodridge Roberts, Jori Smith, Marian Scott, Eric Goldberg, and Paul-Émile Borduas were all among the founding members of Montreal's Contemporary Arts Society whose aim was to foster 'contemporary trends in art,' 5 specifically, in John Lyman's eyes, those trends deriving from a European tradition.
For younger Canadian artists, the thirties were the decade of the British aestheticians Clive Bell and Roger Fry. 'Significant form' and 'pure art' replaced the 'Canadian' subject matter. James Wilson Morrice replaced Tom Thomson as their predecessor. New methods and attitudes brought new themes. Figure studies, nudes, still-lifes, industrial scenes, social comment, and abstraction slowly displaced the predominance of landscape.
Though opposed by some, these new directions found support among many Canadian critics. Donald Buchanan, author of the excellent biography of James Wilson Morrice, was especially sensitive to the aesthetic qualities of art. Writing in The Canadian Forum and university journals he offered some of the most intelligent observations on the contemporary scene in England, France, and the United States as well as in Canada. He was the first Canadian writer to discuss the work of David Milne and did much to bring him to public attention.
Graham McInnes, newly arrived from Australia via England, began writing for Saturday Night in 1935. 6 While a fervent champion of the Group of Seven, he came to criticize the predominance of landscape painting among the Group's followers to the exclusion of any consciousness of the contemporary scene. 7 He championed the newer figurative artists as well as the aesthetic studies of David Milne, and was the first Toronto critic to publicize the work of the newer Montreal artists, including Alexandre Bercovitch, Fritz Brandtner, Marian Scott, Jori Smith, Louis Muhlstock, and John Lyman.
Walter Abell, American-born and a Quaker, had spent several years at the Barnes Foundation in Pennsylvania before taking a teaching position at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, in 1928. 8 Familiar with contemporary art in France and the United States, he too championed those artists working in more international directions, especially Jack Humphrey in Saint John. He also was the sole Canadian critic to enter the realm of aesthetics. 9 He not only wrote about art but also was the prime mover in the formation of the Maritime Art Association and the publication of Maritime Art, Canada's first art magazine.
While Graham McInnes and Walter Abell wrote about the newer developments with insight and faith, they both favoured specific directions for Canadian art. McInnes's social sympathies made him especially interested in an art of social comment and at the same time prevented his appreciation of Abstraction. He wrote, 'More than anyone else, the cubists are responsible for the frantic rush of the younger artists of the twenties up a blind alley, and the divorce of art from the people.' 10 Abell also rejected abstraction, not on political grounds, but in the belief that 'visual elements reduced to an abstract state are limited in the range, the variety and the subtlety of the relations to which they can give rise . . . . Its aesthetic effect is limited to . . . the "decorative" level.' 11
Robert Ayre, a native Winnipegger, alternating between Montreal and Toronto during the thirties, wrote in The Canadian Forum, Saturday Night, and the Montreal Gazette. Less committed to any particular school of art than McInnes and Abell, he reported current developments in Canadian art with a judicious sense of balance and direction.
While the artists forged into new territory and were supported by intelligent writers and critics, the more practical problems of exhibiting and selling their works remained. The exhibition system was still dominated by artists' societies ranging from the progressive to the conservative. The Canadian Group of Painters, a national body, supported those artists creating a living art that would reaffirm the Canadian identity won by its parent group, the Group of Seven. Liberal in its jurying, supportive of progressive trends, it remained nonetheless in the control of Toronto artists and in its statements continued to express the Group's nationalist bias. Artists from the rest of Canada recognized its importance as an exhibiting group though they had little say in its direction or policies.
The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour rose to greater prominence during the thirties. At the time of its formation in 1926 it had a membership of twenty-four, mostly more conservative artists. 12 By 1940 the Society had grown to forty-three 13 and had become one of the leading exponents of progressive Canadian art. Watercolour was an attractive medium for many artists since it was more economic than oils. For various reasons there also was a shift away from the large salon canvas. Artists were less concerned with the production of an object for the homes of the wealthy or for exhibition purposes and more concerned with art as process, as the expression of a subjective vision that could be more rapidly laid down in watercolour than oil. The preferential status of oil over watercolour remained, nonetheless: as Lawren Harris wrote Carl Schaefer, 'Each medium has its own virtues but oils seem capable of a deeper, a profounder and a more exhaustive expression.' 14
Due to the more democratic nature of the medium, as well as for reasons of economy, artists also began seriously to explore and recognize the qualities of the graphic arts, especially drawing and lithography. The greater number and quality of such works brought about an increase in importance of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art.
While some societies prospered during the thirties, others declined in importance. After the conflict in 1932 between The National Gallery and senior Academicians, both the Royal Canadian Academy and the Ontario Society of Artists ceased to play any progressive rôle in Canadian art. The Ontario Society of Artists grew to be more and more dominated by commercial artists repeating in slick and superficial work the 'Canadian' themes of the Group of Seven. The Royal Canadian Academy, by its continual rejection of contemporary works and by its concentration on technique and 'tone' at the expense of expression, killed itself. However, the Academy's social importance remained great. Especially in Montreal it remained so strong that John Lyman made membership in the Academy cause of rejection for membership in the Contemporary Arts Society.
Apart from the societies' annual exhibitions, Toronto artists could exhibit at Hart House at the University of Toronto – a tradition originally begun by the Group of Seven to expose the students to contemporary art. The exhibitions were, however, closed to the public and sales were almost non-existent. Similarly the Women's Art Association organized regular exhibitions, being especially effective in sponsoring the work of women artists from across Canada.
Private galleries exhibiting contemporary Canadian art did slowly emerge in Toronto, though they were only to rival the societies in the forties. The Galleries of J. Merritt Malloney held infrequent exhibitions of some of the younger artists, though its artists were predominantly members of the Ontario Society of Artists and the Royal Canadian Academy. Mellors Galleries (which later became Laing Galleries) opened its doors to contemporary art with an exhibition of the work of David Milne sponsored by Vincent Massey. From Milne they moved into such 'blue-chip moderns' as J.E.H. MacDonald, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, and Lawren Harris.
Montreal artists had far fewer exhibition outlets than their Toronto counterparts. The annual Spring Exhibitions at the Art Association of Montreal and the appearance of the Royal Canadian Academy once every two years were the highlights of the season. The Academy consistently rejected works by younger Montreal artists, and the Spring Exhibition was a conservative mixture of amateur and professional work. For the graduates of the École des Beaux-Arts there were the annual exhibitions of the conservative Anciens des Beaux-Arts. Certainly Montreal artists could, and did, send works to the Toronto societies. Nevertheless, there remained a need for a strong Montreal-based organization under local control. The Eastern Group and the Contemporary Arts Society were both formed to meet that need.
Several important exhibitions took place at the Arts Club of Montreal during the thirties; however it was a private club rarely open to the public. More important were the commercial galleries such as W. Scott & Sons or Henry Morgan & Company. W. Scott & Sons handled the estate of James Wilson Morrice and sponsored a series of important exhibitions of nineteenth- and twentieth- century French art as well as solo exhibitions by members of the Group of Seven, David Milne, John Lyman, and members of the Eastern Group. Henry Morgan & Company through the influence of John Lyman, a cousin of Cleveland Morgan (of the store's executive and an active board member of the Art Association of Montreal), opened its galleries for several important exhibitions including the work of the staff of the Atelier, Fritz Brandtner's exhibition sponsored by The Canadian League Against War and Fascism, an exhibition of Soviet art in 1935, and the Contemporary Arts Society and Les Indépendants in 1941. The Montreal branch of the T. Eaton Company, for a short period, under Jeannette Meunier, André Biéler's wife, held annual exhibitions of works by Canadian artists.
Outside Canada's two major cities exhibiting opportunities were fewer. Vancouver artists exhibited with the B.C. Society of Fine Arts and in the annual exhibitions of British Columbian art held at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Many also sent works to the Annual Exhibition of North-West Artists in Seattle. The Maritime Art Association was also influential in organizing annual exhibitions of works by Maritime artists. There were, of course, local art societies in most towns and cities across Canada, usually dominated by amateur or academic artists.
While artists were able to bring their works to the attention of the public, purchases were rare. Sales from the spring exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists in 1929 totalled $923. Three years later there was not a single picture sold, and it was not until 1940 that more than two works were purchased from that annual exhibition. 15 Artists with established reputations saw their incomes drastically reduced during the Depression. Younger or unknown artists never had a chance to get off the ground. Carl Schaefer earned twelve dollars from the sale of his works in 1930 and absolutely nothing the following year. By 1934 his sales had improved to the figure of $145, hardly enough to support a family. 16 Jack Humphrey in 1937 was selling his watercolours for $5 and even at that, if it had not been for the continuous efforts of Walter Abell, he would have become totally destitute. 17 Even so, David Milne could comment wryly, 'Artists stand depressions quite well, depressions look so much like their regular brand of prosperity.' 18
Public galleries, some of which had previously been important purchasers of contemporary Canadian art, had their budgets slashed. The National Gallery of Canada's budget went from a high of $130,000 in 1929 to $25,000 in 1934. 19 From 1932 to 1936 only two contemporary Canadian paintings were purchased. 20 However, the Gallery's continued allegiance to the Group of Seven biased its purchases even after the annual grants increased. Works by members of the Group and their immediate followers in the Canadian Group of Painters were acquired to the exclusion of the newer Montreal artists.
The Art Gallery of Toronto, a private organization, was less severely limited by the Depression. Nevertheless, from 1931 to 1933 not one contemporary Canadian work was acquired. Later purchases leaned heavily to the Group of Seven and its followers, though after 1939 a series of group exhibitions by artists from across Canada were held from which liberal purchases were made. 21
The Art Association of Montreal, an extremely conservative private institution, began only modestly to buy contemporary art in 1939. The Musée de la Province de Québec was more generous in its sponsorship of local artists, purchasing works by Jean Palardy, Jori Smith, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, and Jean Paul Lemieux.
Private patronage of the visual arts, never great in Canada, was similarly limited during the thirties – confined to Ontario. Vincent Massey had been an important and early patron of the Group of Seven. He and Mrs Massey purchased works annually, and in at least one case, offered an artist financial assistance. 22 Massey's major purchase of five years' work by David Milne capped his career as a collector of Canadian art: after he left for England as Canadian High Commissioner in 1935 he virtually ceased to purchase Canadian art.
Charles S. Band, a native Torontonian, had collected paintings by members of the Hudson River School while living in New York. Returning to Canada and finding Canadians totally ignorant of the American works, he sold his collection and through Lawren Harris, a childhood friend, turned to Canadian art. From the mid-thirties he began to develop his Canadian collection, beginning with works by Emily Carr and Lawren Harris.
In Ottawa Harry Southam built up an important collection of French nineteenth- and twentieth-century art, including works by Courbet, Corot, Ingres, Van Gogh, Cézanne, and Matisse. From the mid-thirties he also began purchasing works by members of the Group of Seven as well as by Emily Carr, Prudence Heward, and Sarah Robertson.
The sole major collector to purchase works by the newer Toronto artists was J.S. McLean, then president of Canada Packers Limited. He too began by collecting works by the Group of Seven, advised by A.Y. Jackson. 23 Later, with the advice of Douglas Duncan and through his friendships with the artists, he turned to the work of Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark, and David Milne. As a member of The Art Gallery of Toronto's acquisition committee after 1939 he was influential in directing the purchases of works by newer Canadian artists. 24 He also was a generous contributor to the Kingston Conference in 1941. 25
Douglas Duncan cannot actually be defined as a collector. As he himself said, his collection was actually an 'accretion.' 26 However, his purchases of Canadian works from 1936 on offered crucial financial assistance and encouragement to many artists.
Without sales or bursaries, artists sought other sources of income. Many turned to teaching either at public schools or art colleges, or in children's art programmes. Among others, Arthur Lismer, Jack Humphrey, Fritz Brandtner, Paul-Émile Borduas, Anne Savage, and Jock Macdonald were all involved in the 'children's art crusade,' 27 as David Milne called it.
Artists not involved in teaching turned to commercial work, either setting up their own studios or working freelance. René Cera at the T. Eaton Company in Toronto employed quite a few artists in window display. In fact, of all the Toronto artists, A.Y. Jackson was the only one able to live off his painting. A bachelor, living frugally in the Studio Building, and with an established reputation assuring sales, he alone avoided the diversion of time and energy to other work.
Montreal artists were more severely hit by the Depression than Toronto artists. There was less commercial work available in Montreal and there were fewer teaching jobs. Alexandre Bercovitch had been evicted from his apartment and was about to have all his paintings confiscated by his landlord when Sidney Carter offered him an exhibition at his gallery. 28 Louis Muhlstock worked for his family's fruit-importing firm delivering goods to stores and keeping accounts. Rarely having enough money to buy canvas or decent drawing paper, he painted on washed potato sacks and drew on wrapping paper. 29
The Maritimes offered nothing in the way of commercial art or teaching for non-academic artists. Jack Humphrey did teach children and adults in his studio for a few years, but with little success. Miller Brittain worked at odd jobs all through the thirties. Sales were out of the question.
The most striking effects of the Depression occurred in British Columbia where the three leading artists all had physical breakdowns to a large extent attributable to their financial situation. Emily Carr, overworked and consistently having to make financial shortcuts, had a heart attack in 1937. (The sales of that year, however, enabled her to carry on.) Fred Varley and Jock Macdonald left the Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts when their salaries were cut by sixty per cent, as both had families to support. Their new school, the British Columbia College of Arts, went under after two years, just avoiding bankruptcy. Varley had severe personal and financial difficulties after that, and had to be assisted by The National Gallery in the spring of 1936 and brought east. Overworked and undernourished, Jock Macdonald had a physical breakdown in the spring of 1937. Many established artists suffered greatly, but one can only guess at the number of younger, less well-established artists who, unable to sell their work or earn a living, gave up art entirely for other careers.
In the face of such widespread economic and social dislocation, many artists felt the need to re-evaluate both their art and their relation to society. They felt isolated in their studios, cut off from a public that either ignored or misunderstood them, or purchased their works merely as luxury goods. They wanted to reintegrate themselves and their art into the moving forces of their age. 30 However, there was a wide divergence of opinions as to what rôle the arts should play in society, the attitude taken being partly dependent upon generation and partly on the financial situation of the individual. Quite a few of the artists in Montreal and Toronto came from wealthy or socially prominent families – a circumstance which to a certain degree cushioned the full impact of the Depression. More important than their own personal financial situation was their concept of art, to a large extent determined by their training in art.
Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, and Fred Varley had all gone to art school in Europe prior to the First World War in an environment still strongly influenced by Symbolist art theories, oriental religions, and Theosophy. For these artists, as well as for Emily Carr and Jock Macdonald (who inherited their concepts from the Group of Seven), art was synonymous with religion, the highest expression of a society; its rôle was to raise the spiritual awareness of the community. In a talk to the Theosophical Society in 1933, Lawren Harris outlined the preparations for war, the research into chemical warfare, the corruption of the orthodox churches; yet he saw this as a spiritual crisis, not a political or economic one. The solution to this crisis lay in Theosophy and its manifestation in art which would create 'a living spiritual identity of all mankind, true brotherhood, and the immortality of the soul.' 31
Arthur Lismer saw art as a social responsibility whose extension into all facets of life would combat ugliness and 'make man a socially minded, creatively alive and peaceful citizen of a larger community . . . .' 32 He wrote, 'Of the forces existent in the world today which can give to man self-knowledge and self-respect, the greatest is art.' 33
While these artists did believe in a spiritual, and, by extension, social rôle for art, there were others who totally denied it any non-aesthetic purpose. Like the artists who organized the Armory Show and the Society of Independent Artists in the United States, Bertram Brooker and David Milne saw art as an expression of personality and inner feeling, concerned with the formal expression of the individual's reaction to reality. Milne, especially, was a staunch individualist who consistently denied any extrinsic rôle for his art. 'The painter', wrote Milne, 'must get his when he paints. If anyone else gets anything out of the product that is no concern of the painter's or if he doesn't just the same.' 34
Bertram Brooker also denied that art had any 'useful' purpose or meaning beyond the artist's own individual aesthetic expression: 'Great art is essentially useless, in the practical sense. It appeals purely to the spirit.' 35 These concepts were initially stated by Brooker to counteract the influence of Victorian anecdotal art as well as public incomprehension of his own abstractions. However, by the mid-thirties the demand for a social purpose for art was coming from the Left and from younger artists.
Most of these artists had grown up or received their art training after the First World War. The disillusionment that followed that war had been accentuated by the economic and political crisis of the thirties. Many of them had studied at the Art Students League in New York where the influence of the Ash Can School and its Social Realist derivations was strong. Others had come from socialist backgrounds or became involved in left-wing politics in Canada. Certain of the newer critics, such as Graham McInnes and Walter Abell (both strongly influenced by developments in the United States), supported the younger artists in their questioning of the social rôle of artists and art.
The three sides of the issue were debated in a series of articles between Bertram Brooker, Elizabeth Wyn Wood, and Paraskeva Clark. In his essay 'Art and Society,' in Yearbook of the Arts in Canada (1936), Brooker again decried the 'demand for meaning or moral in a work of art' as well as 'propagandists art in the service of a cause.' He reaffirmed his belief that art's concern was solely with perfection and 'the holiness of beauty.' 36
Reviewing the Yearbook in The Canadian Forum, Frank Underhill, the Forum's editor, criticized this attitude, commenting, 'European artists have been compelled to rethink the whole question of the relation of the artist to society, and the finer spirits among them . . . are deciding one after another that in our troubled generation the artist must be red or dead.' 37
This review raised a blistering attack from the sculptor and Group associate Elizabeth Wyn Wood, who characterized Underbill's attitude as a 'mild epidemic of the Early Christian Martyr – Communist – Oxford Group fever which demands the consecration of all talent to the services of a readily recognizable cause . . . . What should we do instead? Paint castles in Spain – crumbling? Paint the Russian proletariat standing on the fallen Cossack, a modern Saint George and the Dragon? . . . Such things are not authentic stimuli to the Canadian Artist . . . . Let us [instead] camp for a while on our northern pre-Cambrian shield . . . [so that] we may offer [the refugees from a smouldering civilization] the spiritual sustenance of an art which grows on the bare rock and bare chests.' 38
To this, Paraskeva Clark cried, 'Come out from behind the Pre-Cambrian Shield,' denouncing Elizabeth Wyn Wood's 'exaltation of the individual [which blinds] an artist to the forces which approach to destroy that relative security in which he is permitted to exercise his individuality.' She affirmed that 'those who give their lives, their knowledge and their time to social struggle have the right to expect great help from the artist,' and finished with an impassioned plea that artists leave the unreality of the barren rocks and identify with the struggle of their fellow men. 39
Paraskeva Clark was not alone in her commitment. Many artists contributed cartoons and articles to socialist and Marxist periodicals. The Canadian Forum, mouthpiece for the League for Social Reconstruction and the c.c.f. (Commonwealth Cooperative Federation, forerunner of the New Democratic Party), included articles on Marxism and art and on Mexican and Soviet art. Drawings and cartoons were contributed by Gordon Webber, Pegi Nicol, Fritz Brandtner, and Louis Muhlstock. New Frontier, a Marxist publication, gave extensive coverage to the arts and was liberally illustrated with drawings and cartoons by Ernst Neumann, Laurence Hyde, Fritz Brandtner, Louis Muhlstock, and Harry Mayerovitch.
Through Dr Norman Bethune, an amateur artist and well known among Montreal artists, quite a few people became actively involved in the Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, the organization set up by Bethune to supply funds and volunteers for the Loyalist cause in Spain. 40 Artists designed posters and leaflets for the cause, and auctions of donated works were held in Toronto 41 and and Montreal 42 to raise money.
Other artists were actively involved in the League for Social Reconstruction and the c.c.f. and an exhibition of Soviet art 43 was brought to Montreal by a committee of artists and critics in the face of anti-Communist opposition. As Robert Ayre commented, Montreal survived the Bolshevik onslaught: 'the safety vaults under Saint James Street are still inviolate, and Mayor Houde sits in his aplomb like a chicken in aspic.' 44
The political situation was actually more severe in Montreal than Toronto. Duplessis' Padlock Law and Adrien Arcand's Nazi Party were real threats to liberty in Quebec in the thirties. Anti-semitism became manifest to the point where hotels in the Laurentian resort area displayed anti-semitic slogans. As a result Jewish artists were especially sensitive to the oppression and suffering about them. Harry Mayerovitch's lithographs were strongly influenced by the Mexican 'proletarian' artist Diego Rivera, and Louis Muhlstock's drawings expressed his concern for, and identification with, the unemployed and other victims of society.
In spite of the high degree of political activity among artists, surprisingly little overt political or social content appears in Canadian painting at this time. There was definitely a bias against 'propaganda' in art, and the primacy of landscape painting remained strong. Nonetheless both Paraskeva Clark and Louis Muhlstock produced works with reference to current political events in Spain and China. Surprisingly, even Bertram Brooker painted a dramatic work of an unemployed man entitled Derelict. 45 Edwin Holgate and Philip Surrey exhibited works in a social-comment vein which they later destroyed. 46 Jean Paul Lemieux depicted the plight of the farmers 47 and Fritz Brandtner's watercolours, stimulated by the work of George Grosz, expressed the horrors of chemical warfare and the misfortunes of the unemployed. 48 Miller Brittain's paintings depicted the life of the urban poor and labourers.
Other artists' social sympathies are reflected in their choice of subject matter – Louis Muhlstock's abandoned houses and slum streets, Marian Scott's workers, or André Biéler's rural families raised to the level of modern saints. Social or political comment was more common in the graphic arts as painting was an expensive medium for impoverished artists and there was no market for paintings in this vein. Marxist theory also militated against the production of objects for private consumption. Prints were more democratic as they could be more widely distributed and were less costly. Drawings reproduced in magazines also could reach a far wider audience.
In light of events in the United States, the lack of cooperative activity among artists to better their own situation is a bit surprising. While Canadians were aware of the w.p.a., there were no petitions to the Canadian government from artists' societies to initiate such programmes. The only contact with the government appears to have been a polite letter from Frances Loring on behalf of the Sculptors' Society of Canada to the Minister of Public Works, suggesting that all sculptural work on public buildings be done by Canadian artists. 49 The only notice of cooperative political activity directed toward the interests of artists appeared in an article in New Frontier announcing the formation of an artists' union; 50 however no painters appear to have been involved.
Geographical isolation hampered contacts between artists in Canada, hindering any effective organization on a large scale. At its peak, in New York City alone there were three thousand artists employed on the w.p.a. projects, 51 but it is doubtful there were that many artists in all of Canada. Moreover the whole w.p.a. programme had been initiated by the government and artists unionized after its formation when they were receiving wages for time and production. Canadian artists, with a government that had absolutely no interest in the arts, didn't even get that far. Moreover the leaders of most of the already existing art societies in Canada were economically secure and apolitical, and had no real identification with fellow artists.
One of the few successful cooperative ventures at this time was the Picture Loan Society in Toronto. Recognizing the difficulties younger artists were having in the exhibition and sale of their work, a group of artists and their friends initiated the project, modelling it on Picture Hire Limited in England. By this scheme artists would receive an income from the rental of their pictures (based on two per cent of the purchase value) and increase the possibility of eventual sales. 52 Douglas Duncan put up the initial capital, and together with Rick Kettle, Erma Lennox, Norah McCullough, Gordon MacNamara, Pegi Nicol, and Gordon Webber, found space and arranged for exhibitions. The new gallery opened on 14 November 1936 with a group show of pictures by younger artists. 53 During the first year three hundred works were rented, fourteen exhibitions held, and special exhibitions sent to towns outside Toronto. 54 For quite a few artists the opening of the Picture Loan marked the first upswing in their careers in seven years.
While there were no cooperative galleries in Montreal, a group of architects, artists, and their sympathizers organized the Seven Arts Club in February of 1940. 55 Its aims, as stated in the introductory leaflet were to:
(1) Promote understanding of the arts, always stressing their interdependence and their roots in human experience;
(2) Endeavour to bridge the existing gap between the artist and the public;
(3) Enquire into methods of widening appreciation . . . [and] of marketing and promoting more effective art education.
During its very short existence (a little over a year) the club sponsored talks on the rôle of the arts, modern theatre, and contemporary architecture, the latter by Serge Chermayeff of the Modern Architectural Research Group in England. As well, an auction of donated objects was held to raise money for Canadian Aid to Russia. 56
The most productive, long-range programme to try to bridge the gap between artists and society was initiated by André Biéler. In a talk he gave in 1937 to the Conference on Canadian – American Affairs he praised Mexican and American artists for their social consciousness and for making the public aware 'that the artist can, and should, function as a normally necessary member of national life.' 57
w.p.a. projects got more publicity in the spring of 1940 when studies for murals commissioned under the Administration toured Canada, 58 and Edward Rowan, Assistant to the Director of the Fine Arts Projects, lectured in Ottawa and Montreal. 59 Government sponsorship of public works of art interested many artists concerned about their rôle in the social issues of the day, especially now that Canada was at war.
Teaching at Banff in the summer of 1940, André Biéler was struck by the isolation of many Canadian artists. 60 Resolved to do something to bring artists together, and with the aid of Harry McCurry, Director of The National Gallery, he organized the Kingston Conference in June 1941, a conference attended by artists from across Canada. Out of that conference came the Federation of Canadian Artists, whose main task for several years was to define the rôle of artists in society. Ironically, a government that had done nothing for artists during ten years of economic crisis was able to support an artists' organization in the forties, primarily because it enhanced the war effort, a politically popular struggle.
While the Federation of Canadian Artists developed active organizations across Canada, most notably in Vancouver, the most dramatic development of the forties occurred in Montreal – independent of the Federation. The Contemporary Arts Society and the Automatistes, while dealing with some of the same issues, operated on a philosophy quite alien to the w.p.a.-like purpose of the Federation. The transfer of focus from Toronto to Montreal also entailed the decline of strength in the Toronto community.
The Canadian Group of Painters, from its outset, suffered from the strength of the Group of Seven. During the first three years of its existence, from 1933 to 1936, control remained in the hands of the senior artists who, for various reasons, no longer acted as a body. Though the Canadian Group's statements consistently reiterated its allegiance to the Group of Seven, the younger artists had in fact rejected its nationalistic formula but were unable to unite in the expression of one coherent ideology. Moreover, defections to the Royal Canadian Academy weakened its strength. The older group had consisted of a few people intimately involved with each other and united by a single faith in the creation of a national art. The Canadian Group was dispersed across Canada and contained such a diversity of interests that it could never act as a collective, creative force.
The Contemporary Arts Society was never as unified as the Group of Seven had been, though its leaders, specifically Lyman, Borduas, and Maurice Gagnon, shared a common goal during its early years. Opposition to the conservative academicism which predominated in Montreal added strength to the constructive struggle to foster contemporary art in line with international trends. The victorious return of Alfred Pellan and the creative activities of French émigrés in North America during the War acted as catalysts to artistic developments in Quebec which were to dominate Canadian art in the forties.
1. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 9 June ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
2. Lawren S. Harris, 'Different Idioms in Creative Art,' Canadian Comment, vol. II, no. 12 (December 1933), p. 6.
3. Frederick B. Housser, A Canadian Art Movement (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada, Limited, 1926), p. 21.
4. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (1 February 1938).
5. 'Contemporary Arts Society Constitution' ; private property.
6. For an autobiographical account of McInnes's career as an art critic during the thirties, see Graham C. McInnes, Finding a Father (London: Hamish Hamilton Ltd., 1967).
7. Graham C. McInnes, 'The World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. LII, no. 14 (6 February 1937), p. 6.
8. Conversation with Mrs Walter Abell, Ottawa, 12 June 1974.
9. Walter Abell, Representation and Form (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936).
10. Graham C. McInnes, 'The World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. xli, no. 52 (31 October 1936), p. 11.
11. Walter Abell, 'The Limits of Abstraction,' The American Magazine of Art, vol. XXVIII, no. 12 (December 1935), p. 738.
12. The Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1926), p. 43.
13. Catalogues. Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour. Annual Exhibition (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1939 and 1940).
14. Lawren S. Harris, Hanover (N.H.), to Carl Schaefer, Toronto 15 August 1936; property of Carl Schaefer, Toronto.
15. Ontario Society of Artists, Toronto, President's Annual Report(s), 1929 to 1940.
16. Carl Schaefer, Toronto, to Charles Hill, Ottawa, 18 December 1973; in The National Gallery of Canada.
17. Walter Abell, Wolfville, to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 5 January 1937; property of Mrs J. W. Humphrey, Saint John.
18. David Milne, Palgrave, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 7 January 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.
19. The National Gallery of Canada, Annual Report(s), 1929 and 1934.
20. Fred Varley's Self Portrait (1919) was purchased from the Group of Seven retrospective in 1936 to enable him to leave British Columbia. Mountain River (1932) by Homer Watson was purchased in 1934.
21. The Art Gallery of Toronto Bulletin and Annual Report( s), 1929 to 1941.
22. Vincent Massey gave Alexandre Bercovitch funds to enable him to visit the Gaspé to paint in return for a promised future work. Alexandre Bercovitch, Montreal, to Mrs Massey, Ottawa, 22 November 1935; in The National Gallery of Canada.
23. J.S. McLean, 'On the Pleasures of Collecting Paintings,' Canadian Art, vol. x, no. 1 (Autumn 1952), p. 4.
24. Ibid., p. 6.
25. A. Y. Jackson, 'Introduction,' Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of J.S. McLean (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1952).
26. Alan Jarvis, 'Douglas Duncan,' in Pierre Théberge, Gift from the Douglas M. Duncan Collection and the Milne-Duncan Bequest (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971), p. 26.
27. David Milne, Severn Park, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 February 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.
28. 'Eviction of Artist Brings Recognition,' Montreal Daily Herald (7 April 1933).29. Taped interview with Louis Muhlstock recorded at Montreal on 15 September 1973, by Charles Hill; in The National Gallery of Canada. All interviews will be referred to by the name of the person interviewed, the place, and the date. All recordings are by Charles Hill and are in The National Gallery of Canada.
30. Marian Scott, 'Science as an Inspiration to Art,' Canadian Art, vol. I, no. 1 (October – November 1943), p. 19.
31. Lawren S. Harris, 'Theosophy and the Modern World: War and Europe,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. XIV, no. 9 (15 November 1933), p. 286.
32. Arthur Lismer, 'Art and Child Development,' Canadian Comment, vol. IV, no. 3 (March 1935), p. 16.
33. Arthur Lismer, 'Art in a Changing World,' Canadian Comment, vol. IV, no. 2 (February 1935), p. 23.
34. David Milne, Big Moose (N.Y.), to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 13 November 1927; in the Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa.
35. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' The Ottawa Citizen (9 Decem- ber 1929).
36. Bertram Brooker, 'Art and Society,' Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1936 (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1936), pp. xiv, xxii, xxviii.
37. Frank Underhill, 'The Season's New Books: Yearbook of the Arts in Canada,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 191 (December 1936), p. 28.
38. Elizabeth Wyn Wood, 'Art and the Pre-Cambrian Shield,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 193 (February 1937), pp. 13, 14, 15.
39. Paraskeva Clarke [sic] (as told to G. Campbell McInnes), 'Come Out From Behind the Pre-Cambrian Shield,' New Frontier, vol. I, no. 2 (April 1937), pp. 16 – 17.
40. Roderick Stewart, Bethune (Toronto: New Press, 1973), p. 88.
41. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 20 February 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada.
42. Montreal The Gazette (15 March 1938) and Montreal The Gazette (10 December 1938).
43. Montreal, Henry Morgan &. Co., 15 May – 1 June 1935, The Art of Soviet Russia, under the Joint Auspices of the Pennsylvania Museum of Art and the American Russian Institute 1934 – 1935.
44. Robert Ayre, 'Soviet Art Comes to Canada,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xv, no. 177 (August 1935), p. 320.
45. Derelict (1939), Estate of M.A. Brooker.
46. Edwin Holgate, Unemployed, exhibited Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, December 1931, An Exhibition by the Group of Seven, no. 76; Philip Surrey, Idle Hands, exhibited Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, January 1940, The Eastern Group, [no. cat].
47. Jean Paul Lemieux, Le colon et sa famille (1938), exhibited Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, October 1941, Charles Goldhamer, Jean Paul Lemieux, Peter Haworth, Tom Wood, [no cat. no.].
48. Fritz Brandtner painted numerous watercolours in this vein. One series was entitled 'The Other Side of Life.'
49. Frances Loring, Toronto, to The Hon. Mr P.J.A. Cardin, Minister of Public Works, Ottawa, 20 November 1935; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
50. A.T. Vivash [President, Local 71, Artists Union, Toronto], 'Trade Unions for Artists,' New Frontier, vol. II, no. 1 (May 1937), pp. 22 – 23.
51. Audrey McMahon, 'A General View of the w.p.a. Federal Art Project in New York City and State,' in Francis V. O'Connor, ed., The New Deal Art Projects / An Anthology of Memoirs (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1972), p. 56.
52. Rick Kettle in Alan Jarvis, ed., Douglas Duncan: A Memorial Portrait (Buffalo, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), p. 50. The original prospectus is reproduced on pp. 52 – 53.
53. 'Artists Exhibit Many Pictures for Loan Plan,' The Toronto Telegram (14 November 1936).
54. Graham C. McInnes, 'The World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. LIII, no. 7 (18 December 1937), p. 12.
55. Robert Ayre, 'Seven Arts Alive to Relation of Arts to Society,' Montreal Standard (10 February 1940). The organizing committee consisted of Dr L. Hamilton Stilwell, Charles Rittenhouse, Harry Jacoby, Henry Eveleigh, Henry Finkel, Peter Dawson, and Hazen Sise.
56. The Seven Arts Club is on a 'Treasure Hunt'. Pamphlet, n.d.
57. André Biéler, 'National Aspects of Contemporary American and Canadian Painting,' Conference on Canadian American Affairs Held at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, June 14 – 18, 1937: Proceedings (Montreal: Ginn & Company, 1937), p. 136.
58. Exhibition of Mural Designs for Federal Buildings from The Section of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1940).
59. Robert Ayre, 'Art Project Here a War Casualty,' Montreal Standard (27 April 1940).
60. André Biéler, 'The Kingston Conference – Ten Years Afterwards,' Canadian Art, vol. VIII, no. 4 (Summer 1951), p. 150.
Canadian art of the twenties is dominated by the rise and growth of the Group of Seven. It is the story of a struggle to develop an art inspired by the Canadian landscape, of a brotherhood, united by the mystical number seven, working to open up the creative channels of Canadian art. By 1930 the Group of Seven was Canada's 'National School,' dominating the image of Canadian art abroad, either through shows the members organized themselves, 1 or through their inclusion as Canadian representation in international exhibitions. 2 Articles in foreign art journals 3 also confirmed the impression that the only living Canadian art was that of the Group of Seven and its followers.
Opposition had always played an important rôle in the Group's development; 4 however this opposition had temporarily lost credibility. The dangers of widespread acceptance soon became apparent, and were commented upon by Bertram Brooker, a close friend of the Group:
So long as the Group of Seven operated to release young Canadian painters from the stuffy ties of Victorian atmosphericism, and encouraged them to find new ways of seeing and expressing the Canadian scene as honestly as they could and as 'individually' as possible, their influence . . . can only be regarded as a healthy and helpful one. But already – although the Canadian public has by no means accepted the Seven – the influence of their work shows signs of hardening into a formula which a good many painters are adopting as being, so to speak, the 'fashionable' native school of painting. 5 Reviewing the Group's exhibition in 1930, 6 Brooker pinpointed some of the problems:
The present show at Toronto rings the deathknell of the Group of Seven as a unified and dominant influence in Canadian painting . . . . They have themselves ceased to experiment. Moreover, they are much less productive . . . . MacDonald and Varley have been too much engaged in teaching, and Lismer in educational work at the gallery [The Art Gallery of Toronto], to spare much time for painting. Casson and Carmichael have a roomful of watercolours – extremely capable things but not experimental – and no oils. Jackson and Harris, the only two of the Group who have much time for painting, are represented mostly by smaller paintings than usual, all landscapes, and of a type that one has learned to expect from them. The experimentation is over, the old aggressiveness has declined. 7
Generous sponsorship of younger artists accentuated the crisis the Group was undergoing. The exhibition of 1931 included eighty-five works by twenty-six invited contributors to the sixty-three works by the Group members. 8 Varley was not represented at all. The uneven quality of the newer work caused one observer to comment, 'If the Group intends to be a nursery for incompetent painters, then all right, but if they aim to raise the standard of painting in Canada and to increase the love and understanding of our country, then something different must be done.' 9
Finally, at a party at Lawren Harris's house after the opening of the exhibition of 1931, A.Y. Jackson announced, 'The interest in a freer form of art expression in Canada has become so general that we believe the time has arrived when the Group of Seven should expand, and the original members become the members of a larger group of artists, with no officials or constitution, but held together by common intention of doing original and sincere work.' 10 However, as Brooker noted. 'The announcement was very intangible. No name was suggested . . . .' 11
It appears, in fact, that the Group was at an impasse. The members were not willing to give up their control, partly, perhaps, for reasons of prestige but also recognizing that there were no other artists of their stature or ability in Toronto to take over. It also appears that there was disagreement as to how the Group should expand and who should be brought into a new organization. 12 Edwin Holgate had become a member in 1930, 13 expanding the Group's geographic range to Montreal; and in May 1932, to reach westward, LeMoine FitzGerald (from Winnipeg) was invited to join, 14 an invitation he accepted gladly. 15 He was told to prepare works for a Group exhibition for the following winter. 16 However, other events intervened.
Certain members of the Royal Canadian Academy had never accepted defeat after the Wembley exhibition conflict over the control of The National Gallery and Canadian representation in international exhibitions. 17 Criticisms of The National Gallery's rôle and, by consequence, of the Group of Seven, were voiced at the time of the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial Exhibition in 1926 18 and the Canadian exhibition in Paris in 1927. This latter attack included denunciations of Eric Brown, the Gallery's Director, to Government Ministers, 19 newspaper attacks and counter-attacks and petitions from artists in Montreal, Toronto, and Ottawa in support of Eric Brown. 20
In January 1932 Franz Johnston, ex-Group of Seven member, wrote to the Prime Minister, R.B. Bennett, complaining of discrimination in his representation in National Gallery exhibitions. 21 This was followed in March by a letter from Arthur Heming 22 who also brought in the issues of control of the Gallery by the Royal Canadian Academy, the composition of juries for international exhibitions, favouritism to the Group in Gallery purchases and annual exhibitions, and supposed gross errors in the purchase of 'Old Master' works. In the meantime, Academicians and their supporters were circulating a petition criticizing The National Gallery for 'extreme and flagrant' partisanship. 23 First rumours of the petition with sixty-five signatures 24 emerged in the press in May and June, 25 but the issue climaxed in December when one hundred and eighteen petitioners stated they were going to boycott all National Gallery exhibitions and demanded a government investigation. 26
While the Royal Canadian Academy never actually took an official stand on the issue, it was obvious that it was an attack directed by the senior Academicians. A.Y. Jackson felt he could no longer support the Academy and resigned, accusing the petitioners of trying to control other artists not in accord with them and trying to influence National Gallery purchases, which he felt would result in 'patronage and politics.' 27 The next three months saw Canadian papers full of articles and letters for and against The National Gallery. In the meantime, a Toronto group consisting of Frances Loring, Louise Comfort, and Elizabeth Wyn Wood circulated a counter-petition across Canada in support of Eric Brown; it was signed by two hundred and eighty-two artists and sent to the Gallery at the end of January. 28 The press debate died out by the spring, though meetings with government ministers and lawyers for the anti-Gallery petitioners continued until December 1934. 29 Eric Brown retained his directorship and the Academy attacks ceased. It was a decided victory for the Toronto artists; however there were casualties. Eric Brown had little to do with Canadian art after this debacle, and The National Gallery's annual exhibition of Canadian art was discontinued. Some of the artists' societies had been badly split. Lawren Harris resigned from the Ontario Society of Artists, 30 as did all the sculptor members. 31 It was against this background that the Canadian Group of Painters was formed.
A small Group of Seven exhibition was being organized for Hart House at the University of Toronto 32 when J.E.H. MacDonald died. 33 Ten days later news of the boycott hit the press and A.Y. Jackson resigned from the Academy. MacDonald's death affected the artists greatly, for with him died the Group of Seven. There was no going back. Circumstances had forced the Group to act. The threat of Academy control of The National Gallery would mean the younger, more progressive artists would be left out in the cold. Lawren Harris quickly wrote to FitzGerald: 'We feel it is essential to form a society of the so-called modern painters in the country, secure a charter and make ourselves felt as a country-wide influence in terms of the creative spirit. We propose to call the society "The Canadian Group of Painters." ' 34
Before publicly announcing the formation of the new organization, the Group of Seven, for the first time, issued a manifesto refuting the criticism the Group was receiving in the National Gallery controversy, and with the future Canadian Group in mind:
The group of seven has always believed in an art inspired by the country, and that the one way in which a people will find its own individual expression in art is for its artists to stand on their own feet, and by direct experience of the country itself . . . to produce works of its own time and place . . . . The group has always . . . maintained for themselves and others the right to freedom of expression, believing that only in diversity of outlook will there ever be a widespread interest in the arts of this country. While it believes that faction is a healthy sign, it has no quarrel with any individual artist, critic or society of artists. Its members are a group of serious workers imbued with a creative idea and seeking to practice it. 35
In late February, after the height of the controversy had passed, formation of the Canadian Group was announced. 36 The original Group of Seven never actually disbanded but was absorbed instead into the larger society whose twenty-eight members included most of the progressive English-speaking artists from across Canada. 37
With Lawren Harris as president and Fred Housser as secretary it was evident the new group would follow a nationalistic path, a direction not accepted by all the new members. Brooker wrote to FitzGerald:
I am a little afraid that a strong nationalistic bias, which always gets into the utterances of the old Group, either public or private, is going to continue very strongly in the new Group. Comfort and I were the only ones at the meeting who raised our voices in protest against this rather insular attitude. We both felt, for example, that the very name of the new Group – Canadian Group of Painters – puts undue emphasis on the word 'Canadian.' 38 However, the majority of the new members felt a great debt to the Group for supporting them and were honoured to be invited as members.
The first exhibition was being prepared for November 39 when the new group was invited to exhibit at the Heinz Art Salon in Atlantic City. 40 The Group of Seven had always put great stress on foreign exhibitions to project their particular image. It did not seem incongruous, apparently, that a new nationalistic Canadian group should have its first exhibition outside of Canada.
The Atlantic City exhibition 41 was limited solely to members of the Canadian Group of Painters – with two works by J.E.H. MacDonald 42 as a tribute to that deceased member of the Group of Seven. The foreword to the catalogue pointed out that 'Modernism in Canada has almost no relation to the modernism in Europe . . . in Canada, the main concerns have been with landscape moods and rhythms . . . . Their work is strongly redolent of the Canadian soil and has a distinctly national flavor.' Some reviewers appreciated this aspect of the art, 43 while others did not. The American critic Carlyle Burrows, for example, commented: 'In spite of the full-flavored quality of their work, the Canadians are seldom painters of robust and telling vitality. Too much seems dependent upon a decorative formula which is repeated rather obviously by most of the painters in the exhibition.' 44
The first exhibition to be held in Canada opened in November at The Art Gallery of Toronto. The scope of the Group's aims was expanded in the Foreword to the catalogue: 'Hitherto it has been a landscape art. . . but here and there figures and portraits have been slowly added to the subject matter, strengthening and occupying the background of landscape. Here also more modern ideas of technique and subject have been brought into the scope of Canadian painting . . . .' 45 Paintings by twenty-five invited contributors supplemented the works of the 'group of twenty-eight.' 46
The exhibition was met with some good-natured bantering (fig. 2). 47 Augustus Bridle, a leading Toronto journalist and early friend of the Group of Seven, pointed out, 'this is the third phase in Group psychology. The first, in 1919, was Whoopee. The second, about 1925, was Family Compact, with occasional associates. This is New Democracy.' 48 Robert Ayre made the most intelligent comments on the exhibition:
The Seven are not interested in imitators; it is the spirit they recognize, what they gave these new members was support and stimulus; the newer bearers of the revolutionary spirit have not had to fight alone against prejudice . . . . The canvases of the original members of the Group are not the most interesting part of the show. The younger men and women have brought a new energy and a new vision. Not only are we moving toward human life, away from landscape . . . but in growing up we are beginning to show the effects of the profound disturbances in human affairs which have shaken the world . . . . 49 Another exhibition was not to be held until 1936.
The early history of the Canadian Group is dominated by the figures of Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, and Lawren Harris. Lismer left the Ontario College of Art in 1927 and became supervisor of art education at The Art Gallery of Toronto, 50 a job that took up an increasing amount of his time. Yet during the early years of the decade his painting continued at a steady pace, mostly resulting from holiday sketching trips or reworkings of earlier sketches. Baie Saint-Paul, Quebec (1931, cat. no. 1) was painted from a sketch done on a trip to the north shore of the Saint Lawrence in 1925. The earlier version, Quebec Uplands in The National Gallery, 51 is more reticent and controlled than the exuberant, later work, with its billowing clouds, rolling rhythms, and summer colours.
More characteristic of Lismer's work of the thirties are the wind-blown, Georgian Bay pines. In Pine Wrack (1933, cat. no. 2) the cubist-derived, planar structure of the rocks and the light shaft contrasts with the more impressionist treatment of the clouds, yet is united to it by the complex design of the twisted pines. A more successful integration of the elements is found in Bright Morning (1935, cat. no. 3) where the jungle-like growth covering the rocks is the primary focus, and the larger pines become subordinate elements marking the rhythm across the canvas. Lismer's work between the mid-twenties and the forties shows an increasing interest in complex structure and design. It develops logically and surely from panoramic landscapes to dramatic silhouettes, from tangled growth to still-life studies of dock-litter in the early forties.
Yet as Lismer became more involved in education he had – as Brooker had noted – less time to paint. He taught all winter at The Art Gallery of Toronto and in 1933 organized the Children's Art Centre. 52 At the same time he was writing two monthly art columns (in Twentieth Century and Canadian Comment) in which he affirmed his continuing belief in human creativity and in the necessity of art in all facets of life. 53 Familiar with world progressive educationalists and a leader in his own field, Arthur Lismer attended the New Educational Fellowship Conference in South Africa in 1934. 54 This visit resulted in an invitaton to return there to set up children's art programmes. By this time Lismer was fed up with battling Gallery administrators who weren't interested in his work 55 and was willing to leave. Financed by the Carnegie Corporation Lismer left Canada in May 1936, 56 spent a year in South Africa, and returned via Australia and New Zealand. 57
The South African stay resulted in certain changes in Lismer's work. For the first time he started painting seriously in watercolour. 58 While his first efforts were fairly hesitant, at times they reached a marvellously expressive quality verging on caricature. 59 In oils he was painting figures and scenes of African village life which, however, lack the dramatic strength of his Canadian works.
On his return to Canada he spent one more year at The Art Gallery of Toronto; but when Carnegie funds were cut off and no support was forthcoming in Toronto for his many years of educational work, he left for New York. He taught one year at Teachers' College, Columbia University at the same time laying plans for a national children's art centre which brought him to Ottawa in the fall of 1939. However, Eric Brown, with whom he had organized the art centre, had died in April 60 and the War cut off all funding. After a year of frustration in Ottawa, Lismer was happy to take up the educational programme at the Art Association of Montreal in January 1941. 61
Of all the members of the Group, A. Y. Jackson typifies their popular image: robust, adventurous, a man of the soil, and a democrat. Lawren Harris was more aristocratic and intellectual, and his painting more austere and difficult of access. Arthur Lismer turned to education, and painting became secondary to his work in that field. But A.Y. remained a painter full time, making annual trips to different parts of Canada, returning each time with his quota of sketches to be painted up into canvases. His imagery remained constant and his logical stylistic developments placed little demand upon his public. The cry for an 'art of the soil' that had been a heresy fifteen years earlier had now become orthodoxy. This very consistency and reliability were both his strength and limitation.
Jackson's favorite sketching grounds remained the shores of the lower Saint Lawrence with their rolling hills, sagging barns nestling on the crest of a hillock, and curving, furrowed fields. Making annual visits, alternately to the north and south shores, he made this country his own.
The sketch for A Quebec Farm (1930, cat. no. 4) was probably painted around St.-Hilarion in the spring of 1930, 62 as was the sketch for Winter, Charlevoix County (c. 1933, cat. no. 5) two years later. 63 The lush spring earth of the earlier work contrasts with his usual predilection for the snowy expanses of late winter, just before the approach of spring. In both works he paints the landscape in rolling, linear rhythms. The meandering road, or furrows, leading from the foreground to a central motif and closed off by the hills behind is a compositional device derived from the Quebec works of James Wilson Morrice and seen in Jackson's paintings from the early twenties. 64 Winter, Charlevoix County is actually a reworking of Grey Day, Laurentians (fig. 3) painted about 1930 and now in The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, where the broader treatment gives it a more 'Christmas card' appearance. In the later work, the more detailed rendering, complex patterns and sparkling colour create a sensuous yet solid effect.
The same impressionist colouring in pinks, yellows, and blues appears in Iceberg (1930, cat. no. 6) painted from a sketch 65 made on his trip to the Arctic with Lawren Harris in 1930. 66 Unlike Harris, Jackson was interested in the summer shores where the brown earth contrasts with the ice floes and the rocks and Inuit tents are set against the barren hill, or in panoramic views of the rolling Labrador mountains. Even in such a work as Iceberg the Inuit families contrast with the immensity of the ice. Instead of accentuating the austerity of the icebergs, as Harris did, Jackson glories in the shimmering colours and anecdotal detail. For Jackson, the forces of nature are a stimulating and demanding adversary but never overwhelming. They are reduced to the human level.
It was the changing seasons that attracted A.Y., not the bright green of summer, nor the blank whiteness of winter, but the flow of winter to spring or the blaring up of summer into autumn. In Algoma, November (1935, cat. no. 7) the rich oranges and blacks are highlighted by the white of the first winter snows. A dramatic burst of sunshine rises above the heavy, snow-filled clouds broadly painted in dynamic rhythms. How very different from the panoramic Algoma views of the early twenties.
In the summer of 1936, A.Y. joined his niece, Naomi Jackson, and the Lismers on a trip to Europe – visiting France for a reunion of his First World War battalion, then going on to Belgium, Germany, and England. 67 He found the political climate in Europe unpleasant and was reaffirmed in his belief that modern French art was highly overrated. 68 Jackson had for several years been fighting a rearguard battle against what he felt to be a 'diluted internationalism' and the influence of contemporary French art. In the United States, in the late twenties, American nationalists and such regionalist artists as Thomas Benton had reacted strongly against what they felt to be the swamping of the American art market by French art and art dealers and the lack of support for American artists. While A.Y. could comment ironically on the lack of 'menace' offered by modern French art to a Canadian public ignorant of contemporary developments, 69 at the same time he disapproved of anti-nationalist sentiments among the younger Toronto artists:
. . . there has been a lot of persistent effort to establish painting which has no reflection of the Canadian background. The international outlook is the thing and from that standpoint it is of very little importance. There has at the same time been an effort to belittle the Canadian movement by people who have no feeling for the country and it has resulted in a kind of sneer when the north country is mentioned. With all the young people here there is no longer any desire to go north. They do still life and back yards and when you try to arrange an international show it is almost impossible to find a dozen canvases of any distinction. 70
The late thirties were a difficult time for A.Y. Jackson. His constant repetition of the need for an art created by artists with their feet in the soil was being ignored and even fought. Of the original Group of Seven, he and Carmichael were the only two left in Toronto. J.E.H. MacDonald had died, Varley was alternating between Ottawa and Vancouver, Lismer was in South Africa and New York, and Lawren Harris was in the States. At the same time Jackson recognized he was repeating himself. He tried to break out of the lethargy he felt in Toronto by exploring new areas of Canada but even when he went to the prairies in 1937 71 the same formula emerged. In Blood Indian Reserve, Alberta (1937, cat. no. 8), the fields might be flatter and the road straighter, but it remains the same composition derived from Morrice.
In 1938 for the first time A.Y. didn't visit Quebec in the spring. He wrote Sarah Robertson, 'It seems funny to be in town at this season. I have not missed going to Quebec since 1925 the year I taught in the art school but it had become almost too much of a habit and I want to leave the snow alone for awhile.' 72
That autumn A.Y. went north again to visit the radium mines being developed by a friend, Gilbert Labine. 73 The barren lands, the ruggedness, and the solitude of the north were genuine stimulants for A.Y. Just as in his previous trip to Great Slave Lake in 1928, in Northern Landscape (1939, cat. no. 9) he turned to the silhouettes of the twisting stunted pines whose blazing colour, severity, and almost Expressionist crudeness best characterize Wyndham Lewis's view of A.Y.: 'His vision is as austere as his subject matter, which is precisely the hard puritanic land, in which he always has lived: with no frills, with all its dismal solitary grandeur and bleak beauty, its bad side deliberately selected rather than its chilly relentings . . . . There is something of Ahab in him; the long white contours of the Laurentian Mountains in mid-winter are his elusive leviathan.' 74
While Lismer was the educator, Jackson the organizer, Lawren Harris was the enthusiast, the visionary. Even though the Group of Seven never had an official structure, Harris had often been seen as its leader, stimulating the artists into new ventures, the erection of the Studio Building, the formation of the Group of Seven and its expansion into the Canadian Group of Painters.
Like others connected with the Group of Seven, Lawren Harris was a keen student of theosophy, 75 and it was through these studies that he evolved his concepts of art and nationalism. He saw art as an initiator, 'a clarifying and objectifying process' 76 through which one could arrive at an individual experience of 'the essential order, the dynamic harmony [and] the ultimate beauty' 77 of all existence. To varying degrees art reflected this universal spirit, yet at the same time was defined by 'its own particular attitude which depends upon the interplay of its time, its place on earth and its capacity' 78 – that is, the temporal, the national, and the personal. The artist could achieve an expression of universal harmony only through concentration on these particulars.
Theosophy also taught that America was to be the principal scene of the next phase of mankind's evolution. 79 'Europe [had] dehumanized Art by making it a thing apart from Life . . . [had] debased Religion by professionalizing it and . . . [had] perverted the idea of National Consciousness by making it stand for Political Consciousness.' 80 America was the land of optimism, faith, and spiritual growth; and the Rocky Mountains, the 'sacred and occult centres of the earth,' 81 and the North, were its spiritual centres. Harris wrote, 'We are on the fringe of the great North and its living whiteness, its loneliness and replenishment, its resignations and release, its call and answer, its cleansing rhythms. It seems that the top of the continent is a source of spiritual flow that will ever shed clarity into the growing race of America.' 82
The necessity of the creative attitude which stressed the clarifying rôle of the arts and the rôle of the northern half of the American continent in the spiritual evolution of mankind formed the basis of Lawren Harris's art. For A.Y. Jackson, exploration was seen in terms of human adventure and geography, and more concrete national identity. But for Harris it was also a spiritual journey.
On the Arctic trip with A.Y. Jackson he was struck by the loneliness of the north, its silence, and its massive forms. Continuing the direction of the later mountain canvases, his arctic works progress from a more descriptive rendering to a generalized and symbolic representation. Icebergs, Davis Strait (1930, cat. no. 10), while monumental in size, appears less awesome due to the shimmering water and naturalistic sky. In Grounded Icebergs (c. 1931, cat. no. 11), the eerie, trapped stillness of the arctic night is magnificently portrayed while in Icebergs and Mountains, Greenland (c. 1932, cat. no. 12) the geometricization of the elements is carried to its extreme. The enclosed forms of the clouds reappear in his later abstractions. The blues and yellows of his arctic works, dramatically differentiated into light and shadow reflect the spiritual polarities of theosophic teachings.
While the northern voyage resulted in an impressive output of large canvases soon after his return, it soon came to a halt and for the next three years Lawren Harris painted little. Brooker commented, 'Lawren has done no painting for six months and very little for over a year. All of his things – mostly of the Arctic, I had seen at his studio often. The general impression, freely voiced seems to be that he is repeating himself and has got to the end of a phase, at least.' 83 The formation of the Canadian Group preoccupied him for a while. He would, as well, bring out old canvases and rework parts of them, 84 but, more important, it appears he was concentrating more and more on his theosophic studies, 85 recognizing he was about to make certain crucial, personal decisions. The direction of his life and studies was separating him from his wife. Finally in the summer of 1934 Lawren Harris and Bess Housser (the wife of another associate of the Group), who shared his theosophic interests, obtained divorces and were married. 86 Fred Housser married Yvonne McKague a year later; 87 however, the divorces created a great conflict of loyalties among certain intimate friends, and the Harrises felt it necessary to leave Toronto, moving to Hanover, New Hampshire. 88 The break from Toronto gave Harris the freedom to set off on his own path.
While the members of the Group of Seven dispersed, they guaranteed, through the Toronto Art Students' League and the Canadian Group of Painters, that a younger generation of followers would continue the Group tradition. Started in the fall of 1926 as an informal discussion and sketching group, the Art Students' League was formally organized in 1927 by a group of dissident students from the Ontario College of Art. 89 Stressing individual work, and outdoor sketching, they also visited artists' studios and received criticisms from Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Lawren Harris.
One of the artists associated with the League was Yvonne McKague. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art, she studied in the Paris academies and returned to Toronto to assist Arthur Lismer and Fred Varley at the College. Through Lismer she became interested in the teaching of the progressive educationalist Franz Cizek and spent a summer at the University of Vienna. 90
Following the example of the Group, Yvonne McKague sketched in the Rocky Mountains and Quebec, however her favorite region remained the barren mining country of northern Ontario. The town of Cobalt had passed its peak by the early thirties, most of the mines abandoned and the houses in disrepair. In McKague's painting Cobalt (1931, cat. no. 13) the mining shafts accentuate the verticality of the houses as they lean this way and that. 91 The houses, the figures along the road, and the fence leading in at the left are all reminiscent of Lawren Harris's town paintings; yet the restrained, mat colouring is very much her own. Most of the Group's followers in Toronto were never able to develop beyond superficial copying; however Yvonne McKague, absorbed in the atmosphere of the Group as intimately as she was, could create works which were directly in the Group tradition and at the same time strong and individual expressions of the Canadian landscape.
1. Buffalo, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 14 September – 14 October 1928, Exhibition of Paintings by Canadian Artists; New York, International Art Center of Roerich Museum, 5 March – 5 April 1932, Exhibition of Paintings by Contemporary Canadian Artists.
2. Paris, Musée du Jeu de Paume, 11 April – 11 May 1927, Exposition d'art canadien. An Exhibition of Paintings by Contemporary Canadian Artists under the Auspices of the American Federation of Arts; This exhibition toured opening at the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C., 9 – 30 March 1930. Its organizer, Eugene Savage, was an uncle of Anne Savage. Baltimore, Baltimore Museum of Art, 15 January – 28 February 1931, First Baltimore Pan American Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings. College Art Association, International 1933, a touring exhibition which opened at the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester (Mass.), January 1933.
3. 'Canadian Art Foundations of a National School,' Apollo, vol. 14 (December 1931), pp. 326 – 327; Blodwen Davies, 'The Canadian Group of Seven,' The American Magazine of Art, vol. xxv, no. 1 (July 1932), pp. 13 – 22; Eric Brown, 'Canada's National Painters,' The Studio, vol. CIII (June 1932), pp. 311 – 323; Stewart Dick, 'Canadian Landscape of Today,' Apollo, vol. 15 (June 1932), pp. 279 – 282; 'Moderne Malerei in Kanada,' Die Kunst für Alle, vol. 48, no. 11 (August 1933), pp. 343 – 347.
4. 'This opposition is as natural as the native movement, and is incited into activity by the movement itself. It is part of a clarifying and stimulating process whereby any art movement is helped in its direction and evolution.' Lawren S. Harris, 'Different Idioms in Creative Art, ' Canadian Comment, vol. II, no. 12 (December 1933), p. 5.
5. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (29 December 1928).
6. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, April 1930, An Exhibition of the Group of Seven.
7. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (19 April 1930).
8. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, December 1931, An Exhibition By the Group of Seven. The sixty-three works included twelve sketches by J.E.H. MacDonald.
9. T.M. [Thoreau MacDonald?], 'Decline of the Group of Seven,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xii, no. 136 (January 1932), p. 144.
10. Jehanne Biétry Salinger, 'Group of Seven Begins Expansion,' Toronto Mail and Empire (7 December 1931).
11. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 10 January 1932; private property.
12. 'The Group of Seven retains directing control – definitely invites cooperation with those painters who have been associated with them in various exhibitions.' Arthur Lismer, 'The Canadian Theme in Painting,' Canadian Comment, vol. I, no. 2 (February 1932), p. 25.
13. An Exhibition of the Group of Seven (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1930), p. 3.
14. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 24 May 1932; private property.
15. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 2 June 1932; in The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg.
16. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 24 May 1932; private property.
17. For an account of the Wembley conflict see Maude Brown, Breaking Barriers (Ottawa: Society for Art Publications, 1964), pp. 69 – 75; Peter Mellen, The Group of Seven (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1970), pp. 104 – 105; and Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1970), pp. 170 – 173.
18. 'Painters Demand the Head of Art Dictator of Canada,' Toronto Daily Star (20 November 1926); 'Criticism of Art Director Is Effectively Disposed Of, ' Toronto Daily Star (1 December 1926).
19. John Hammond, R.C.A. and Ernest Fosbery, R.C.A., Ottawa, to Hon. J.C. Elliott, m.p., Minister of Public Works, Ottawa, 7 March 1927; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
20. Letters from eight Montreal artists to Dr Shepherd, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, The National Gal lery of Canada, 7 March 1927; from fifteen Toronto artists and laymen, 23 March 1927; from ten Ottawa artists, 31 March 1927; all in The National Gallery of Canada.
21. Franz Johnston, A.R.C.A., O.S.A., Toronto, to Right Hon. R.B. Bennett, Ottawa, 25 January 1932; copy in The National Gallery of Canada. The letter begins, 'For generations my family has supported the Conservative party . . . . '
22. Arthur Heming, Toronto, to Right Hon. R.B. Bennett, Ottawa, 1 March 1932; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
23. This document may have been circulating as early as spring 1931 as Louis Muhlstock signed the petition in Paris as a favour to his former teacher Edmond Dyonnet. Muhlstock returned from Paris in the summer of 1931. (Interview with Louis Muhlstock, Montreal, 15 September 1973.)
24. T.W. Mitchell, Toronto, to Right Hon. R.B. Bennett, Ottawa, 27 April 1932; copy in The National Gallery of Canada. Signatories included Wyly Grier, President of the Royal Canadian Academy, George Reid, Franz Johnston, Homer Watson, Horatio Walker, Maurice Cullen, Robert Pilot, and Edmond Dyonnet.
25. 'National Art Show Abuses Protested,' Vancouver Sun (31 May 1932); 'Rumored Criticism of National Gallery,' Ottawa The Citizen (22 June 1932).
26. 'Artists Boycott National Gallery Until Radical Reform Takes Place,' The Ottawa Journal (8 December 1932).
27. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to Edmond Dyonnet, Secretary, Royal Canadian Academy, Montreal (14 December 1932); copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
28. Telegram from H.S. Southam, Chairman, Board of Trustees, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, to Emmanuel Hahn, Toronto, 27 January 1933, thanking him for the list of signatures. This document of support is in The National Gallery of Canada.
29. H.S. Southam, Ottawa, to Sir George Perley, Ottawa, 31 December 1934; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
30. Monthly Meeting of the Ontario Society of Artists (7 March 1933). 'Ontario Society of Artists Minutes'; in the Ontario Archives, Toronto.
31. E.W. Wood, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Assistant Director of The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, 20 February 1933; in The National Gallery of Canada.
32. Lawren S. Harris, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 28 November 1932; private property. This exhibition did take place. See Frank Brien, Secretary Hart House Sketch Committee, Toronto, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 6 February 1933; in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
33. 'J.E.H. MacDonald, Art College Head, Dies After Illness,' Toronto Globe (28 November 1932).
34. Lawren S. Harris, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 1 January 1933; private property.
35. Statement by the Group of Seven. Mimeographed sheet. This was published in its entirety in 'Group of Seven Issues Statement Defending Aims,' Montreal Gazette (31 January 1933).
36. 'Canadian Artists Form New Group,' Montreal Gazette (21 Feb- ruary 1933). The Canadian Group of Painters was not incorporated until 1936. (Canada Gazette, 4 April 1936, p. 2397.) The incorporating members were A.Y. Jackson, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, Frank Carmichael, A.J. Casson, Fred Varley, Edwin Holgate, and L.L. FitzGerald – all members of the Group of Seven.
37. The original members of the Canadian Group of Painters were Bertram Brooker, Frank Carmichael, Emily Carr, A.J. Casson, Charles Comfort, L.L. FitzGerald, Lawren S. Harris, Prudence Heward, Randolph Hewton, Edwin Holgate, Bess Housser, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, Thoreau MacDonald, J.W.G. Macdonald, Yvonne McKague, Isabel McLaughlin, Mabel May, Lilias T. Newton, Will Ogilvie, George Pepper, Sarah Robertson, Albert Robinson, Anne Savage, Charles Scott, Fred Varley, W.P. Weston, and W.J. Wood.
38. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 20 March 1933; private property.
39. Lawren S. Harris, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 18 March 1933; private property.
40. Bertram Brooker's employer, J.J. Gibbons Ltd., had the Heinz advertising account (Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 10 January 1932; private property), and it was through this connection that the Canadian Group of Painters was invited to exhibit at Atlantic City. (Confirmed in interview with Charles Comfort, Hull [Quebec], 3 October 1973.)
41. Atlantic City, Heinz Ocean Pier, Heinz Art Salon, Annual Art Exhibition, [Summer 1933], Paintings by the Canadian Group of Painters.
42. The foreword to the catalogue mentions twenty-nine members, apparently including J.E.H. MacDonald as a member.
43. Philadelphia Record and Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph quoted in Frank Bagnall, 'Canadian Artists' Show,' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii, no. 50 (21 October 1933), p. 16.
44. Carlyle Burrows, 'Canadian Art at Atlantic City,' New York Herald Tribune (4 June 1933), quoted in 'Painting and Pickles,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XIII, no. 154 (July 1933), p. 366.
45. Catalogue of an Exhibition by Canadian Group of Painters (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1933), Foreword.
46. J.W.G. Macdonald was the only member who had no works in this exhibition.
47. 'The Artist Draws His Impressions of Expressionist Art,' The Toronto Telegram (25 November 1933).
48. Augustus Bridle, 'New Democracy Seen In Latest Paintings,' Toronto Daily Star (3 November 1933).
49. Robert Ayre, 'Canadian Group of Painters,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XIV, no. 159 (December 1933), pp. 98 – 99.
50. John A.B. McLeish, September Gale (Toronto, Vancouver: J.M. Dent & Sons [Canada] Limited, 1955), p. 120.
51. Reproduced in Robert H. Hubbard, ed., The National Gallery of Canada. Catalogue. Paintings and Sculpture. Volume III: Canadian School (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960), p. 178.
52. Arthur Lismer, 'The Children's Art Centre,' Canadian Comment, vol. v, no. 7 (July 1936), pp. 28 – 29.
53. For partial listings of these articles see Dennis Reid, A Bibliography of the Group of Seven (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971), pp. 32 – 34.
54. Arthur Lismer, 'South African Impressions,' Canadian Comment, vol III, no. 10 (October 1934), pp. 15 – 16. Lismer had attended a previous Fellowship Conference in Nice in 1932. See A. Lismer, 'The World of Art, The Artist Abroad,' Canadian Comment, vol. I, no. 9 (September 1932), pp. 25 – 26; vol. I, no. 10 (October 1932), p. 24.
55. Arthur Lismer, McGregor Bay, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, [summer 1935]; in The National Gallery of Canada.
56. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 26 May 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
57. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 16 October 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
58. Arthur Lismer, Johannesburg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 21 October 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
59. Especially in The Three Graces (1938, watercolour on paper; 14 x 21-1/2 in., 35.6 x 54.6 cm). Present whereabouts unknown. Reproduced in Graham C. McInnes, 'Canadians versus Americans,' Saturday Night, vol. lv, no. 15 (10 February 1940), p. 9.
60. 'Canadian Art Loses Leader, Gallery Head,' Toronto Telegram (6 April 1939).
61. Art Association of Montreal, Seventy-Ninth Annual Report 1940, p. 9.
62. A.Y. Jackson, St.-Joachim, to Thoreau MacDonald, [Toronto?], 20 March ; in The McCord Museum, McGill University.
63. A.Y. Jackson, St.-Hilarion, to Thoreau MacDonald, [Toronto?], [25 April 1932]; in The McCord Museum, McGill University.
64. One of the earlier examples of this composition in Jackson's work is Winter Road, Quebec (1921, oil on canvas; 21 x 25 in., 53.3 x 63.5 cm) in the collection of Mrs Charles S. Band, Toronto. Reproduced in Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven, p. 175.
65. The sketch is in The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg. See Paul Duval, A Vision of Canada (Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1973), p. 157 repr.
66. For an account of this voyage see A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country: The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Company Limited, 1967), pp. 105 – 113, and Lawren S. Harris, 'The Group of Seven in Canadian History,' The Canadian Historical Association: Report of the Annual Meeting held at Victoria and Vancouver June 16 – 19, 1948 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1948), p. 36.
67. Conversation with Naomi Jackson Groves, Ottawa, 21 January 1974. See also A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, pp. 121 – 122.
68. A.Y. Jackson, Paris, to Sarah Robertson, Montreal, 10 June ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
69. A.Y. Jackson, 'Modern Art No "Menace," ' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii, no. 6 (17 December 1932), p. 3.
70. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 9 June ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
71. A.Y. Jackson, Spring Coullee, Alberta, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 11 October 1937; in The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg. See also A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, pp. 123 – 125.
72. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to Sarah Robertson, Montreal, 31 March 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
73. A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country, p. 126.
74. Wyndham Lewis, 'Canadian Nature and Its Painters,' The Listener (29 August 1946), reprinted in Walter Michael and C.J. Fox, eds, Wyndham Lewis on Art. Collected Writings 1913 – 1956 (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1969), p. 429.
75. It was probably Roy Mitchell, member of the Arts and Letters Club and of the Toronto Theosophical Society and later stage designer for the Hart House Theatre, who originally introduced Lawren Harris to theosophy during the First World War. See William Hart, 'Theory and Practice of Abstract Art,' in Lawren Harris Retrospective Exhibition, 1963 (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1963), p. 32.
76. Lawren S. Harris, 'Revelation of Art in Canada,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VIII, no 5 (15 July 1926), p. 86.
77. Lawren S. Harris, 'Theosophy and Art,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. XIV, no. 5 (15 July 1933), p. 129.
78. Lawren S. Harris, 'Creative Art and Canada,' Supplement to the McGill News (December 1928), p. 2. Reprinted in Bertram Brooker, ed., Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1928 – 1929 (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1929), pp. 179 – 186.
79. Fred Housser, 'Theosophy and America,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. x, no. 5 (15 July 1929), p. 130.
80. Fred Housser, 'Some Thoughts on National Consciousness,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VIII, no. 5 (15 July 1927), p. 81.
8l. Ibid., p. 82.
82. Lawren S. Harris, 'Revelation of Art in Canada,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VII, no. 5 (15 July 1926), pp. 85 – 86.
83. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 10 January 1932; private property.
84. Interview with Yvonne McKague Housser, Toronto, 18 October 1973. Harris continued to rework canvases throughout his life. See Lawren S. Harris, Vancouver, to Martin Baldwin, Toronto, 3 February 1948; in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
85. A series of speeches and articles were published in The Canadian Theosophist and other publications. In addition to those in Dennis Reid, A Bibliography of the Group of Seven, p. 17, there were also Lawren S. Harris, 'Science and the Soul,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. XII, no. 10 (15 December 1931), pp. 298 – 300; and Lawren S. Harris, 'Different Idioms in Creative Art,' Canadian Comment, vol. II, no. 12 (December 1933), pp. 5 – 6, 32.
86. Frances Loring, Toronto, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, [July 1934]; in The National Gallery of Canada.
87. Fred Housser married Yvonne McKague on 28 June 1935 and died on 28 December 1936. See 'F.B. Housser Dies Suddenly,' Toronto Daily Star (28 December 1936).
88. Bess Harris, Hanover (N.H.), to Doris Mills, [Toronto?], 14 November ; property of Doris Spiers. Lawren Harris's uncle, with whom he had stayed in Berlin in 1904, was head of the German Department at Dartmouth College in Hanover.
89. For an account of the history of the Art Students' League, see Paul T. Breithaupt, 'History of the Art Students' League,' Etcetera, vol. I, no. 1 (September 1930), pp. 28 – 30; vol. I, no. 2 (October 1930), pp. 28 – 30; vol. I, no. 3 (November 1930), pp. 30 – 33. Students and associate members included Norah McCullough, Audrey Taylor, Isabel McLaughlin, and Gordon Webber.
90. Interview with Yvonne McKague Housser, Toronto, 18 October 1973.
91. An article praising this work – 'The Best Old Town I Know,' Gold Magazine (December 1933) – was severely criticized by a resident of Cobalt because of the painting's untruthfulness and its application of 'modern European technique' to depict the Canadian scene. See Edward Buckman, 'Cobalt and the Artists,' Gold Magazine (April 1934).
The influence of the Group of Seven was not confined to Toronto. Montreal had an active group of artists who consciously allied themselves with the Ontario artists, recognizing the importance of their struggle for a contemporary, native art. In Toronto the Group had achieved a certain success in creating an interest in modern art among both collectors and the general public. Montreal, without the catalyzing influence of the Group, was a less favourable climate for new ventures.
The Art Association of Montreal was a private club of wealthy English-speaking Montrealers who still preferred the late nineteenth-century Dutch artists A.Y. Jackson had been criticizing since before the First World War. There had been an active art school at the Art Association under William Brymner and Randolph Hewton; however with the opening in 1923 of the École des Beaux-Arts, a provincial school offering free tuition, the Art Association school was closed. 1 The Royal Canadian Academy continued to offer life classes, and the Academy's influence pervaded the whole gallery.
Most of the Montreal artists associated with Toronto had originally studied under William Brymner and been involved in the Beaver Hall Group, a non-structured association of artists sharing studio space on Beaver Hall Square. 2 Formed in the fall of 1920, it survived only a year and a half though the friendships and alliances formed at this time continued throughout the next two decades.
At the time of the formation of the Beaver Hall Group, A.Y. Jackson had identified its goals as being those of the Group of Seven, 3 and over the years Jackson maintained the contact between the two cities, supporting and stimulating the Montreal artists through regular visits and correspondence. He kept them informed of events in Toronto and arranged for their works to be included in the Group exhibitions.
A.Y. Jackson was naturally closest to the landscape artists Anne Savage and Sarah Robertson. Anne Savage had been an original member of the Beaver Hall Group 4 and accompanied Pegi Nicol and Florence Wyle to the West Coast during the summer of 1927, following the example of Jackson and Edwin Holgate the previous year in connection with Marius Barbeau's documentation of the art of the native peoples of British Columbia. 5 Teaching at Baron Byng High School from 1922, 6 like many other artists, Savage had little time to devote to her painting. Her works of the thirties fall within the Group tradition with their rolling hills and panoramic views. Even in her more intimate landscapes, such as Dark Pool, Georgian Bay (1933, cat. no. 14), she maintains the Group's curvilinear outlines though with a greater concern for structure and texture. Just as in Lawren Harris's Maligne Lake, Jasper Park in The National Gallery of Canada, the variety of projections framing the central open space create a dynamic and carefully structured interplay of angles and tensions.
Sarah Robertson's work of the late twenties had hardened into tightly controlled designs, at times stiff, and also stylistically reminiscent of Lawren Harris's work. By the mid-thirties however she had achieved a greater surety and freedom. In Coronation (1937, cat. no. 15) the arabesques of the branches joyfully sweep across the canvas echoing the movement of the fluttering flags. The brilliant colours are boldly applied in thick, parallel strokes. In Village, Isle of Orleans (1939, cat. no. 16) the colouring is much more delicate and the spatial recession more obviously determined by the curving roofs of the houses. While Sarah Robertson produced relatively few works, partly due to poor health, her oils and watercolours of the thirties have a spontaneity and brightness lacking in much of the work of the period.
While Montreal boasted several excellent landscape artists, observant art reviewers in the early thirties remarked upon the development of an independent school of artists primarily concerned with painting the human form. 7 Unlike that of the Ontario College of Art, the teaching at the Art Association school (under Randolph Hewton) and later at the École des Beaux-Arts followed a French tradition, with a greater concentration on figure work than landscape.
The key person responsible for the development of a Montreal school was Edwin Holgate, who, soon after the formation of the Beaver Hall Group, returned to Paris to study under Adolf Milman, a Russian expatriate artist. Holgate had been interested in Russian theatre and folk art since his first visit to Paris before the First World War; but what especially interested him was the Russian's concentration on draughtsmanship and strong colouring. 8
After a year with Milman, whom Holgate says was the greatest influence in his life, he returned to Montreal and in 1928 started teaching graphics at the École des Beaux-Arts. 9 Fluently bilingual, Holgate was one of the few English-speaking Canadian artists able to cross the cultural barriers between French and English Montreal and his influence was felt in both communities. During the late twenties he was a member of an informal dining club of Quebec writers, musicians, and critics, Les Casoars ('The Cassawaries'), which included among its members Louis Carrier, Jean Chauvin, Albéric Morin, Adjutor Savard, and Roméo Boucher. 10 He also illustrated the works of several French-language writers. 11
A.Y. Jackson first approached Edwin Holgate about joining the Group of Seven in 1926 during their trip to the Skeena River, 12 though he was not actually invited to become a member until 1930. While not a reluctant member of the Group, 13 Holgate did recognize its limitations. The Group's concentration on landscape, he felt, left little room for the figurative work that interested him. Moreover, Holgate's formal interests were quite different from those of the rest of the Group. In such works as Ludovine (c. 1930, cat. no. 17) and Interior (c. 1933, cat. no. 18) he was concerned with the structure of the body and the modelling of its planes in contrast to the more linear, patterned designs of the Toronto artists. The strong colours and concentration on draughtsmanship which had attracted him to Milman are reflected in his own work.
In his later works, such as Early Autumn (c. 1938, cat. no. 19), while his formal concerns remain the same, the forms and colours are more gentle, lacking the psychological intensity of the earlier Ludovine.
Lilias Newton went to Paris in 1923 and, on the advice of Edwin Holgate, studied with another Russian artist, Alexandre Jacovleff, an associate of Milman. 14 Returning to Canada she began a successful career as a portrait-painter. Her portraits of friends and figure studies best show her ability to portray the personal characteristics of the model. Her commissioned works often have a stiffness and air of social pretension due to the demands of the commission. With friends or with models of her own choice there is a greater personal identification between sitter and artist, contributing to the intensity of the work.
In the Portrait of Frances McCall (c. 1931, cat. no. 20) Lilias Newton shows the same concern for solid structure derived from Cézanne as seen in Holgate's work. The unity of texture and colour successfully integrates the figure with the landscape background. In the Portrait of Louis Muhlstock (c. 1937, cat. no. 21) the confined space concentrates the viewer's attention on the hands and face. The restrained greens and greys of this portrait contrast with the rich blacks, reds, and beiges of Maurice (1939, cat. no. 22). 15 In the latter work the colour, texture, and gentle modelling create an aura of sensuous calm. In all three portraits, unlike many of her official portraits, the sitters look to the side, withdrawn into themselves, adding to the contemplative mood. In all, however, the artist concentrates on the structure and the architectonic quality of the forms.
Lilias Newton and Edwin Holgate both gave private life classes during the early thirties, and in 1934 they approached the president of the Art Association of Montreal, H.B. Walker, offering to re-open the art school with the artists bearing full financial responsibility. 16 After two years the arrangement proved to be unsatisfactory so they left. However, Dr Martin, former head of the Medical School at McGill, became president of the Art Association in 1937 and he re-opened the school the next year, inviting Lilias Newton and Edwin Holgate to direct it, with the Association bearing full responsibility for the work, space, and equipment. 17 Will Ogilvie, Charles Comfort's partner in a commercial art firm, was brought from Toronto to teach the commercial course and the school flourished for the next two years. Following the methods of his teacher Milman, Holgate was an excellent and popular teacher, but he found teaching too demanding as it left him little time for his own work. He and Lilias Newton both left the school in the spring of 1940. 18
Figure painting was definitely the prerogative of Montreal artists during the early thirties, though they did have their followers in Toronto. Bertram Brooker's Figures in Landscape 19 was inspired by the nudes of Edwin Holgate and Yvonne McKague's Indian Girl 20 by the work of Lilias Newton. Lawren Phillips Harris was also painting within a similar tradition. He spent two years, from 1931 to 1933, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston where the teachers, graduates of the Slade in London, also concentrated on draughtsmanship and figure work. 21 But, whereas Holgate and Newton created structured forms through the interrelationship of planes, Harris, in Decorative Nude (1937, cat. no. 23), relies on careful modelling and silhouette, owing nothing to Cézanne.
The richness of flesh tone seen in Lawren Harris's work is also found in the paintings of Prudence Heward, the 'enfant terrible' of the Montreal figure painters. Born into a wealthy Montreal family, she received her early art training at the Art Association under William Brymner. Like Lilias Newton and Edwin Holgate, she studied in Paris after the First World War with the former Fauve artist Charles Guerin at the Académie Colarossi. 22 In 1929 she won the Willingdon Prize for her painting Girl on a Hill (now in The National Gallery of Canada) and returned to France. 23 She attended sketching classes at the Scandinavian Academy in Paris with Isabel McLaughlin 24 and painted at Cagnes in the south of France.
This trip to France resulted in a severe hardening of her style, especially noticeable in Sisters of Rural Quebec (1930, cat. no. 24) and Girl Under a Tree (1931, cat. no. 25). In the former work this almost sculptural treatment is uniformally applied to all the elements of the composition. In Girl Under a Tree, however, there are disturbing contradictions of style. John Lyman wrote an astute criticism of the work in his journal:
When an idea becomes explicit it dies . . . . She has so stiffened her will that it mutes the strings of her sensibility . . . . She [has] so concentrated on the volitional effort that she is numb to the lack of consistent fundamental organization – relations and rhythms . . . . [it is] disconcerting to find with extreme analytical modulation of figures, [an] unmodulated and cloisonné- treatment of [the] background without interrelation. Bouguereau nude against Cézanne background. 25 The freely-brushed vegetation in the foreground isolates the highly finished, almost overworked, figure in the centre, and the landscape background does have the air of a studio backdrop; yet the work has an extremely compelling quality. The staring eyes, the tension in the muscular body, the projections and sharp angles surrounding the figure create an aura of high-strung sexuality reminiscent of Gauguin's La Perte du Pucelage, in the Walter P. Chrysler Collection, Norfolk, Virginia.
Most of Prudence Heward's works have a brooding quality to them. She portrays strong, independent women, women with individual lives and personalities, yet there is always a certain tension in her work. Apart from Ludovine (c. 1930, cat. no. 17), Edwin Holgate's women are objects for studies in structure and form. Lilias Newton's sitters are persons confident of their place in society and the direction of their lives. Prudence Heward's subjects seem disjointed and uncertain, her children staring at the viewer, suspicious or incomprehending, as if they were all affected by the uncertainties of her own life. In such later works, as Dark Girl (1935, cat. no. 26), the forms are softened and the surrounding landscapes more summarily treated and more successfully coordinated with the central figure. She also heightens the intensity of her colours using rich, almost acidic tones. She moves from the creation of sculptural forms on a flat surface to brilliant rendering of colour and light.
Prudence Heward was very interested in the work of the New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins 26 and perhaps the freer brushwork in her later works is partly attributable to this interest. Frances Hodgkins's introduction of still-life into a landscape setting also finds its reflection in Prudence Heward's Fruit in the Grass ( c. 1939, cat. no. 27). However, the brilliant, acidic colours are very much her own.
Unlike most of the other Group associates in Montreal, Prudence Heward remained an active participant in the newer developments in Montreal in the late thirties and forties. A friend of John Lyman, she was one of the founding members of the Contemporary Arts Society in 1939. Her work of the forties continued her search for newer forms of expression and was cut short only by her death in 1947.
1. Art Association of Montreal, Sixty-Third Annual Report, 1924, p. 7.
2. There are variances in the accounts of the membership of the Group. Norah McCullough lists Nora Collyer, Emily Coonan, Prudence Heward, Randolph Hewton, Edwin Holgate, Mabel Lockerby, Mabel May, Kathleen Morris, Lilias Torrance Newton, Sarah Robertson, Anne Savage, and Ethel Seath (Norah McCullough, The Beaver Hall Hill Group [Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada], 1966). Edwin Holgate mentions Mabel May, Emily Coonan, Randolph Hewton, Adrien Hébert, Anne Savage, Sarah Robertson, Scoop Torrance, Lilias Torrance Newton, Robert Pilot, and Edwin Holgate (Interview with Edwin Holgate, Montreal, 20 September 1973). Lilias Newton mentions Randolph Hewton, Emily Coonan, Lilias Torrance Newton, Mabel May, Adrien Hébert, Henri Hébert, Albert Robinson, and Adam Sherriff Scott (Interview with Lilias Newton, Montreal, 11 September 1973).
3. 'Le Groupe Beaver Hall,' Montreal La Presse (20 January 1921). Edwin Holgate, however, states that the members of the Beaver Hall Group were hardly aware of the activities of the Toronto artists. (Interview with Edwin Holgate, Montreal, 20 September 1973).
4. 'Anne Douglas Savage,' National Gallery of Canada Information Form, n.d. [1920s].
5. The resultant works were exhibited at Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada, December 1927, Exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern.
6. Leah Sherman, Anne Savage (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1968).
7. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (19 April 1930).
8. Interview with Edwin Holgate, Montreal, 20 September 1973.
10. Les Casoars (Montreal: 1928).
11. Georges Bouchard, Other Days, Other Ways (Montreal, New York: Louis Carrier & Cie, 1928). Robert Choquette, Metropolitan Museum (Montreal: Herald Press, 1931). Léo-Paul Morin, Papiers de Musique (Montreal: Librairie d'action canadienne, 1930).
12. Interview with Edwin Holgate, Montreal, 20 September 1973.
13. J. Russell Harper, Painting in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966), p. 315.
14. Interview with Lilias T. Newton, Montreal, 11 September 1973. Another Canadian portrait artist, Nan Lawson Cheney, studied under Alexandre Jacovleff at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1936. ('Nan Lawson Cheney,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, n.d.)
15. Prudence Heward used a similar background with stairs ascending at the right in her painting Rosaire (1935, oil on canvas; 40 x 36 in., 101.6 x 91.4 cm) in The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
16. Interview with Lilias T. Newton, Montreal, 11 September 1973.
17. Art Association of Montreal, Seventy-Seventh Annual Report, 1938, pp. 8 – 9.
18. Will Ogilvie remained as acting director of the school and Goodridge Roberts was hired to take charge of the life classes. (Art Association of Montreal, Seventy-Ninth Annual Report, 1940, pp. 7 – 8). Arthur Lismer joined the staff as Educational supervisor in January 1941 after Will Ogilvie left on military service ( Art Association of Montreal, Eightieth Annual Report, 1941, pp. 7 – 13).
19. Figures in Landscape (1931, oil on canvas; 24 x 30 in., 61.0 x 76.2 cm) Estate of M.A. Brooker. See Dennis Reid, Bertram Brooker (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1973), p. 53 repr.
20. Indian Girl ( c. 1936, oil on canvas; 30 x 24 in., 76.2 x 61.0 cm), The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg. See Paul Duval, A Vision of Canada (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1973), p. 154 repr. This painting has also been entitled Girl with Mulleins.
21. Interview with Lawren P. Harris, Sackville (N.B.), 31 October 1973. The artist has destroyed most of his work from this period.
22. Prudence Heward attended the Académie Colarossi in Paris in 1925. See Clarence Gagnon, Paris, to Eric Brown, [London], 21 May 1925; in The National Gallery of Canada. See also Prudence Heward, 'Biographical Notes' ( c. February 1945); in The Art Gallery of Windsor.
23. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (1 February 1930).
24. Conversation with Isabel McLaughlin, Toronto, 18 February 1974.
25. John Lyman, 'Journal,' vol. II, entry for 28 April 1932; in the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal.
26. Prudence Heward purchased a Frances Hodgkins
Life from the
Exhibition of Contemporary British Painting (Catalogue no. 31) circulated by The National Gallery of Canada in 1935.
Painting in British Columbia during the thirties is dominated by the figures of Emily Carr, Fred Varley, and Jock Macdonald. While some younger artists, such as Paul Goranson, E.J. Hughes, and Orville Fisher turned to Social Realism and industrial themes in prints and murals, 1 it was the romantic, landscape tradition defined by the Group of Seven that prevailed. Through their influence as teachers and through their paintings, they passed on this tradition to another generation of artists.
As has been pointed out by Maria Tippett, Emily Carr's own story of her isolation and rejection by her community prior to 1927 was partly exaggerated. 2 She won a second Honourable Mention in oils at the Ninth Annual Exhibition of the Artists of the Pacific North West in Seattle in 1924, 3 and she exhibited occasionally with the Island Arts and Crafts Society in Victoria. 4 But her trips to the native villages had ended and she had been cut off from her emotive sources. She retained a memory of frustration, incomprehension, and loneliness when thinking of these years.
Emily Carr's meeting with Eric Brown, Director of The National Gallery of Canada; her participation in the Exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art, 5 and her introduction to the Group of Seven, 6 all in 1927, at the age of fifty-six, marked the turning point in her career. Of all the members of the Group it was Lawren Harris who elicited the most sympathetic response. After her first visit to his studio she wrote, 'Oh, God, what have I seen? Where have I been? Something has spoken to the very soul of me, wonderful, mighty, not of this world. Chords way down in my being have been touched.' 7 She found in his work the same spiritual strength that had so attracted her to totem poles. 'It is as if a door had opened, a door into unknown tranquil spaces.' 8
Restimulated and reinvigorated, the following summer Emily Carr returned to the native villages, visiting Kitwancool on the Skeena River for the first time, and then travelling up the Nass River to Grenville and across to Skedans on the Queen Charlotte Islands. 9 The sketches and drawings resulting from this trip as well as pre-war sketches 10 and photographs 11 provided the sources for most of her paintings of villages and totems during the late twenties and early thirties.
The influence of Lawren Harris is clearly evident in these works. The strongly modelled, simplified shapes, the concentration on 'significant form' 12 and Vorticist light shafts are all seen in Harris's paintings of the same period. Moving beyond the descriptive aims of her works before the First World War, Emily Carr achieved an intense expression of the spirituality of the totem poles and of the feeling of awe aroused in her by the massive coastal forests surrounding the villages. However, the poles had deteriorated since her earlier visits and been badly restored, losing their subtle beauty.
On Lawren Harris's suggestion Emily Carr turned away from the native villages to the forests. 13 In the spring of 1933 she travelled north of Garibaldi Park to Brackendale, Lillooet, and Pemberton, 14 though most of her sketching was done on Vancouver Island near Victoria. In 1933 she purchased her caravan trailer, 'The Elephant,' which provided her with greater freedom and independence. 15
Another artist who was extremely influential in Emily Carr's life was the American artist Mark Tobey. She first met him in Seattle, 16 and in September 1928 he visited her in Victoria and gave a 'short course of classes' in her studio. 17 He stayed in her house again 18 when Emily visited Toronto and New York in the spring of 1930, 19 and she appears to have kept in touch with him 20 until he left for England in 1931. 21
As Mark Tobey told Colin Graham, 'he battled with her to get her to accept his views of form. He had evolved a system of volumetric analysis of forms combined with what he called the pressure of light areas against dark, and vice versa. The latter he had derived from the work of El Greco, while the former . . . was a modified kind of analytical cubism.' 22 Later he advised her to 'get off the monotone, even exaggerate light and shade, to watch rhythmic relations and reversals of detail, to make [her] canvas two-thirds half-tone, one-third black and white.' 23
Following Tobey's advice, in Grey (c. 1931, cat. no. 28) Emily Carr limited her palette to a monochrome of black, grey, and white, heightening the contrast of light and dark. The outer trees radiate from the central cone whose sculptural form opens to reveal an inner glow at the core. She breaks away from 'the accidentals of surface representation' to represent 'the universals of basic form.' 24
The glowing interior fires of Grey contrast with the external thrust of Tree (c. 1931, cat. no. 29). 25 Almost surreal representations of female and male sexual energies, they are the most intense and concentrated expressions of Emily Carr's vision of the dynamism of her natural surroundings. As for the creators of the totem poles, the trees have become the embodiments of spiritual forces that are both menacing and thrilling. Their energy radiates throughout the forest.
Emily Carr made three trips east, in 1927, 26 1930, 27 and 1933. 28 On each visit the most important moments were those spent with Lawren Harris: 'The day I entered the dreary building, climbed the cold stair, was met by Mr. Harris and led into his tranquil studio, that day my idea of Art wholly changed.' 29 Stimulated by the spirituality of his work she wrote, 'I think perhaps I shall find God here, the God I've longed and hunted for and failed to find.' 30 Harris introduced her to theosophy and advised her to read Ouspensky 31 and Madame Blavatsky. Through letters and discussions he encouraged her religious sentiments and affirmed her awareness of the spiritual search her art entailed.
While Emily Carr was influenced by her readings in theosophy, 32 she remained an ardent Christian and her journal entries up to 1934 express a deep conflict in her efforts to reconcile the two. Discussions with Fred Housser and Lawren Harris during her last visit to Toronto brought the issue to a head. 33 On her return to Victoria she attended several lectures by Raja Singh, a co-worker of Mahatma Ghandi's and decided to take her stand on Christ's side. For Emily Carr the conflict centered around a 'distant, mechanical theosophy God' 34 and a personal one. 'When I tried to see things theosophically I was looking through the glasses of cold, hard, inevitable fate, serene perhaps but cold, unjoyous and unmoving. Seeing things the Christ way, things are dipped in love. It warms and humanizes them . . . . God as love is joyous.' 35 With the robust pantheism of Walt Whitman and the love of Christ in hand, she moves from the stern psychic energies of Grey to the joyful song of A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth (c. 1932 – 1934, cat. no. 30). Her works 'swell and roll back and forth into space, pausing here and there to fill out the song, catch the rhythm, . . . go down into the deep places and pause there and . . . rise up into the high ones exalting.' 36
To express her new sense of freedom and joy, as well as for reasons of economy, she adopted her own sketching medium, oil paints thinned with gasoline. The more fluid medium allowed her to work faster and in a more automatic manner, with a greater freedom of thought and action. 37
In her earlier sketches, such as Tree (c. 1932 – 1933, cat. no. 31 ), she uses the thinned oils broadly, and the stalk of the tree and foliage have a certain density, similar to A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth. However, the dramatic viewpoint and the sweeping curves of the small branches, cutting across the space at different angles gives the sketch a dynamism and unity of movement not always found in the oils of the period.
Emily Carr's paintings to 1937 show a continuing effort to express the feeling of space and of movement in space. She progresses from the dense forest interiors to the sunlit clearings, to the sea shore and finally to pure skyscapes. She disassociates herself from the terrestrial spiritualism of the forest and rises to higher and higher planes – not the serene, ordered, theosophic planes of Lawren Harris, but an exultant, pantheistic freedom.
The God of Grey (cat. no. 28) is not the God of Overhead (c. 1935, cat. no. 32). The former moves from a central core, awesome, earthy, and rich. The latter sends us spinning off into joyful songs of thanksgiving and praise for all creation. In Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky (c. 1936, cat. no. 33) the glories of light and space sweep across the sky, emanating from a central tree in swirls and curves of a Van Gogh.
'I'd just begun to work into canvases what the sketches had shown me when I got ill,' Emily Carr wrote to Eric Brown. 38 She had her first heart attack in January 1937; 39 years of overwork and financial constraint finally caught up with her.
Recuperating from her illness, with temporary financial security resulting from sales in the East, 40 Emily Carr concentrated more on her writing. She returned to the totem poles, reliving their experience in both word and paint. She continued to sketch in the woods at Telegraph Bay and around Victoria, but she descended from the sky to light-filled forest interiors. There was less 'blue light painting.' 41
The next few years saw an increase in Emily Carr's public acceptance and breakdown of her isolation. Her writing brought her into contact with the university community in Vancouver and, in the fall of 1938, she had the first of a series of annual solo exhibitions at The Vancouver Art Gallery. She had had shows and sales in the East since the rebirth of her career in 1927; however, her contacts with the East had always been plagued by uncertainty concerning the whereabouts of her works and by the lack of consistent intelligent reaction to her painting. Acceptance in the West, confirmed by actual sales, assured Emily Carr, a native Westerner, that the West had responded to her at last.
Jock Macdonald wrote of her at this time, 'In my opinion she is undoubtedly the first artist in the country and a genius without question . . . . There is a definite spiritual significance which she has given in her maturity, which is something beyond the interpretation of a Province, above the historical value of her Indian Village period, and greater than masterly technique.' 42
While for Emily Carr, working in isolation, the thirties saw the pinnacle of her career, the Vancouver art scene was less bright. During the previous decade the art community had expanded at a rapid pace. The British Columbia Art League had been active since the early twenties striving to set up an art gallery, which finally opened in 1931. 43 The Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts was formed in 1925, 44 and the following year Fred Varley arrived from Toronto and Jock Macdonald from England. 45 Around the school was a small though creative community. Harold Mortimer-Lamb, secretary of the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, photographer, part-time art critic, and early champion of the Group of Seven, moved to Vancouver in the early twenties. For a short period around 1927, he entered into partnership with another photographer, John Vanderpant, to run The Vanderpant Galleries. 46
John Vanderpant first arrived in Canada in 1911 to report on the possibilities of settlement in Alberta for the Dutch government. He settled in MacLeod, Alberta, and opened a photographic studio with branches in Okotoks and Lethbridge. After the war he moved to New Westminster, British Columbia, and in 1926 to Vancouver. 47 Through Mortimer-Lamb he met Fred Varley and Jock Macdonald and became a fervent supporter of the Group of Seven. He opened up his studio to the students and staff of the art school, holding weekly musical gatherings 48 and exhibitions of their work. 49
Varley's initial reaction to British Columbia was one of ebullient enthusiasm. He wrote back to Toronto, 'The country is full of variety . . . island forms as romantic as Wagner music or a Roerich canvas . . . then chunks of mountains, freakish stuff some of it that makes me realize why Indians are superstitious. Forests that are tropical. . . and . . . marvellous canyons.' 50 He became a 'constant worshipper of moving waters and mists, jack-pines . . . [and] rocky promontories, rushing torrents, glaciers and snow peaks, silver rain, and an atmosphere so changing with forms playing hide and seek and again stark and hard seen through an air so translucent that colours appear as if seen through still waters or crystallized in ice.' 51
The beauty of the landscape stimulated Varley's studies of Chinese painting, for he found in it 'more of the spirit of British Columbia than any painting I have ever seen.' 52 As well, he renewed his interest in Oriental philosophy and occultism, having had personal experiences of sympathetic symptoms and perceptions of auras. 53
Varley's reputation rests primarily on his work as a portrait-painter, yet during his first three years in Vancouver he confined himself almost totally to landscapes. Commissions were almost non-existent; 54 however, he did return to figure work through his relationship with a student, Vera Weatherbie. From 1929 to 1932 he did numerous drawings, watercolours, and oils of Vera, mostly isolated bust or head studies in heightened, non-naturalistic colouring. Varley believed in colour coordinates of spiritual states (blue and green, for example, suggested the highest states of spirituality, red more terrestrial and base ones), 55 and at the Vancouver School he taught the Munsell colour theory, based on the use of complementary tones, to create a colour sphere reflecting the aura of the sitter. 56 In Dhârâna (c. 1932, cat. no. 34), 57 Vera's aura of blue and green permeates the mountain landscape and sky. The rails and post of the cottage porch and the bare trees accentuate the tension of her posture, contrasting with the solid curve and flow of the hills and mountain stream.
The contemplative character of Dhârâna is also found in Open Window (c. 1932, cat. no. 35) where the cool greens and blues flow across the open water to the snow-crested peaks beyond. The serenity of the work recalls the Zen Buddhist 'sound of one hand clapping.' Varley's numerous watercolours and oils of the British Columbia landscape painted during the thirties, with their mist-covered mountains and tiny figures meandering along the paths have a Taoist quality like the Chinese landscapes he so admired.
Jovial, lyrical, and a great sensualist, Fred Varley was an attractive and influential figure for both students and fellow artists alike. One artist closely involved with Varley was Philip Surrey. Born in Calgary, at the age of sixteen Surrey was employed with Brigden's in Winnipeg. While there, he took night classes in sketching at the Winnipeg School of Art under LeMoine FitzGerald. In the fall of 1929 he moved to Vancouver to work with the Cleland-Kent Engraving Company, 58 and the following year met Fred Varley and became a close friend of Fred's oldest son, John. While Surrey attended only a few life classes given by Varley, the expansive areas of cool, sensuous colour, glowing light, and mist-bathed peaks in Going to Work (1935, cat. no. 36,) are strongly reminiscent of the senior artist's work at this time. Working long hours, Surrey quickly developed a preference for evening, or early morning, urban scenes when the lights reflect on the wet streets and the mood is more sombre.
Jock Macdonald joined the staff of the Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts in 1926 as Head of Design and Instructor of Commercial Advertising. 59 Encouraged by Fred Varley and by Barbara, his wife (a graduate in painting of the Edinburgh College of Art), for the first time, Jock seriously started to paint, going on sketching trips to the Fraser Canyon near Lytton, Garibaldi Park, 60 and the Gulf Islands. 61 An early work, The Black Tusk, Garibaldi Park, B.C. (1932, cat. no. 37) bears a close relation to Varley's landscapes of the late twenties, such as Mountain Landscape, Garibaldi Park. 62 In the latter work the paint is rich and luminous and the snow flows like lava. In The Black Tusk the paint is drier and stiffer, and the foreground rocks more linear; however, the thrust of the rock silhouetted against the turbulent, richly painted sky creates a dynamic expression of the mountain's natural forms.
While the decade opened full of hope and with a burgeoning art community, the Depression soon intervened. Varley, supporting a family of five, had continual financial difficulties. Purchases declined, and he had to have a forced sale of his sketches in Toronto. 63 The final blow was a threatened closing of the School by the Vancouver Board of Education in the winter of 1933. Charles Scott, the principal, managed to get the Board to agree to let them run the School on the revenue from fees, the provincial government grant – plus premises and janitorial services. New salaries were based on three and a half days' teaching time for Varley, Macdonald, and Grace Melvin, 64 and full time for Scott. This meant about a sixty per cent reduction in income for the three teachers and only a thirty per cent reduction for the principal. 65 Varley and Macdonald found this 'grossly unfair' and left to organize their own school, the British Columbia College of Arts. 66
They were joined in this venture by a Viennese stage designer, Harry Täuber, former pupil of Franz Cizek and gold medallist in the Theatre Arts Exhibition at the 1925 International Exhibition of Decorative Art in Paris. 67 Täuber arrived in Vancouver in 1931 via Havana and Toronto, possibly seeking entry to the United States to work in Hollywood. He offered private classes in German Expressionism and stage design, 68 and organized a group of marionette players who presented productions of Petroushka and The Witch Doctor at The Vancouver Art Gallery in February 1932. 69 Täuber met Fred Varley and Jock Macdonald soon after his arrival, and the three of them joined forces to set up the new school.
The British Columbia College of Arts attempted to unite under one roof all the arts in an anthroposophic 'Goetheanum,' modelled on the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. 70 Varley taught drawing and painting, colour and composition, mural decoration, and book illustration. Jock Macdonald was in charge of industrial design, commercial advertising, colour theory, wood carving, and children's classes, while Harry Täuber taught architecture, theatre arts, film scenario, staging, costume design, art and metaphysics, and eurythmics. They were assisted by Beatrice Lennie in sculpture and modelling, Vera Weatherbie in drawing and painting, and Margaret Williams in design. 71
At the same time the school aimed to create an environment uniting the best qualities of the Pacific Rim cultures, 'drawing together from the east and the west the powerful forces of the art world, welding them together on the B.C. Coast.' 72 Contacts were initiated with the Japanese consulate and efforts made to attract Oriental students. 73
A garage was rented near the art gallery and large curtains hung to divide the working spaces. Sponsors were found and the school opened in September 1933 with sixty-six students in the day classes, mostly former senior students from the Vancouver School of Art. Directed by three strong and magnetic personalities, the school generated a great deal of enthusiasm during its two years of existence. Courses in painting, theatre, dance, music, and eurythmics were supplemented by theatre productions, puppet shows, and exhibitions of student work.
However, the College was competing with a subsidized school in the middle of an economic depression. Few students had money; the teachers less. The scheme was overambitious, and after two years Jock Macdonald was forced to call in the Directors and organize the closure of the school. 74 Soon the artists left Vancouver.
The Macdonalds, with Harry Täuber and his lover, Les Planta, moved to Nootka on the west coast of Vancouver Island, squatting on land a few miles from Friendly Cove. 75 Jock stayed at Nootka for eighteen months, sketching a great deal. A show of his sketches in Vancouver was well received. 76 Life was hard but exciting and he gathered a great deal of material for later work. However, during the summer of 1936 he dislocated his spine getting out of a boat in a stormy sea. 77 Unable to do hard physical labour, he had to leave Nootka and took a part-time teaching job in Vancouver at the Canadian Institute of Associated Arts. 78
The stay at Nootka had been a great stimulant to Jock Macdonald. Living in an environment so determined by the natural elements, and near a people so in tune with these forces, he became more and more interested in a spiritual expression beyond mere external representation. His first canvases completed in Vancouver depicted native life at Friendly Cove. Indian Burial, Nootka (1937, cat. no. 38) shows a great advance in the use of colour and paint from his earlier landscapes.
More important to Jock were his experiments which he called 'modalities.' He defined his intent in a letter to Harry McCurry: 'It means "Expressions of thought in relation to nature" and was considered by Kant to relate to creative expressions which could not be said to relate to nature (objectively) nor relate to abstract thoughts (subjectively) about nature, but rather included both expressions.' 79 As early as 1934 Jock had painted Formative Colour Activity, 80 which he later referred to as an 'automatic' painting. 81 While perhaps painted without a subject consciously intended, the work itself remains entirely representational. The representational element is also present in the modalities which bear such titles as Rain, Winter, Daybreak, and Edge of the Sea, all subjects taken from nature. While more descriptive than some of his modalities, Pilgrimage (1937, cat. no. 39) contains many of their qualities, including strong patterning, stylization of natural forms, and heightened colour. As in Indian Burial, Nootka (cat. no. 38), a natural Gothic arch reaches over the central funereal motif.
Overwork, lack of funds, undernourishment, and depression finally took their toll on Jock Macdonald. His right lung collapsed in the spring of 1937. 82 Confined to his bed, worrying about his family, fed up with Vancouver, Jock was at his wits' end. The Vancouver Art Gallery purchased his painting, Indian Burial, Nootka, giving him time to recover. 83 In September he visited California, possibly to explore job possibilities in Hollywood, 84 and was restimulated by visits to art galleries and by interest expressed in his 'modalities.' 85 Returning to Vancouver, he wrote, 'B.C. has that vapour quality which seems to me to be much more clairvoyant in its inspiration than that blazing and relentless sunshine down south. I am more certain now that Canada is the land where artists can find the environment for true creative activity.' 86
Jock continued working on his modalities. When first exhibited, they were well-received by the Vancouver public, and he was encouraged to continue. 87 In the fall of 1938 he obtained a new post at Templeton Junior High 88 and a contract to do a mural for the reopening of the Hotel Vancouver. 89 The following autumn, after a second trip to California, he transferred to the Vancouver Technical High School. 90 He was still plagued by financial difficulties and hated teaching uninterested students; however, with the outbreak of war in September, he still could write, '[I] realized that expressions of beauty and truth are the most essential qualities of life, and this endeavour of study must not be smothered under any condition.' 91
After the closing of the British Columbia College of Arts, Fred Varley, 'forced into the life of a hermit,' 92 moved to Lynn Valley. He still loved the country and rhapsodized in word and paint about its mystery and beauty. But desperately poor, he dreamed of returning to England and 'of arousing the populace into ecstasy over the prophetic utterances of my work in paint. Such profound utterances though have not been given expression because of the failure to procure materials and "the tubes are twisted and dried." Since hearing of the Group show I have been stricken with the lonesomeness of the West.' 93 A purchase by The National Gallery enabled him to go east.
In Ottawa he obtained a portrait commission, sold some sketches, and continued work on a painting of the resurrection of Christ, aptly entitled Liberation, which he planned to send to the Royal Academy in England. But all the time he longed to return to Lynn Valley and finally did go west 94 – only to return to teach at the Ottawa Art Association in October. 95
Philip Surrey had moved to Montreal in the spring of 1937, and Fred visited him during the Easter holidays. 'His visit resulted in "108 hours of enthusiasm" and a 34 x 40 canvas,' 96 – the latter, Night Ferry, Vancouver (1937, cat. no. 40). Compositionally close to Open Window (cat. no. 35), what a difference there is between the cool, serene, open spaces of the earlier work and the impassioned expression of his separation from Vancouver.
Varley had an exhibition in Montreal in May 97 and spent some time with Philip Surrey. 98 He returned to Vancouver in August and wrote back, 'The country here is more entrancing than ever but Vancouver is a drear drab place for an artist to be imprisoned in. I have seen several old students of mine who have great promise but it hurts terribly to find them so numbed by adversity. As for myself I am marking time, making drawings until I solve the problem of procuring more paints.' 99
Once more he left for the East to teach in Ottawa, 100 and the next summer he accompanied the Federal Government arctic expedition on the Nascopie. 101 The splendour of the colours and the Inuit people entranced him. The lushness of his British Columbian landscapes reappears in Summer in the Arctic (c. 1939, cat. no. 41), in the rich, flowing colour and freely-brushed rocky ground.
When war broke out in 1939, the Ottawa Art Association classes were cancelled. After a year of terrible loneliness and dire poverty, he moved to Montreal where, with the help of friends, he began to work again.
1. Graham C. McInnes, 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 12 – Orville Fisher,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 204 (January 1938), pp. 350 – 351. 'Three Young Artists Paint Vancouver for the World,' Vancouver Daily Province (24 March 1939). (re murals for the B.C. Government pavilion, San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition, 1939).
2. Maria Tippett, ' "A Paste Solitaire in a Steel Claw Setting": Emily Carr and her Public,' B.C. Studies, no. 20 (Winter 1973 – 1974), pp. 3 – 14.
3. Seattle, Seattle Fine Arts Society, 4 – 30 April 1924, Ninth Annual Exhibition of the Artists of the Pacific Northwest, no. 10 (Macaulay Point).
4. Emily Carr exhibited with the Victoria Island Arts and Crafts Society from 1924 to 1926.
5. Ottawa, The National Gallery of Canada, December 1927, Exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art Native and Modern. Exhibited with a partially illustrated catalogue at The Art Gallery of Toronto, January 1928.
6. Emily Carr met Fred Varley in Vancouver on 10 November 1927 and A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, and Lawren Harris in Toronto between 14 November and 14 December 1927. See Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1966), pp. 3 – 18.
7. Emily Carr, op. cit., p. 6.
8. Ibid, p. 19.
9. 'I tried to [visit Kitwancool] fifteen years ago but the white people would not let me.' Emily Carr, South Bay, Queen Charlotte Islands, to Mr and Mrs Eric Brown, Ottawa, 11 August 1928; in The National Gallery of Canada.
10. Big Raven in The Vancouver Art Gallery was painted from a 1912 watercolour, Cumshewa in The National Gallery of Canada. See Doris Shadbolt, Emily Carr (exhibition catalogue) (Vancouver: The Vancouver Art Gallery, 1971), nos 45 and 62.
11. Blunden Harbour in The National Gallery of Canada was painted from a photograph, presently in the Provincial Archives, Victoria, inscribed, ' This enlargement from a 4 x 5 negative was loaned Miss Emily Carr about 1930 by W.A. Newcombe. Miss Carr painted "Blunden Harbour" now in the National Gallery, Ottawa, from it, never having had an opportunity of visiting this village personally,' and signed W.A. Newcombe. Edith Hembroff-Schleicher notes, 'She quite often worked from Mr Newcombe's photographs, particularly . . . after her first illness in 1937.' See E. Hembroff-Schleicher, Victoria, to Charles Hill, Ottawa, 9 April 1974; in The National Gallery of Canada.
12. Clive Bell's book, Art (London: Chatto & Windus, 1914) in which he formulated the concept of'significant form,' was one of the books Lawren Harris recommended to Emily Carr. (Emily Carr, op. cit., p. 18.)
13. Emily Carr, Growing Pains (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946), p. 343.
14. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, pp. 34 – 40.
15. Ibid., p. 49.
16. Mark Tobey, Seattle, to Donald Buchanan, Ottawa (received 15 April 1957); in The National Gallery of Canada. Mark Tobey erroneously dates this meeting between 1922 and 1925.
17. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 1 October ; in The National Gallery of Canada. A painting by Mark Tobey, Emily Carr's Studio, is dated 1928. See Mark Tobey, A Retrospective Exhibition from Northwest Collections (exhibition catalogue) (Seattle: Seattle Art Museum, 1959), repr.
18. Mark Tobey, Seattle, to Donald Buchanan, Ottawa (received 15 April 1957); in The National Gallery of Canada. Tobey remarks, 'Also I stayed in her studio when she went East the second time.'
19. Emily Carr left Victoria late March ('On Way East to Attend Exhibitions of Her Work,' Victoria Daily Colonist [1 April 1930]) and was in New York sometime in May (Lawren Harris, Toronto, to Katherine Dreier, 18 June 1930; in the Dreier Archive, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University, New Haven). For an account of her trip to New York see Emily Carr, Growing Pains, pp. 241 – 250.
20. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 21. Entry dated 24 November 1930.
21. William C. Seitz states Tobey left for England in 1930. See Mark Tobey (exhibition catalogue) (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1962), p. 49. However, Edward Weston notes a visit from Mark Tobey on 30 August 1931. See The Daybooks of Edward Weston (Rochester [N.Y.]): George Eastman House, 1966), vol. II, p. 223.
22. Colin Graham, Victoria, to Donald Buchanan, Ottawa, 19 July 1957; in The National Gallery of Canada.
23. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 21.
24. Ibid., p. 25.
25. Georgia O'Keeffe was painting similar organic natural forms at this time. Emily Carr met Georgia O'Keeffe in New York in 1930. (Emily Carr, Growing Pains, p. 250.)
26. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, pp. 3 – 19.
27. Ibid., p. 21.
28. Ibid., pp. 68 – 83.
29. Emily Carr, Growing Pains, p. 340.
30. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 7.
31. Ibid., p. 18.
32. Much of her writing has a theosophic character to it. See, for example, Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 33.
33. Ibid., pp. 79 – 80.
34. Ibid., p. 93.
35. Ibid., p. 149.
36. Ibid., p. 138.
37. The first dated oil sketch is Forest Interior (1932), Collection of Mr John McDonald, Vancouver. See Doris Shadbolt, Emily Carr, no. 77 repr. Emily Carr first wrote about her new medium in her journal entry for 27 January 1933. See Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 33.
38. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 4 March 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
39. Emily Carr, Hundreds and Thousands, p. 274.
40. Ibid., pp. 285 – 289.
41. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Nan Cheney, Vancouver, [postmarked 30 November 1937]; in The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
42. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 24 October 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
43. Charles H. Scott, 'A Short Art History of British Columbia.' in Behind the Palette 1946 – 1947 (Vancouver: Vancouver School of Art, 1947).
45. While Jock Macdonald, an Edinburgh College of Art graduate, was Scottish, he had been teaching the previous year at the Lincoln School of Art in England. (British Columbia College of Arts Limited, Illustrated Prospectus, 1934 – 1935, hereafter referred to as Prospectus.)
46. The firm's letterhead at this time lists John Vanderpant and Harold Mortimer-Lamb as 'Associates.'
47. Conversation with Mrs Anna Vanderpant Ackroyd, Vancouver, 20 November 1973.
48. Ada F. Currie, 'The Vanderpant Musicales,' in The Paintbox (Vancouver: Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts, 1928), p. 48.
49. A large exhibition was held at the time of the opening of The Vancouver Art Gallery to encourage the purchasing committee to buy contemporary works by British Columbia artists. See Reta Myers, 'In the Domain of Art,' V ancouver Daily Province, 12 April 1931.
50. Fred Varley, Vancouver, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, [c. February 1928]; in The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg.
51. Fred Varley, Vancouver, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 25 September 1934; private property.
52. Fred Varley, Vancouver, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 18 February 1928; in The National Gallery of Canada.
53. Conversation with Peter Varley and Mrs Maude Varley, Toronto, 17 October 1973. John Varley, the oldest son, was extremely interested in astrology as well as oriental and Rosicrucian teachings. (Interview with Philip Surrey, Montreal, 14 September 1973.)
54. During the summer of 1930 he taught at the Art Institute of Seattle ('Famous Artist is Added to Institute,' Seattle Times, 6 July 1930) and completed a portrait of Dr C.W. Sharpies for the Seattle General Hospital (Fred Varley, Seattle, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa [July 1930]; in The National Gallery of Canada).
55. These theories were common in theosophic and Oriental mystical teachings. See discussion of Lawren Harris's abstracts below, pp. 76 – 77.
56. Telephone conversation with John Aveson, Vancouver, 18 November 1973.
57. Donald Buchanan defines dhârâna as a 'Buddhist term signifying the power to project oneself into one's surroundings.' See Donald Buchanan, 'The Paintings and Drawings of F.H. Varley,' Canadian Art, vol. VII, no. 1 (Autumn 1949), p. 3. The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'dharna' as a 'Hindi term for the act of sitting in restraint' and 'sitting dharna' as 'a mode of extorting payment or compliance with a demand, effected by the complainant or creditor sitting at the debtor's door without tasting food till his demand shall be complied with.'
58. Interview with Philip Surrey, Montreal, 14 September 1973.
60. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 9 April 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.
61. Reta Myers, 'In the Domain of Art,' Vancouver Daily Province (5 July 1931).
62. Mountain Landscape, Garibaldi Park (c. 1928, oil on canvas; 34 x 40 in., 86.4 x 101.6 cm) Power Corporation of Canada, Limited, Montreal. See Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven, p. 225 repr. This work was formerly in the collection of John Vanderpant.
63. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, l0 January 1932; private property.
64. Grace Melvin, Charles Scott's sister-in-law, had joined the staff in 1927, teaching design and crafts. ('Grace Melvin,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, 27 May 1933.)
65. Charles Scott, Vancouver, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 10 October 1933; in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
66. Fred Varley, Vancouver, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 5 April 1933; in The National Gallery of Canada. The name originally considered for the new school was 'National Art School of British Columbia.'
67. Prospectus. Täuber also studied under a professor 'Hoffman,' probably Josef Hoffmann (1870 – 1955), the noted Viennese Art Nouveau architect.
68. Interview with Isabel Wintemute, Vancouver, 17 November 1973.
69. Reta Myers, 'In the Domain of Art,' Vancouver Daily Province (24 January 1932).
70. Harry Täuber was a student of anthroposophy, an outgrowth of theosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner when he broke away from the Theosophical Society directed by Annie Besant.
72. Fred Varley, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 16 April 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.
73. H.E. Torey, 'Where East Meets West,' Saturday Night, vol. xlix, no. 24 (21 April 1934), p. 10.
74. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 29 December 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada. The school closed during the summer of 1935.
75. Conversation with Barbara Macdonald, Toronto, 16 October 1973. Harry Täuber and Les Planta later moved to Duncan, B.C. See J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to John Varley, [Nootka?], 8 December 1936; copy in the Burnaby Art Gallery.
76. 'Recent Nootka Sketches at Art Emporium,' Vancouver Daily Province, 1 February 1936.
77. J.W.G. Macdonald, Nootka, to A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, 28 August 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
78. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 29 December 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
79. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 22 July 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
80. Formative Colour Activity (1934, oil on canvas; 30-3/8 x 26-1/8 in., 77.1 x 66.4 cm) The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. See R. Ann Pollock and Dennis Reid, Jock Macdonald (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1969), p. 36 repr.
81. J.W.G. Macdonald, Toronto, to Maxwell Bates, [Calgary?], 30 July 1956; in The McCord Museum, McGill University.
82. William Firth MacGregor, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 21 April 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
83. A.S. Grigsby, Secretary, The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 4 May 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
84. 'Things are exceedingly difficult – so difficult in fact that it appears likely that I will leave Canada for further south,' J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 12 August 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
85. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 23 October 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
87. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 16 June 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
88. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 7 September 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
89. Nan Cheney, Vancouver, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 23 January 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada. The hotel, a victim of the Depression, had been left uncompleted and closed for seven years. For reproductions of the decorations in the hotel, see Robert Ayre, 'Murals in Our Public Buildings,' Saturday Night, vol. LV, no. 30 (25 May 1940), p. 2.
90. J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to John Varley, Ottawa, 9 September 1939; copy in The Burnaby Art Gallery.
91 .J.W.G. Macdonald, Vancouver, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 2 December 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada.
92. Fred Varley, Upper Lynn (B.C.), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 7 December 1935; in The National Gallery of Canada.93. Fred Varley, Upper Lynn (B.C.), to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 23 February 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
94. A.Y. Jackson, Montreal, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 22 August 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
95. Telegram, Fred Varley, Field (B.C.), to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 10 October 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
96. Philip Surrey, Montreal, to John Vanderpant,Vancouver, 23 April 1937; private property.
97. Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, from 26 May 1937, Frederick H. Varley, A.R.C.A.
98. Interview with Philip Surrey, Montreal, 14 September 1973.
99. Fred Varley, Upper Lynn (B.C.), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 30 August 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
100. Fred Varley, Ottawa, to John Vanderpant, Vancouver, 5 November 1937; private property.
101. Charles Camsell, Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources, Ottawa, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 1 July 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
Most Canadian artists during the thirties concentrated in the large urban centres – like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver – where they could associate with other artists, see exhibitions, and participate in current events. However, there were some, such as LeMoine FitzGerald and David Milne, who consciously maintained or sought out isolation from the mainstream to allow themselves to develop along more integrally personal lines. After leaving for the United States, Lawren Harris's painting also evolved in directions quite distinct from anything in Canada.
After five months at the Art Students League in New York under Boardman Robinson and Kenneth Hayes Miller, LeMoine FitzGerald returned to Winnipeg and in the fall of 1924 joined the staff of the Winnipeg School of Art, becoming its principal five years later. 1 Sometime during the late twenties FitzGerald came into contact with the Group of Seven, 2 a relationship strengthened by Bertram Brooker, a native Winnipegger and close friend of the Group. An exhibition of FitzGerald's drawings at Dent's Publishing House in Toronto was greatly admired by Lawren Harris who purchased one of the drawings 3 – a purchase that resulted in an invitation to exhibit in the Group show in 1930. That same year FitzGerald went east and for the first time met several of the Toronto artists. 4 In March 1932 Arthur Lismer visited FitzGerald in Winnipeg during his cross-country lecture tour, and Lismer was made aware of the provincialism of the Group's concept of a Canadian identity. 5 The quality and direction of FitzGerald's work, as well as the need to broaden the geographic base of the Group, were the deciding factors in inviting FitzGerald to become a member of the Group of Seven. While, as a member, he exhibited with them only in one private show, 6 he was 'pleased to feel a definite connection' 7 with the Eastern artists.
FitzGerald remained an isolated figure in Winnipeg all during the thirties, making only two trips outside Manitoba, both in connection with his work at the School. His tour of the United States and Central Canada in 1930 was made to report on art-education facilities in the different centres. 8 In 1938 he went east again to locate a new assistant. 9 FitzGerald, however, recognized certain advantages to his separation: 'It seems impossible for the artist to attain any height without sacrificing at least a little of the ordinary necessities, not to mention the loss of ordinary social contact, that are so essential to others. The desire to create something . . . fills the artist's mind, and to do this requires time for active work and quiet thought.' 10
At the same time FitzGerald's teaching duties left him little time to paint; Doc Snider' s House (1931, cat. no. 42), completed in 1931, the result of two winters' work, 11 was the last large canvas he painted for many years. While occasionally he resented the lack of time, he wrote, 'It is necessary to earn a living, but much better to find some other forms of activity to cover that than to sacrifice the real joy of having given full rein to the power that has been given you. I think the person born with a real art sense usually manages to scramble through the material side and keep a certain healthy attitude to the real thing.' 12
FitzGerald's concern for qualities of light, colour, and texture, seen in his Impressionist canvases of the early twenties, continues in his later work. He slowly breaks away from atmospheric rendering, and the light, instead of blending the compositional elements, isolates them, stressing their formal relationships. In Doc Snider's House the trees become plastic units revolving in an elliptical motion within the blue-white space of the yard. The contrasting straight and curved lines and closed and open spaces are unified by the muted colouring, limited to browns and blues – with a touch of pale green in the house at the right.
While the texture of the snow in Doc Snider's House still owes something to Lawren Harris, the careful brushwork of Farm Yard (1931; cat. no. 43) is very much FitzGerald's own. Applied thinly, layer over layer, the dry paint has almost the quality of a bas relief, intensifying the internal structure of each of the forms. The compositional elements interrelate in a complex schema of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal lines. While most of the canvas is painted in bleached tones of similar values, a subtle richness is added by the green on the boards at the left and faint purples in the shadows on the barn.
In Broken Tree in Landscape (1931, cat. no. 44), the rich greens and blues of the shadows seem to vibrate in intensity – in contrast to his usual delicate colouring, seen in the clearing and trees. While FitzGerald still creates a complex spatial arrangement of line and form, the shapes are softer, the stylized foliage almost like air-filled cotton, and the splintered tree smoothly honed.
FitzGerald's approach to his art demanded 'a greater emphasis on study than on picture-making alone.' 13 In countless studies in pencil and oil he would work out each detail of the picture, building up the form and studying the relation of the elements to each other before uniting them in the finished work.
These formal concerns owe a great deal to his interest in the work of the Pointillist Seurat. Visiting the Chicago Art Institute in 1930, FitzGerald commented on the 'great feeling of reality' he found in Seurat's A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte and the beauty and 'alive' quality of his drawings. 14 Another artist who interested FitzGerald was the American Precisionist Charles Sheeler. 15 Sheeler's tonal colouring and careful rendering of simplified form studied under strong sunlight find their parallel in FitzGerald's work. However, whereas Sheeler's themes are mechanical and functional objects, FitzGerald confines himself to more natural surroundings. Less concerned with the final result than with the study itself, FitzGerald produced few completed paintings – thereby occasioning plaintive letters from the East requesting works for exhibition. He replied, 'I find it very difficult to keep up with the shows. I seem to require so much time to do even a small drawing that I only get through a very few things during the year even though I am working all the spare time I have.' l6 To an expressed preference for oils over drawings, he answered, 'For the time being the drawings seem to satisfy my desire to create and I am egotist enough to think that some of them are darn fine things with just as much in them as any painting I have done.' 17
Concentrating his studies resulted in periods when he preferred to work in only one medium, almost to the exclusion of any other. The oils of the early thirties were replaced by drawings as he became more and more interested in drawing in increasingly subtle relationships. Oil became almost too rich a medium for him: 'Recently I have had a peculiar feeling . . . . It has almost amounted to a physical nausea at the thought of looking at paintings by the wholesale.' 18
In The Pool (1934, cat. no. 45), one of the few oils of the mid-thirties, the linear interaction of verticals, parabolas, and ellipses reflect his predominant interest in drawing. The paint is applied in thin, short strokes and flecked at the edges – creating a series of concentric lines echoing the curves of the reeds. The linear quality of the paint is so strong the reeds appear almost as if incised. At the same time, the texture, gently curving horizontals, and subtle colouring of the trees and clouds reflected in the water give the work a richness and complexity beyond two-dimensional pattern.
FitzGerald's increasing interest in geometric relationships is seen also in Jar (1938, cat. no. 46). As usual in his still-lifes, he confines himself to one or two objects chosen for their elementary contours and formally juxtaposed with each other and within the whole environment. The abrupt perspective flattens the jar, accentuating the smooth curves to the mouth, contrasting with the enclosing diagonals. The intersecting lines in the upper left are almost Constructivist in the subtlety of their minimal forms. The flecked stroke gives a solidity to the individual elements and an overall surface unity.
It is evident that these formal studies would eventually lead to pure abstraction. However, several years earlier FitzGerald had discarded that possibility. After talking with a friend, FitzGerald wrote in his journal, '[We] agreed on the feeling that [the] purely abstract has a tendency to lose contact with the living thing . . . and that the move today is rather a swing towards . . . an eternal contact with humanity and nature and a greater sense of unity.' 19 The Realism of Courbet held more attraction for him at this time, and it was only much later, in the early fifties, that he would make the break.
FitzGerald's art is a steady progress in the study of formal relationships. While choosing places and objects familiar to him, he was, unlike the rest of the Group of Seven, convinced that subject matter was essentially unimportant. For him it was more important to make 'the picture a living thing, one great thought made up of many details but all subordinated to the whole.' 20
FitzGerald's interests find their parallel in an artist quite similar yet at the same time quite different in expression, David Milne. After having lived in New York State for twenty-five years, Milne returned to Canada in the spring of 1929, first settling at Temagami 21 and in the fall moved to Weston, just outside Toronto. 22 The following spring he moved to Palgrave, Ontario, 23 where he was to remain for three years.
During his first two years in Canada, Milne re-established contact with The National Gallery, sized up the Canadian art scene, and sought exhibition outlets. He only made his first sale in Canada in 1931 when Vincent Massey purchased his painting, Window. 24
As it was for FitzGerald, 'for David Milne the process of art, not the content of it, was paramount.' 25 Milne wrote, 'Do you like flowers? So do I, but I never paint them. I didn't even see the hepaticas. I saw, instead, an arrangement of the lines, spaces, hues, values and relations that I habitually use. That is, I saw one of my own pictures, a little different from ones done before, changed slightly, very slightly, by what I saw before me.' 26
Milne used words as a part of the process to concentrate his vision. 27 First there were notes on the pictures as they were painted, 'a half-way technical analysis of each sketch, with some extensions into the theory of painting in general, and occasional notings of weather, incidents and thoughts outside the strictly painting thing,' 28 – points of reference for future work. The other method Milne called 'the inventory method,' a verbal inventory of his immediate environment: 'The point of it is in the everything. Not merely things you would usually see but things so simple that you wouldn't ordinarily think of them.' 29
His actual painting method is admirably described in his letter to his friend James Clarke in New York: the choice of elements, the arrangement, at first 'purely observation and reason,' the first drawing with his brush, something catches, his interest heightens, then the brushing in of colour and values, the adding and subtracting, all at a feverish pitch. 30
David Milne's Palgrave landscapes are studies in line and separation of value and hue. 'All line is put in detail first – though the rest is planned at the same time – then is made readable, simplified by emphasis and reduction with values and hues or by simplifying the arrangement of the line itself.' 31 In Blind Road (1930, cat. no. 47) the lines create a complex of open and shut spaces relieved by the blank space above. In Splendour Touches Hiram's Farm (1932, cat. no. 48) the hues are higher in intensity, there are fewer open spaces, demanding a larger rest area above. The contrast of values, with a limited number of hues, gives the 'kick.'
In Palgrave (I) (1931, cat. no. 49) he reverses the motifs, from a serene, empty sky and detailed landscape to a concentration on the upper part of the picture, with the earth becoming a 'foil for the sky.' 32 However, unlike the other Palgrave pictures, it is the contrast of hues, and not blank spaces, that plays against the sky. 'The thing that "makes" a picture,' he remarked, 'is the thing that "makes" dynamite – compression. It isn't a fire in the grass, it is an explosion.' 33
From a painting point-of-view, David Milne's time at Palgrave was extremely productive; however, economically it was difficult. Tensions at home, aggravated by financial constraints, resulted in his separating from his wife and moving to Six Mile Lake near Severn Falls, Ontario, in May 1933. 34
Having no contacts with other Canadian artists at this time, David Milne was unable to exhibit with the Canadian Group of Painters, the main outlet for 'modern' work in oil. 35 Hampered by lack of funds, he could not risk shipping paintings to exhibitions where they might be rejected by juries. 36 Without exhibitions, there were no sales. He began to consider the possibility of selling all the pictures he had ever painted – '$5,000 for a lifetime's work' 37 – and finally approached the Vincent Masseys, the only Canadian collectors he knew. The arrangement as finally agreed upon was the purchase by the Masseys of all his work painted in the last five years, with a few earlier works he had brought to Canada with him. 38 The Masseys also arranged for an exhibition of Milne's work at Mellors Galleries in Toronto, 39 the first one to be followed by annual exhibitions during the next three years. 40 Through the Masseys and the Mellors exhibitions Milne soon came in contact with several people who were to be extremely important in his life.
Milne decided to live in the country, isolated from other artists, partly for economic reasons but, more importantly, to allow himself the time to concentrate on the thing that interested him most, his painting. Like FitzGerald, Milne's art depended on the formulation and solution of certain formal, artistic problems and the consistent development and concentration of his inner self. For this, time and space were needed, not social contacts or change of scene. However, the few personal connections he did have, and especially his correspondence with these people, were important to him. They allowed him to share his observations about Canadian art and theorize about art with persons on an equal level in a creative dialogue. Over the next few years his correspondence with his American associate, James Clarke, diminished as he developed new contacts and friends in Canada.
Donald Buchanan first saw Milne's work at the Masseys' house in Port Hope and in October 1934 visited Milne at Six Mile Lake. 41 Articulate about art and aware of contemporary developments seen through the writings of the aestheticians Clive Bell and Roger Fry, Buchanan struck up a close friendship with David Milne, as witnessed by their correspondence over the next few years. Donald Buchanan wrote the introduction to the catalogue of the first Mellors exhibition 42 and several excellent articles which at last brought Milne to public attention. 43
Douglas Duncan and Alan Jarvis first saw Milne's work at Mellors Galleries in 1934, and the next summer visited him at Six Mile Lake. 44 Douglas Duncan was completely captivated by both Milne and his work, and over the years did more than any one else to establish his reputation. At first, he arranged private sales of Milne's works, and after that an exhibition of his drypoints, 45 as these were not covered by the contract with Mellors Galleries.
The arrangement between Mellors Galleries and David Milne had originally been made by Mrs Massey for the sale of works from the 1934 purchase, with any profit going to buy works by contemporary Canadian artists. The contract was renewed after the Masseys left for England, with Milne sending more recent works to be included in the exhibitions. However, when he finally asked for an accounting of the costs and profits he found that he had lost money on the arrangement. 46 He then left Mellors and joined the Picture Loan Society.
Through Douglas Duncan, David Milne met some of the younger Toronto artists, including Will Ogilvie and Carl Schaefer. He also met Alan Plaunt, a collector of contemporary Canadian art and one of the persons instrumental in the creation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 47 Douglas also interested J.S. McLean, President of Canada Packers and a noted collector, in Milne's work and resultant sales finally guaranteed Milne some economic security.
When Milne first moved to Six Mile Lake in 1933 there was a period of adaptation from the 'open skies of Palgrave to the closed in material of the bush.' 48 New material stimulated new methods. Instead of concentrating on line, value, and hue, he would now use a colour where before he would use a value. He would work up a painting in his shack rather than completing it at one sitting at the site. He no longer painted several versions of one motif, but sought out a variety of subjects around his camp. In Young Poplars Among Driftwood (1937, cat. no. 50) he still uses the blank space as a resting area to contrast with the cluttered space below. However, the brushwork is freer and broader, building up the forms from the inside in an almost painterly manner. The few hues are all of a similar intensity.
The still-lifes of the mid-thirties, starting with Raspberry Jam (1936, cat. no. 51) were, as Milne called them, studies in progression, across the canvas in a measured beat, in this case from black to light blue by way of red, grey, and green. 49 A similar progression is seen in Red Nasturtiums (1937, cat. no. 52), from areas of brilliant colour to black-white areas, with black unifying the whole. He still confines himself to a few hues at maximum intensity, swiftly laid on against the white paper, which is itself incorporated as a hue.
Milne started painting in watercolour again during the summer of 1937, attracted by the decisiveness and immediacy of the medium and he confined himself almost totally to watercolour for the next few years. 50 In 1939 he moved from Six Mile Lake to Toronto and then to Uxbridge. As usual, a change in place resulted in a change in colour, form, and theme in his work of the forties.
Lawren Harris arrived in Hanover, New Hampshire, in November 1934, originally intending to stay only a few months; 51 however, the sympathetic atmosphere of Dartmouth College, the White Mountains nearby, and the accessibility of New York City convinced him to remain. Freed from a difficult personal situation in Toronto, newly married, and in a congenial environment, he began to paint again.
Drawings made on sketching trips to the White Mountains were reworked in his studio through successive stages of abstraction 52 and then transferred to canvas. In studies of wood-grain patterns, rock formations, and mountain landscapes, he sought a form of abstract expression derived from natural elements.
Both Riven Earth I (c. 1936, cat. no. 53) and Resolution (c. 1937, cat. no. 54) retain definite landscape references. Riven Earth I relates compositionally to certain Lake Superior canvases as well as to a symbolic, though representational, landscape of 1935 entitled Winter Comes from the Arctic to the Temperate Zone. 53 Resolution's vertical format and conical peaks refer to the later Rocky Mountain paintings. 54 However, Lawren Harris was not merely attempting to create geometricized landscapes.
In his 1948 statement on abstraction he defined two categories: 'One kind is derived from the accumulated experience of nature over many years. In these the endeavor is to embody and concentrate this accumulated experience in organization of line, mass and colour in such a way that they express the motivating spirit in nature . . . .The second kind of abstractions aim at statements of ideas and intimations of a philosophic kind in plastic, aesthetic and emotive terms.' 55 Both Riven Earth I and Resolution fall somewhere between the two categories. They express not only the experience of nature, be it open arctic spaces or soaring mountains heights, but Lawren Harris's theosophic interpretation of these places and experiences.
The similarities between Riven Earth I and Winter Comes from the Arctic to the Temperate Zone 56 naturally suggest his belief in the 'spiritual flow' from the North 'that will ever shed clarity into the growing race of America.' 57 The mountains were also seen as spiritual centres in theosophic teachings; and the waves emanating from the base of the 'peak' possibly refer to these energies, in a depiction curiously similar to Bertram Brooker's early abstractions. However, the inscription on the back of the stretcher implies a more complex symbolism: RESOLUTION / INTERLOCKING FORMS – SYMBOL OF STEADFASTNESS, COURAGE. 58
Without further research, it is difficult to determine to what extent Lawren Harris had formulated a system of symbolic form and colour. He was familiar with the work of Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian, 59 both of whom had developed their abstractions with the aid of theosophy. 60 One of the sources of Kandinsky's analysis of form and colour, Thought Forms by Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, 61 had been reviewed in The Canadian Theosophist at the time of the book's second printing. The anonymous critic wrote, 'It is difficult to suppose that the shapes and images of either psychic or artistic imagination shall always be standard conceptions by which we might recognize these aspects of the karmic nature which they are intended to represent. . . though the colours may more nearly represent the reality.' 62
It is possible that Lawren Harris had already in his arctic landscapes adopted certain aspects of the theosophic colour symbolism as interpreted by Kandinsky: 63 blue expressing the desire for purity and transcendence, the call to the infinite; yellow, a more typically earthly colour; and white, purity and stillness pregnant with potentialities. In Riven Earth I the spiritual blues and whites rise above the browns and yellows of the foreground elements. In Resolution the green-grey in the background and black of the 'shadow' crowning the triangular 'peak' are both colours of rest, immobility, and death – silence with no potentialities. 64
Lawren Harris first exhibited his abstracts in the Canadian Group of Painters exhibition in 1937, 65 and again in 1939. 66 The general reaction had been anticipated in an article by Arthur Lismer: 'the artist turns from the world of other men's making and goes to the vast unexplored world of abstract thought, psychological and metaphysical, where the emotional and scientific union of intellect and speculation releases the spirit into lands less forlorn, into a world of order and mathematical divination but which takes from him all contact with his fellow men into a stratosphere of rarified purity of design and colour.' 67 Other reviewers echoed this criticism of Harris's apparent rejection of humanity, 68 to which Harris replied, 'many folks have the idea that so-called abstract art is not in terms of Humanity. This, because most folks don't know its language and therefore mistake their limitations for infallible criteria.' 69 Not surprisingly his abstractions were not included in any of the Canadian representations in international art exhibitions, not even in the Canadian art section of the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition (1939) which Harris himself organized. 70
During the spring and summer of 1938, Lawren and Bess Harris had made a motor trip to New Mexico to explore the possibilities of settling there, 71 returning to Maine in July. 72 While in Santa Fe, they met Raymond Jonson who was in the process of organizing a group of abstract artists and Lawren Harris was invited to join them. 73 Harris moved to New Mexico in September. 74
The Transcendental Painting Group was organized during the summer of 1938 while Lawren Harris was still in Maine. 75 Recognizing its roots in the art of Kandinsky, the new group sought to promote an art that expressed 'the immaterial by means of material substances,' 76 and 'to carry painting beyond the appearance of the physical world . . . to imaginative realms that are idealistic and spiritual.' 77 The seal of the group was a stylized butterfly symbolizing metamorphosis, 'the constant renewal of forms toward a higher, freer, always transcendant life.' 78 The painter's group, primarily an exhibiting organization, had an educational adjunct in the American Foundation for Transcendental Painting. With Lawren Harris as the first president, its aims were to protect, preserve, and promote transcendental painting. 79 Exhibitions were organized in Santa Fe and Albuquerque and paintings by members were included in the state representations at the New York World's Fair 80 and the San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition. Works sent to the Guggenheim Museum in New York 81 were included in two exhibitions of 'Non-Objective Painters.' 82
Lawren Harris's Santa Fe works show an increasing maturity and familiarity with 'non-representational' painting. In White Triangle (c. 1939, cat. no. 55) he avoids all representational references. The complex interaction of directional lines and overlapping forms gives the central motif a solid feeling of three-dimensionality and weight floating in a glowing atmosphere of white and blue. The theosophic triangle, painted in white, the colour of joy, purity, and silence, symbolizes the three principles of spirit, force, and matter.
It is probable that Lawren Harris was experimenting with dynamic symmetry at this time. Dynamic symmetry, 'a mathematical system of composition . . . based on the relationship of the diagonal to the sides of a rectangle,' 83 was derived by its author, Jay Hambidge, 84 from a study of ancient Egyptian painting and Greek vases. 85 This system purported to be a compositional aid in the solution of space problems and was popular in the United States during the twenties, being used by such artists as George Bellows, Robert Henri, and Leon Kroll. 86 Franz Johnston, one of the original Group of Seven, used it from the mid-twenties 87 and it was taught at the Roerich art school in New York. 88 Emil Bisttram, one of the members of the Transcendental Painting Group, was an authority on dynamic symmetry, 89 and Bess Harris studied it with Bisttram while in New Mexico. 90 Certain aspects of the system, such as the concept of a mathematical 'law' derived from ancient sources, would appeal to Lawren Harris's theosophic interests.
Lawren Harris enjoyed New Mexico, the purity of its air, the altitude, and the convivial surroundings, as well as his involvement with the Transcendental painters. He had no plans to return to Canada. However, with the outbreak of the Second World War, the Canadian government blocked the export of funds from Canada, and he had to leave. 91 He visited Vancouver in October 1940 92 and decided to stay the winter. 93 He was to remain there for the next thirty years.
1. L.L. FitzGerald, Chronology (dated 1953), in his 'Journal'; private property. He attended classes at the Art Students League from November 1921 to March 1922.
2. The earliest extant correspondence between FitzGerald and any member of the Group is a letter from J.E.H. MacDonald dated 10 February 1928; private property.
3. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 28 December 1929; private property.
4. FitzGerald kept a diary of this trip which, however, does not include the period of his visit to Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. In the 1953 chronology he notes these stops. Lawren Harris later wrote FitzGerald regretting having missed him during his visit to Toronto. (Lawren Harris, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 23 November 1930; private property.)
5. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 21 April 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.
6. An exhibition of works by the Group of Seven was held in Hart House at the University of Toronto in December 1932. See Chap. I, n. 32.
7. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 6 July 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.
8. L.L. FitzGerald, Chronology, in his 'Journal'; private property. On this trip he visited Minneapolis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto.
9. Idem. On this trip he visited Ottawa and Toronto.
10. From unpublished notes quoted in Ferdinand Eckhardt, L.L. FitzGerald 1890 – 1956. A Memorial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue) (Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1958).
11. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 18 March 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
12. From unpublished notes quoted in Ferdinand Eckhardt, op. cit.
14. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal,' entry for 7 June 1930; private property.
16. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 22 April 1936; in The National Gallery of Canada.
17. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 18 March 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
18. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Bertram Brooker, [Toronto], 17 June 1935; property Estate of M.A. Brooker.
19. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal,' entry for 29 June 1930; private property.
21. David Milne, Weston, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, [October 1929]; in The National Gallery of Canada.
23. David Milne, Palgrave, to James Clarke, [Yonkers, N.Y.], 27 May 1930; in the Public Archives of Canada.
24. David Milne, Palgrave, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 23 February 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada. See also Vincent Massey, What's Past is Prologue (Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1963), p. 88.
25. David Silcox, 'Introduction,' David Milne 1882 – 1953 (exhibition catalogue) (Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1967).
26. Exhibition of Little Pictures by David B. Milne (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: Mellors Galleries, 1936).
27. Emily Carr used words in a similar way. 'It seems to me it helps to write things and thoughts down. It makes the unworthy ones look more shamefaced and helps to place the better ones for sure in our minds. It sorts out jumbled up thoughts and helps to clarify them, and I want my thoughts clear and straight for my work.' (Emily Carr, Hundreds & Thousands [Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1966], p. 20.)
28. David Milne, Big Moose (N.Y.), to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 13 November 1927; in the Public Archives of Canada.
30. David Milne, Temagami, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 21 June 1929; in the Public Archives of Canada, published in David Silcox, David Milne (1882 – 1953) A Survey Exhibition (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: Galerie Godard Lefort, 1971).
31. David Milne, Palgrave, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 17 March 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada.
32. David Milne, Palgrave, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 10 April 1932; in the Public Archives of Canada.
33. David Milne to Donald Buchanan, quoted in Donald W. Buchanan, 'David Milne as I Knew Him,' Canadian Art, vol. XI, no. 3 (Spring 1954), p. 90.
34. David Milne, Severn Park, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 February 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.
35. As with the Group of Seven, artists could exhibit with the Canadian Group of Painters by invitation only.
36. David Milne, Severn Park, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 February 1934; in The National Gallery of Canada.
37. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 14 June  (continued 28 June); in the Public Archives of Canada.
38. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 22 November 1934; in the Public Archives of Canada.
39. Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 27 November – 8 December 1934, Exhibition of Paintings by David B. Milne. This exhibition was also sent to James Wilson & Company in Ottawa and W. Scott & Sons in Montreal.
40. Toronto, Mellors Galleries, through November , Exhibition of Paintings by David B. Milne; Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 24 October – 7 November 1936, Exhibition of Little Pictures by David B. Milne; Toronto, Mellors Galleries, 15 – 29 January 1938, Exhibition of Recent Pictures by David B. Milne.
41. H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, to Mrs Vincent Massey, Port Hope, 25 October 1934; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
42. Donald W. Buchanan, Ottawa, to David B. Milne, Severn Park, 30 October 1934; property of David Milne, Jr, Toronto.
43. Donald W. Buchanan, 'Milne – An Artist In a Forest Hut,' Lethbridge Herald (2 November 1934); Donald W. Buchanan, 'An Artist Who Lives In The Woods,' Saturday Night, vol. L, no. 4 (1 December 1934), p. 2; Donald W. Buchanan, 'David Milne,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xv, no. 173 (February 1935), pp. 191 – 193.
44. Alan Jarvis, 'Douglas Duncan,' in Pierre Théberge, Gift from the Douglas M. Duncan Collection and the Milne-Duncan Bequest (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971), p. 28. Reprinted in Alan Jarvis, ed., Douglas Duncan A Memorial Portrait (Buffalo, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), p. 10.
45. Toronto, Picture Loan Society, 10 – 24 December , Exhibition of Colour Drypoints by David B. Milne.
46. David Milne, Severn Park, to Mr and Mrs Massey, London, 1 September 1938; in the Public Archives of Canada.
47. Alan Plaunt and his wife, now Mrs Dyde, were important collectors and supporters of contemporary Canadian art in the late thirties, before his early death in 1941. See J.F.B. Livesay, 'Alan Plaunt, An Appreciation,' The Ottawa Journal (15 September 1941).
48. David Milne, Severn Park, to James Clarke, Yonkers (N.Y.), 11 June 1933; in the Public Archives of Canada.
49. David Milne, Severn Park, to Graham C. McInnes, Toronto, 16 February 1938; in the Public Archives of Canada.
50. David Milne, Toronto, to Donald Buchanan, [Ottawa?], 14 January 1940; in The National Gallery of Canada.
51. Bess Harris, Hanover, to Doris Spiers, [Toronto?], 14 November 1934; property of Doris Spiers, Pickering (Ontario).
52. A number of these New Hampshire drawings are in the collection of the artist's son, Howard Harris, Vancouver.
53. Bess Harris and R.G.P. Colgrove, Lawren Harris (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1969), p. 97 repr.
54. An abstraction by Lawren Harris of about the same date and similar composition is entitled Mountain Experience (Collection of the University of Manitoba Library, Winnipeg). See 'Art on the Campus, 'The Alumni Journal / University of Manitoba, vol. 23, no. 4. (Summer 1963), p. 8 repr. (cropped).
55. Quoted in Sydney Key, 'The Paintings,' Lawren Harris Paintings 1910 – 1948 (exhibition catalogue) (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, October 1948), p. 32. In later essays Lawren Harris expanded these categories to three and then four. However, as this was his earliest statement and apparently referred to his own summation of his development to that date, I shall only refer to these two categories.
56. The arctic reference of Riven Earth I is confirmed by hanging icicles in Riven Earth II in the collection of Mrs Charles S. Band, Toronto. (Bess Harris and R.G.P. Colgrove, op. cit., p. 108 repr.)
57. Lawren S. Harris, 'Revelation of Art in Canada,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VII, no. 5 (15 July 1926), p. 86.
58. My thanks to Peter Larisey for informing me of this inscription.
59. Both artists had works included in the International Exhibition of Modern Art, assembled by the Société Anonyme and brought to Toronto by Lawren Harris and exhibited at The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1 – 24 April 1927. Kandinsky had three works: Whimsical Line, Gaiety (repr. cat.), and Rote Tiefe. Mondrian had two works: Clarification I and Clarification II.
60. Sixten Ringbom, 'Art in "The Epoch of the Great Spiritual." Occult Elements in the Early Theory of Abstract Painting,' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, vol. 29 (1966), pp. 386 – 418. Robert P. Welsh, 'Mondrian and Theosophy,' in Piet Mondrian 1872 – 1944 (exhibition catalogue) (New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1971), pp. 35 – 51.
61. Annie Besant and C.W. Leadbeater, Thought Forms (Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, 1925). One of the artists who illustrated the original 1901 edition of this book was John Varley, a follower of Madame Blavatsky, and probably a relative of Fred Varley.
62. 'Thought Forms,' The Canadian Theosophist, vol. VII, no. 4 (15 June 1926), p. 77. My thanks to Dennis Reid for bringing this and the article by Sixten Ringbom to my attention.
63. In the artist's library, presently the property of his children, is a book by Oskar Rainer, Musikalische Graphik. Studien und Versuche über die Wechselbeziehungen Zwischen Ton und Farbharmonien (Musical Art. Studies and Experiments in the Interlations Between Tone and Colour Harmonies) (Vienna, Leipzig, New York: Deutscher Verlag für Jungen und Volk Gessellschaft, 1925).
64. Wassily Kandinsky, trans. Michael Sadleir, adapt. Francis Golffing and others, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (New York: George Wittenborn, Inc., 1947), p. 58 – 61.
65. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, November 1937, Canadian Group of Painters. Exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, January 1938.
66. Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, November 1939, Canadian Group of Painters. Exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, January 1940.
67. Arthur Lismer, 'Art in a Changing World,' Canadian Comment, vol. IV, no. 2 (February 1935), p. 23.
68. Graham McInnes, 'Upstart Crows,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 184 (May 1936), p. 16.
69. Quoted in Fred Housser, Toronto, to Arthur Lismer, South Africa, 20 July 1936; in The McMichael Canadian Collection.
70. San Francisco Golden Gate International Exposition (1939), Contemporary Art. Lawren Harris did exhibit an abstract in the United States section of the exhibition (no. 169, Composition) .
71. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 14 February ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
72. Lawren Harris, Prout's Neck (Maine), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 28 July 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
73. Raymond Jonson, Albuquerque (N.M.), to Peter Larisey, Ottawa, 14 November 1973; property of Peter Larisey, Ottawa. My thanks to Peter Larisey for making this letter available to me and for his extensive assistance with my research into Lawren Harris's work in the United States.
74. Lawren Harris, St. Catharines (Ont.), to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 23 September 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada. Lawren Harris returned to Santa Fe via Montreal where he had his portrait painted by Lilias Newton (A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 3 August 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.)
75. Alfred Morang, 'The Transcendental Painting Group,' Santa Fe The New Mexico Daily Examiner (21 August 1938), Magazine Section, p. 3. The Group was founded on 10 June 1938. Lawren Harris is not listed as a member in this article.
76. Idem. This article, written by a supporter of the Group, is interesting for its rejection of theosophy and its linking of mystical cultures with the rise of fascism.
77. Transcendental Painting Group, pamphlet, n.d. Members listed inelude Raymond Jonson (Chairman), Bill Lumpkins (Secretary Treasurer), and Lawren Harris from Santa Fe, Emil Bisttram, Robert Gribbrock, Florence Miller, and H. Towner Pierce from Taos, Agnes Pelton from Cathedral City, California, and Stuart Walker from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
78. 'The Transcendental Movement Opens a New Period in the American Arts,' Santa Fe The New Mexico Daily Examiner (21 August 1938), Magazine Section, p. 3.
79. Alfred Morang, Transcendental Painting (Santa Fe: American Foundation for Transcendental Painting, Inc., August 1940).
80. New York, World's Fair, 1939, American Art Today (exhibition catalogue). Lawren Harris exhibited Composition No. 10 (no. 211 , repr. p. 92).
81. Alfred Morang, 'Transcendental Painting Group Invited to Send Examples to Guggenheim,' Santa Fe New Mexican (11 April 1940).
82. New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, 14 May – 27 June 1940, Twelve American Non-Objective Painters; New York, Museum of Non-Objective Painting, 6 August – 30 September 1940, Six American Non-Objective Painters.
83. Milton W. Brown, American Painting from the Armory Show to the Depression (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1955), p. 164.
84. Jay Hambidge was born in Canada and was a close friend of C.W. Jefferys ('Hambidge Dead, But Left A Great Legacy,' Toronto Daily Star, 1 February 1924).
85. Jay Hambidge wrote several books on dynamic symmetry, the first being Dynamic Symmetry (Boston: n.p., 1919).
86. Milton W. Brown, op. cit., p. 164.
87. 'Johnston Never Member of the Group of Seven Is Exponent of Dynamic Symmetry,' Toronto The Star Weekly (11 October 1924).
88. L.L. FitzGerald, 'Journal', entry for 19 June 1930; private property.
89. Raymond Jonson, Albuquerque (N.M.), to Peter Larisey, Ottawa, 14 November 1973; property of Peter Larisey, Ottawa.
90. Bess Harris, Santa Fe, to Doris Spiers, [Toronto?], 19 February 1939; property of Doris Spiers, Pickering.
91. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 19 November ; private property.
92. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Nan Cheney, Vancouver, 13 October ; in The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
93. Lawren S. Harris, Toronto, to Raymond Jonson, Santa Fe, 28 November 1940; in the Jonson Archives, Jonson Gallery, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M. This correspondence is also on microfilm in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. My thanks to Jean-René Ostiguy for making typescripts of this correspondence available to me.
While the Canadian Group of Painters was a national body and did offer young artists from across the country the opportunity to exhibit, it remained, during the thirties, a Toronto-dominated group. All organizational meetings and opening exhibitions were held in Toronto, the group's originators were Torontonians, and the Canadian Group was consciously identified as an expansion of the Toronto-based Group of Seven. This image survived the second Canadian exhibition in January 1936 with the addition of only one new member, André Biéler, to replace Thoreau MacDonald. 1 Tom Thomson's West Wind, according to Arthur Lismer, remained the symbol of the Group. 2
Lawren Harris's departure from Toronto was a great blow to the Toronto art community. 3 He had been a great stimulator and enthusiast and there was no one to replace him. Personal animosities within the Canadian Group, resulting from his divorce, aggravated the situation. 4 Moreover, his departure occurred at the same time as many artists were having severe financial difficulties, and it seemed doubly difficult to pick up again and go on. There was even hesitation to hold a meeting while the president, Lawren Harris, was in the States. 5
However, with the incorporation of the Canadian Group and the election of a new president, A.Y. Jackson, in 1936, 6 spirits began to revive. The Canadian Group finally fell into the hands of younger artists when Isabel McLaughlin was elected president in 1939. Anne Savage, Carl Schaefer, Charles Comfort, and George Pepper were elected to the executive. 7 Seven new artists were brought into the group in 1936, 8 and by 1942 the membership had expanded to forty-three. 9
The strongest Toronto artist to develop the Group tradition into an individual expression was Carl Schaefer. Born on a farm near Hanover, Ontario, of German ancestry, he was raised by his father and maternal grandparents. He entered the Ontario College of Art in 1921 during the early days of the Group of Seven, studying under Arthur Lismer and J.E.H. MacDonald. He later worked with MacDonald on the decorations for Saint Anne's Church, the Claridge Apartments, and the Concourse Building in Toronto – and was staff designer with the T. Eaton Company for about a year until he was let off with sixteen others (out of a staff of eighteen) in 1930, the first year of the Depression. 10 He then worked freelance doing lettering and layout for Brigden's Limited, Eaton's, and occasionally for J.E.H. MacDonald. In the fall of 1930 Peter Haworth, head of the art department at Central Technical High School in Toronto offered him half a day a week teaching printing. This was increased to a full day two years later. 11
While freelance commercial work was available in Toronto during the early thirties, pay was low. Schaefer was earning next to nothing teaching, and income from the sale of his art was pitifully low. With a family to support, he was unable to remain in Toronto the entire year, so from 1932 until he left for Vermont in 1940, he spent all his summers and Christmas holidays with his grandparents in Hanover. 12
From an early age, Schaefer had been imbued with a feeling for the land around Hanover and with a love of history. Through J.E.H. MacDonald he encountered the writings of Walt Whitman and Thoreau whose robust love of democracy and nature held a great appeal for him. Returning to Hanover year after year, Carl Schaefer interpreted the landscape in all its many moods and facets, becoming a 'regionalist' artist in the truest sense of the term.
Schaefer's early paintings retain strong elements of design derived from his decorating work and from his admiration for Lawren Harris. In Ontario Farmhouse (1934, cat. no. 56) the foreground wheat field leading the viewer's vision into the picture, and the light shafts, are reminiscent of Lawren Harris's work, even to his interest in early Ontario architecture. However, unlike Harris's more picturesque rundown urban homes, Schaefer's house becomes a symbol of survival in the face of adversity. The dead tree, a recurring image in Schaefer's work, symbolizes both destruction and regeneration affirmed by the glowing gold of the wheat.
Carl Schaefer's sensitivity to the regenerative qualities of nature is also apparent in Storm Over the Fields (1937, cat. no. 57). The heavy storm clouds, derived from J.E.H. MacDonald's work of the early twenties, menace the countryside, casting dark shadows over the earth; yet in its midst glows a golden field. From the potential destruction of the storm comes rain and growth. The same work shows Schaefer's increasing freedom with the painting medium, the greater fluidity stressing the rhythms and modulations of the land.
However, by 1937 Carl Schaefer was becoming increasingly interested in watercolour and was painting few oils. His first efforts in this medium, resulting from a trip with Frank Carmichael and Joe Gauthier to Haliburton in 1932, were primarily stimulated by his interest in drawing, 13 though the medium had the added advantages of speed, immediacy, and low cost.
Fields with Stubble (1937, cat. no. 58) retains a certain linear quality, reflecting Schaefer's interest in the work of the Englishman Paul Nash. 14 There is a similar interweaving of rhythms and geometric organization of trees and clouds. However, most characteristic of his watercolours is the colouring. He applies them very dry in rust browns, brown-greens, and blacks, often creating a sense of unease, sterility, or death. 1
Shaefer's financial and professional situation improved during the late thirties. As well as teaching part-time at Central Technical High School, he taught at Hart House and at Trinity College School in Port Hope. 16 With the opening of the Picture Loan Society 17 and the interest of the collector J. S. McLean in his work, sales increased. Recognition of his work was growing.
In spite of this, an increasing sentiment of violence and death appears in Schaefer's painting of the late thirties. From his earliest works he had shown a great receptivity to the more awesome elements of nature, reflected in his interest in Northern European painters like Bruegel, Altdorfer, and Ruysdael. The Depression had affected him personally and accentuated this brooding, Gothic side of his personality. Being of German ancestry, with relatives still in Germany, he was increasingly conscious of the approach of war. Much of his work of 1939 and 1940 is painted in deathly greens and blacks, with sharp, angular projections, similar to the work of Charles Burchfield during the same period. 18 Others, like Yellow Apples on a Fall Landscape (1939, cat. no. 59) more subtly express this sentiment of impending menace. While the apples still hold out the possibility of abundance and regeneration, the storm clouds, dead trees, and autumn colours bespell decay. This aspect of Schaefer's work carried over into his Vermont paintings 19 and eventually into his war work.
A close friend and associate of Carl Schaefer during the thirties, was Charles Comfort. Born in Edinburgh, Comfort was brought to Winnipeg by his family in 1912. Two years later at the age of fourteen, he was employed by Brigden's of Winnipeg Limited. 20 In 1920, on a visit to Toronto, he saw the first Group of Seven exhibition. Overwhelmed by the strength and colour of the work, he determined to make his career in art. 21
Charles Comfort spent the winter of 1922 – 1923 at the Art Students League, studying with Robert Henri and Euphrasius Allan Tucker 22 who introduced him to the work of contemporary American artists. Comfort returned to Winnipeg and married, and in April 1925 moved permanently to Toronto, still employed by Brigden's. 23
The International Exhibition of Modern Art assembled by the Société Anonyme and shown in Toronto in 1927 had a great impact on Charles Comfort's commercial work and he furthered a successful career in this field. In 1929 he signed a two-year contract with Rapid-Grip to work on Canadian National Railway publicity. However, with the Crash in October of that year, all railway work was cancelled, and two years later Comfort found himself unemployed. He then opened a commercial studio with Harold Ayres and Will Ogilvie which was successful though profits lean. 24Charles Comfort's most striking works of the late twenties and early thirties are large full-length portraits in oil and watercolour. The Portrait of John Creighton (1931 – 1933, cat. no. 60), originally full-length though later cut down by the artist, 25 shows Comfort's strength in expressive characterization of his sitters, achieved through the use of dramatic lighting and concentration on the hands.
In Young Canadian (1932, cat. no. 61), a portrait of Carl Schaefer, the hands are again used to dramatize the sitter. The rock and barn, framing the horizontal clouds, focus attention on the staring eyes. With its sombre tones and expectant pose, it truly does characterize the mood and situation of many Canadians at the time.
Charles Comfort's reputation as a 'virtuoso' 26 was well merited, yet, at the same time, it was one of his greatest dangers. His commercial work demanded instantaneous, eye-catching effects. Incorporated into his paintings these same effects occasionally caused inner strength to be sacrificed for immediacy.
While visiting a former Winnipeg friend, Robert Fawcett, in Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1933, Charles Comfort met the American Precisionist, Charles Sheeler. 27 Comfort's work already showed a certain affinity with that of the Precisionists, as seen in his painting Lumber Town of 1932. 28 However, in Tadoussac (1935, cat. no. 62), commissioned by Vincent Massey before Massey left for England, 29 the artist carried this simplification of form to the extreme. The smooth curve of the peninsula, the wood-block houses, and the lovely expanse of blue water blending into the sky create a feeling of great serenity, so different from his usually more concentrated and dynamic portrayals.
Charles Comfort was the only Canadian artist during the thirties to have the opportunity to work on a number of mural projects. Few post offices in Canada – unlike those in the United States – bore decorations by native artists; there was no system of government patronage. The Toronto architect Ferdinand Marani 30 commissioned Comfort's first mural in 1932 for the North American Life Building. 31 In 1936, taking its cue from the San Francisco Exchange, 32 the Toronto Stock Exchange invited Charles Comfort to paint eight large panels for their new building. Painted on canvas sixteen feet high and four feet wide (4.87 x 1.21 m) they represent the main industries of the Exchange: transportation and communication, mining, smelting, pulp and paper, refining, agriculture, oil, and construction (fig. 9). 33 In the Luncheon Club of the San Francisco Exchange, the Mexican Communist artist Diego Rivera had combined such industries as mining, forestry, and oil in one organic whole dominated by the massive figure of the goddess of nature. 34 Charles Comfort breaks up the different components of each industry with arbitrary geometric divisions, and abrupt changes in perspective and proportion derived from Thomas Benton's murals in the New School for Social Research in New York. 35 In the panel devoted to construction this is used with great effectiveness. However, where Rivera's and Benton's figures have a naturalism and individuality stressing the humanity of the persons depicted, Charles Comfort's workers become mechanical units arranged in anonymous rows and swamped by the dynamism of industry. Even in the panel of Agriculture, the most 'organic' industry, the cows are aligned in docile rows for slaughter and the kernels of wheat become gold coins of profit for the shareholders. Interpreted as a statement of faith in the recuperative powers of industry, or as a paean of praise for the Capitalist system, these murals are a curious, if not naïve, expression in the midst of the Depression.
In the spring of 1937, while he was completing these panels, Charles Comfort was commissioned by the International Nickel Company to do a large mural, The Romance of Nickel, for the Paris International Exposition. In this he used a similar dramatic perspective and geometricization of elements dominated by the large figure of a miner drilling. 36 In 1939, he painted the mural of Captain George Vancouver for the Hotel Vancouver. 37
Charles Comfort won the first prize in the Great Lakes Exhibition of 'regional paintings' in Buffalo (1938) for his painting, Lake Superior Village, 38 and during the last years of the decade he became involved in art education. He started teaching mural-painting at the Ontario College of Art in 1935, and in 1938 joined the staff at the University of Toronto as a lecturer in the history of art. 39 His interest in fresco-painting and art history took him to Italy during the following summer. 40
At the time of the formation of the Canadian Group of Painters, Charles Comfort and Bertram Brooker opposed the strong nationalist bias adopted by the new group. 41 Both these artists, during the late twenties were part of an active and outward-looking community in Toronto, 42 aware of international developments in art and literature.
Bertram Brooker had moved to Toronto from Winnipeg in 1921, and by 1926 was working as a freelance journalist to allow him more time for his own creative ventures. 43 His first abstractions, perhaps stimulated by his relationship with Lawren Harris and, through Harris, with the Société Anonyme, 44 as well as by his interest in music, were exhibited at the Arts & Letters Club in January 1927. 45
Few of Brooker's works of the late twenties are pure abstractions: they combine abstracted concepts of spiritual awakening and natural phenomena with representational elements. While the earlier works are more flowing, employing naturalistic modelling and relying on the expressive qualities of colour, the later abstractions are more Cubist, perhaps influenced by the work of his friend Kathleen Munn. Munn, a former student at the Summer School of the New York Art Students League in Woodstock, New York, and a great admirer of the work of El Greco and Cézanne, 46 as early as 1923 was exhibiting Cubist paintings similar to those of Franz Marc. 47
During the next few years, as well as painting, Bertram Brooker wrote a weekly art and literary column, 'The Seven Arts,' for the Southam Publishing Company, 48 illustrated an edition of Elijah, 49 wrote a book on advertising layout and another on copy writing, 50 and edited the Yearbook of the Arts in Canada. 51
Visiting Winnipeg in the summer of 1929, Bertram Brooker met LeMoine FitzGerald 52 and, as a result, his painting took a sudden turn away from abstraction. On his return to Toronto, he wrote FitzGerald, 'Your attitude toward your work and your companionship in the few days I had with you have had a very considerable effect on me. . . . So far its effect has been that I have become perhaps too realistic . . . but I hope to grow out of that to a bigger appreciation of form – particularly. To boil it down to one word – form is the thing that obsesses me. Colour is no longer a thing that interests me for its own sake, as it did.' 53 This new concern for form and structure was reflected in his admiration for Edwin Holgate's nudes and the figure work of Prudence Heward. 54 Brooker himself, following the example of LeMoine FitzGerald, 55 began doing life studies. He had earlier commented on the resistance to nude figure painting in Canada, 56 but it was brought home to him more directly when The Art Gallery of Toronto refused to hang his own work, Figures in Landscape, after it had been accepted by the jury. 57
Another object of the attacks of Toronto's Methodist puritans was Morley Callaghan, whose novel It's Never Over, had been criticized for its sexual content. 58 The winter following the controversy at the Art Gallery, Brooker painted Morley Callaghan's portrait (1932, cat. no. 63). 59 He was still primarily concerned with the construction of form through naturalistic modelling, especially noticeable in the face where certain areas appear almost overworked. However, the intersecting angles of the folds of the coat add a greater solidity to the body.
Bertram Brooker's concern for form naturally turned him to still-lifes. His first works followed a traditional format of objects arranged on a surface against a drapery backdrop. However, perhaps his most original contributions to this genre were combinations of interior scenes and still-lifes, such as Ski Poles (1936, cat. no. 64). The arbitrary perspective projects the objects forward, creating a vertical as well as horizontal progression. The objects are clearer and sharper and more carefully structured than in the earlier still-lifes. In arrangement, concern for texture, and choice of typically Canadian subject matter, the work parallels Charles Sheeler's classic American interiors of the thirties.
Despite Toronto's proprietory forces, Bertram Brooker continued to paint and exhibit female nudes. The 'Leda and the swan' pose in Torso (1937, cat. no. 65) accentuates the interrelationship of the different volumes and intersecting lines, as well as the eroticism of the subject. The rough texture of the brush stroke, like that in FitzGerald's Jar (cat. no. 46) creates an overall surface tension, contributing to the solidity of the forms.
David Milne, Charles Comfort, Bertram Brooker, and even LeMoine FitzGerald turned away from the traditional theme of contemporary Canadian art: landscape. The concern for the 'formal' or 'aesthetic' qualities of painting began to replace the stress on subject matter. All these artists received their stimulus from Cézanne, the Cubists, or the Fauves through the United States, continuing an American derivation of European Post-Impressionism.
Paraskeva Clark was the exception in this group of artists, having arrived in Canada directly from Europe, already a mature artist. Born in Leningrad, she received her first art education in night courses at the Petrograd Academy of Fine Arts, while working days in a shoe factory. 60 After the Revolution of 1917, the Academy became 'Free Studios' open to all persons interested in art. Paraskeva Clark spent three years, from 1918 to 1921, at the Free Studios studying under Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, a follower of Cézanne 61 then worked in theatre decoration at the Mali Theatre in Leningrad where she met her first husband, Oreste Allegre. After the birth of a son, they were preparing to leave for Paris when her husband was drowned. Nonetheless, in the fall of 1923, Paraskeva joined her father-in-law in Paris. Employed in an art-glass store, she met Harry Adaskin, then studying in Paris, and his friend Philip Clark. In June 1931 Paraskeva married Philip Clark in London and moved to Toronto. 62
Paraskeva Clark had had little opportunity to paint in France; however, she soon met several artists in Toronto and, motivated by the activity around her, began to paint again. She was not overly impressed by the work of the Toronto artists, 63 dominated as it was by landscape painting in what she felt to be decorative patterns. She felt more kinship with the Montreal artists who placed more emphasis on structure.
One of the first works Paraskeva Clark exhibited in Canada was her Self-Portrait (1933, cat. no. 66) in which she portrayed herself pregnant with her second child. The boldly structured figure shows her debt to Cézanne and, perhaps, to Picasso's classic heads. The roughly applied paint, the sharply receding background, and complex structure create a work of vigorous strength.
One of Paraskeva Clark's first Canadian landscapes was Wheatfield (1936, cat. no. 67), formerly in the collection of Douglas Duncan. In format and viewpoint it is similar to Carl Schaefer's Hanover works; yet where Schaefer creates a feeling of depth and solidity in the fields through flowing rhythm and fluid paint, Paraskeva uses a Cubist-derived pattern of intersecting straight lines. Her trees are more angular and the paint texture more coarse.
Having received her art training through the 'Free Studios' created by the Soviet government, Paraskeva Clark was naturally sympathetic to Leftist causes. Pegi Nicol introduced Paraskeva to Norman Bethune when he came to Toronto to set up the Medical Aid Committee 64 for Spain and she became active in the Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. 65 From Spain, Norman Bethune sent her a page from a mediaeval missal and a scarf and cap of the International Brigade – all three of which she incorporated into a still-life, Presents From Madrid. 66
Norman Bethune returned from Spain in June 1937, at the same time that Paraskeva Clark was working on Petroushka (1937, cat. no. 68). Instigated by a newspaper account of the murder of five strikers by Chicago police, 67 the painting depicts a puppet show in which a puppet policeman, egged on by the 'Capitalist,' beats a fallen worker while the audience naïvely laughs. The foreground worker raises the clenched fist of the Popular Front. The Futurist arrangement of the apartment houses, like a theatre backdrop, heightens the drama of oppression and resistance.
During the late thirties, Paraskeva Clark made several trips north of Toronto and to the Gatineau and turned increasingly to landscape and still-life painting. In Trout (1940, cat. no. 69), she combines a few ordinary objects in a carefully studied formal arrangement, projected forward by the arbitrary perspective. The paint texture and contrast of angles and curves create a dynamic construction.
Pegi Nicol, born near Ottawa, 68 studied for three years with Franklin Brownell, followed by a year at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal. 69 In 1928 she painted in the Skeena River area in British Columbia with Marius Barbeau 70 and in 1931 won the Willingdon Prize for her landscape, The Log Run. 71 She moved to Montreal about this time, rented a studio, and had an exhibition of her works; 72 however, her studio burned down in the fall of 1932 and she was forced to return to Ottawa. 73Pegi Nicol's figure work of the late twenties is very close to that of Edwin Holgate in composition, concern for structure, and concern for the plastic qualities of paint; however, her landscapes and studies of children (working in the school garden across the street from her parent's Ottawa house) 74 are more flowing, with graceful interweavings of arabesques. She first prepared watercolour sketches and occasionally worked them up in oil; the largest of these is School in a Garden (c. 1934, cat. no. 70). By the repeated curves of the bending figures and contours of the garden plots, and bright summer colours she expresses the joy of the children's work. She retained this interest in group activity and concern for humanity throughout her career.
After moving to Toronto in the fall of 1934, 75 Pegi Nicol became involved in theatre work and found employment preparing window displays for the T. Eaton Company under René Cera. Cera had come to Canada about 1929 to work in the new College Street store as head of design, and during the mid-thirties he offered work and much needed money to several of the younger artists, including Charles Comfort, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark, and Caven Atkins. 76 Pegi Nicol completed several projects for Cera, including the decoration of one of the Eaton's restaurants. 77
In Pegi Nicol's works there is often a conflict between her innate spontaneity and the necessity of restraint to give some structure to her work. As she wrote herself, 'Spontaneity should be in the fingers. In me it was spontaneity in the mind.' 78 In Descent of Lilies (1935, cat. no. 71) the freedom of her fantasy is expressed with great control and direction. She creates a swirling vision of floating lilies, wildly kicking horses, and sensuous women, the whole 'integrated through the decorative arrangement of shapes, and color relationships.' 79
Yet it is in her watercolours of Toronto street scenes that Pegi Nicol achieved the most direct expression of her love of life. In Jarvis Street Sidewalk ( c. 1936, cat. no. 72), the costumed children parade along the sidewalk, the shadows and trees echoing their joy. The masked child on the bicycle is swiftly brushed in with a minimum of line expressive of the intensity of her need to paint and of her spontaneous fantasy.
Pegi Nicol was an active and popular member of the Toronto art community, contributing art criticism, drawings, and even an anti-fascist Christmas card to The Canadian Forum. 80 Through Norman Bethune she became involved in the Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, 81 and, with Douglas Duncan and Gordon Webber, was one of the founders of the Picture Loan Society. Early in 1936 Pegi met Norman MacLeod, an engineer from Fredericton, and married him in December. 82 Soon after they moved to New York and in the fall she gave birth to a daughter, Jane. 83
Pegi Nicol MacLeod was overwhelmed by the New York art scene and found it difficult to find a niche in such a highly competitive environment. 84 She obtained work illustrating children's books, 85 but disliked commercial work. Feeling confined by her marriage and by Belleville, New Jersey, 86 she transferred her energies and affection into an almost obsessive relationship with her daughter, painting endless studies in watercolour and oil of Jane asleep, playing, reading, or painting. In Children in Pliofilm (1939, cat. no. 73), Jane flies across the streets of Belleville, over the heads of the other children, encased in the transparent pliofilm. The colours are brighter and more joyful than the sophisticated tones of Descent of Lilies (cat. no. 71).
The MacLeods moved back to Greenwich Village in New York in the fall of 1939, 87 and the following year, Pegi spent the first of many summers at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. 88
The Maritimes were fallow ground for the visual arts during the early thirties. Efforts had been made during the previous decade to stimulate interest in the arts through the efforts of Elizabeth Nutt in Halifax, the art department at Mount Allison University, and Walter Abell at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Exhibitions organized by The National Gallery, the College Art Association, and the American Federation of Arts toured the major centres and local art societies provided outlets for artists to exhibit their work. Commercial galleries were non-existent and public taste was extremely conservative.
Walter Abell received his appointment at Acadia University in 1928 89 through a grant from the Carnegie Corporation. Recognizing the difficult situation of the arts in the Maritimes, he was instrumental in organizing the Maritime Art Association, a cooperative effort of art societies, clubs, and women's organizations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Formed in the spring of 1935, 90 the new association toured exhibitions and lecturers, arranged distribution of educational material, promoted greater communication between the different centres and, most important, organized annual exhibitions of Maritime art to tour the provinces. In 1940 the association began the publication of Maritime Art, the first periodical in Canada, beyond art gallery bulletins, to be entirely devoted to art and providing national information about Canadian art and artists. 91
One artist aware of the lack of support for artists was Jack Humphrey. Born in Saint John, he spent three years, from 1920 to 1923, at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and then transferred to the National Academy of Design in New York 92 where he met Charles Hawthorne. An extremely popular teacher with his own art school at Provincetown, Hawthorne's teaching concentrated on the relationship of colours, the importance of silhouette, and the creation of form through colour. 93 Jack spent five summers at Provincetown studying with Hawthorne and retained a life-long admiration for his teacher. 94
While Jack Humphrey planned to stay at Provincetown for the winter of 1929, relatives offered to send him to Europe 95 and in October he sailed for France. In Paris he visited museums and galleries, being especially interested in contemporary work, 96 and sketched in the open studios of the Academies. 97 On the recommendation of fellow Hawthorne students 98 he went to Munich studying three months with Hans Hofmann. 99 He then spent several months travelling in Italy, France, and Holland returning to Saint John in the summer of 1930.
The most immediate result of Jack Humphrey's European trip was a greater appreciation of the work of Cézanne as is seen in Studio Chair and Still-Life (1932, cat. no. 74). The selection of objects follows Hawthorne's dictates to find beauty in commonplace things. However, whereas Hawthorne emphasized careful modulation of form, Humphrey concerns himself with the more plastic qualities of form in earthy, almost sombre, colours, stressing the structure of the component units and their interrelationship.
This same concern for formal organization is seen in Untitled (Houses) (1931, cat. no. 75), the watercolour being quickly washed over the charcoal drawing in a Cubist arrangement similar to the work of the American artist John Marin. The sparse laying-on of colour and line in faceted planes creates a feeling of great dynamism and terseness, yet is ordered in a careful harmony.
Having studied in the United States for nine years, he naturally considered moving there when he returned from Europe. His father's wholesale firm had closed and the Depression had paralyzed the province. Jack wrote to Eric Brown, 'When the economic depression relaxes, unless more favourable opportunity offers itself, I have the exceedingly unpleasant prospect of returning to some form of unskilled and ill paid labor at night in New York City in order to attempt to support the thus impoverished efforts of contributing to art and civilization by day.' 100
Determined to continue with his art, he sought teaching jobs in the States and in Toronto, but without success. As Arthur Lismer wrote him, 'There are dozens at present who are teaching to earn a living.' 101
During the summer of 1933, Jack Humphrey visited relatives in Vancouver, working as a guard for immigration prisoners being transferred across Canada, 102 returning that fall via Ottawa 103 and Montreal. Through his cousin John Humphrey, he met John Lyman, Jori Smith, and her husband Jean Palardy, and he stayed with the Palardys for a few months 104 before returning to Saint John. 105
On the recommendation of Arthur Lismer, Jack Humphrey started children's classes in his studio; 106 however, students were few. The paucity of sales and indifference to his work accentuated the bitterness of his love-hate relationship with Saint John. 107 Wanting to leave, with nowhere to go, he was at the same time wedded to an environment he knew: the streets and people of Saint John. As Walter Abell, his main support at this time, wrote him, 'You have cast your lot for the first factor [to be able to work] choosing to pursue your creative work above all else, and unfortunately sacrificing a living to it.' 108
Walter Abell managed to sell Jack's watercolours in the Maritimes; however, it was only when his work was brought to the attention of Toronto critics that his situation began to improve. An article by Walter Abell in The Canadian Forum, 109 a show of his work at Macdonald Galleries, 110 the interest of Graham McInnes, and an exhibition of watercolours at the Picture Loan Society 111 finally brought his work to public attention.
Early in 1938, a bequest from a friend 112 enabled Jack Humphrey to visit Mexico for a few months, 113 resulting in over a hundred watercolours and drawings 114 which were exhibited at the Picture Loan Society the following spring. 115 In the fall of 1938 John Lyman invited Jack to join the newly founded Eastern Group in Montreal, 116 and soon after he became one of the charter members of the Contemporary Arts Society. 117
Perhaps for reasons of economy, Jack Humphrey concentrated predominantly on watercolour during the mid-thirties. With increasing sales he returned to oil and, perhaps stimulated by the work of Miller Brittain, 118 began to experiment with new techniques. Charlotte (1939, cat. no. 76), painted in oil over tempera, reverts to the work of Hawthorne in its concentration on silhouette and painterly brush-stroke. There is no longer the concern for structural relationships seen in the earlier works, but a greater concentration on mood and character.
Miller Brittain rented a studio next door to Jack Humphrey in the fall of 1938. He had studied at the Art Students League in New York, intending to work as a commercial illustrator; however, his teacher, Harry Wickey, introduced him to the work of Rembrandt, Hogarth, and Goya and he 'was completely lost when [he] tried to turn out the tricky slap-dash demanded by art directors.' 119 He returned to Saint John in 1932 after two years at the League and worked at various construction and office jobs. 120
Sometime during the thirties, Frank Buchman, founder of the Oxford Group, lectured in Saint John, and Miller Brittain, swept up by the talk, for a short period became an active worker for the Group. 121 A Christian movement, the Oxford Group stressed 'moral rearmament' and a Christian solution to social issues and took a great interest in the problems of workers and unions.
Miller Brittain expressed his social commitment in large charcoal drawings, in which he documented and satirized the contemporary scene. B.K. Sandwell became interested in his drawings and reproduced them in the magazine he edited, Saturday Night, bringing Miller's work to public attention for the first time. 122 As Graham McInnes noted, Miller Brittain's drawings are the sole example of social satire in Canadian art of the thirties. 123
The proximity of their studios resulted in certain parallels between the work of Miller Brittain and Jack Humphrey around 1940. Edith White (1939, cat. no. 77) by Humphrey and Master McCullough (1939, cat. no. 78) by Brittain both follow a fifteenth-century Italian portrait composition adopted by Reginald Marsh and other artists of the New York Fourteenth Street School. However, Humphrey's work is more painterly, the surface mat, and its psychological concentration less intense. Brittain's work verges on caricature, its linear treatment accentuated by the use of egg tempera and glazes. 124 The portraits of the young newspaper boy and girl, prematurely old and sombre, are expressive documents of the Depression years.
From single figures, Miller Brittain moved to larger, social themes. In Longshoremen (1940, cat. no. 79) he uses a German Renaissance composition, linking the men by telling gestures and glances. The massive figures are crowded into a confined space, accentuating the intensity of the scene. In his paintings of the next few years, Miller Brittain depicted his human environment in all its political and social aspects. He wrote, 'I have no patience with those individuals who think of pictures merely as embellishments to a decorative scheme . . . . A picture ought to emerge from the midst of life and be in no sense divorced from it . . . . And I think artists should be rooted in their native heath . . . . And they will be so if their life and work are one and the same.' 125
1. 'Members "Canadian Group of Painters," ' Catalogue of an Exhibition of Paintings by the 'Canadian Group of Painters' (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1936).
2. A.L. [Arthur Lismer], 'Foreword,' Ibid.
3. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to Sarah Robertson, Montreal, [late November 1934]; in The National Gallery of Canada. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 28 September ; private property. Emily Carr, Victoria, to Nan Cheney, [Montreal?], 25 October ; in The University of British Columbia, Vancouver.
4. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 12 February ; private property.
5. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to Mrs. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 5 February 1935; copy property Estate of M. A. Brooker.
6. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 12 February 1936; private property. Fred Housser remained secretary of the Canadian Group of Painters.
7. Pearl McCarthy, 'Art and Artists,' Toronto Globe and Mail (29 July 1939).
8. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, [received 13 January 1936]; in The National Gallery of Canada. New members included Carl Schaefer, Rody Courtice, Paraskeva Clark, Gordon Webber, Pegi Nicol, Kay Daly, and John Alfsen.
9. Canadian Group of Painters (Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1942). New members included Mabel Lockerby, Kathleen Morris, Jack Humphrey, Ethel Seath, Louis Muhlstock, Caven Atkins, Henri Masson, David Milne, Lawren P. Harris, and Peter Haworth.
10. Carl Fellman Schaefer, 'Personal Reminiscences,' in J. Russell Harper, Carl Schaefer Retrospective Exhibition / Paintings from 1926 to 1969 (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1969), pp. 4 – 6.
11. Interview with Carl Schaefer, Toronto, 11 October 1973.
14. Carl Fellman Schaefer, op. cit., p. 8.
15. Similar colours appear in David Milne's watercolours painted during the war.
16. Carl Fellman Schaefer, op. cit., p. 8.
17. The first solo exhibition at the Picture Loan Society was Exhibition by Carl Schaefer, 9 – 22 January 1937.
18. Carl Schaefer visited Charles Burchfield in Buffalo around 1937 and admired his work greatly. (Interview with Carl Schaefer, Toronto, 11 October 1973).
19. Carl Schaefer was the recipient of the J.S. Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Painting in 1940, the first year it was offered to Canadian artists. He spent the year in Vermont. See Robert Ayre, 'Carl Schaefer The Industrious,' Montreal Standard (13 April 1940).
20. H.M. Jackson, Charles Comfort, The Man and the Artist, n.p. (Christmas 1935, New Year 1936).
21. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.
22. Patricia E. Glover, Charles Fraser Comfort / Fifty Years (exhibition catalogue) (Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1973).
23. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.
25. Conversation with John Creighton, Vancouver, 21 November 1973.
26. Patricia E. Glover, op. cit.
27. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.
28. Lumber Town, exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto, 1932 (no. 95) and reproduced in the catalogue. Lumber Town , Unpainted Barn, and The Brothers were left in storage at Hart House during the war and could not be located when Charles Comfort returned to Toronto. (Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.)
29. Charles Comfort, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 November 1935; in The National Gallery of Canada.
30. Ferdinand Marani (Canadian, 1893 – 1971) was the architect of the Bank of Canada Building in Ottawa for which he commissioned Jacobine Jones to do the sculptural decoration.
31. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.
32. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (April 1937).
33. Robert Ayre, 'Toronto Stock Exchange Murals Greatly Stimulate Canadian Art,' Montreal Gazette (24 April 1937). Charles Comfort also designed the frieze across the front of the new building.
34. Hans F. Seeker, Diego Rivera (Dresden: Verlag der Kunst, 1957), p. 177 repr. Rivera's mural was painted in 1930.
35. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973. See Lloyd Goodrich, 'The Murals of the New School,' The Arts, vol. XVII, no. 6 (March 1931), pp. 399 – 403, 422.
36. Graham C. McInnes, 'Mural – "Romance of Nickel," ' Saturday Night, vol. lii, no. 36 (10 July 1937), p. 6.
37. Robert Ayre, 'Murals in Our Public Buildings,' Saturday Night, vol. LV, no. 30 (25 May 1940), p. 2. This mural is presently in the Confederation Art Gallery and Museum, Charlottetown.
38. 'Artist's Work Wins Acclaim,' Toronto Globe and Mail (29 October 1938). Lake Superior Village (1937, oil on canvas; 42-1/2 x 70 in., 108.0 x 177.8 cm) is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. See Helen Bradfield, Art Gallery of Ontario: The Canadian Collection (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Company of Canada, 1970), p. 77 repr.
39. Interview with Charles Comfort, Hull (Quebec), 3 October 1973.
40. 'Toronto Artist Impressed by Art of Modern Italy,' The Toronto Telegram (19 August 1939).
41. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 20 March 1933; private property.
42. This community consisted of , among others, Lawren Harris and Dr Harold M. Tovell, chairman of The Art Gallery of Toronto's Exhibition Committee which brought the Société Anonyme exhibition to Toronto in 1927, and owner of Marcel Duchamp's Chess Players, now in the Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art. See Anne D'Harnancourt and Kynaston McShine, Marcel Duchamp (exhibition catalogue) (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1973), repr. p. 247. Others in this community were the writers Merrill Denison and Morley Callaghan, and Harry Adaskin of the Hart House Quartette.
43. Dennis Reid, Bertram Brooker 1888 – 1955 (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1973), p. 10.
44. Lawren Harris was already in contact with Katherine Dreier by the summer of 1926 and two of his works were included in the International Exhibition of Modern Art (assembled by the Société Anonyme) at the Brooklyn Museum, 19 November 1926 to 1 January 1927.
45. 'New Young Toronto Artist Paints Subjective Group,' Toronto Daily Star (5 February 1927).
46. Conversation with Kathleen Munn, Toronto, 18 February 1974. It is uncertain when Bertram Brooker first met Kathleen Munn. The first reference to her by Brooker is in a letter to FitzGerald, 28 December 1929; private property.
47. The Dance (Collection of the Artist) was exhibited at Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, 22 November 1923 – 2 January 1924, The Forty-Fifth Exhibition of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, no. 127.
48. Bertram Brooker wrote the column 'The Seven Arts' from October 1928 to November 1930.
49. Bertram Brooker, Elijah (New York: William Edwin Rudge, 1929).
50. Richard Surrey (pseudonym), Layout Technique in Advertising (New York: McGraw Hill, 1929) and Copy Technique in Advertising (New York: McGraw Hill, 1930).
51. Bertram Brooker, ed., Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1928 – 1929 (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1929).
52. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to Lawren Harris, [?] ,19 August 1929; copy property Estate of M.A. Brooker.
53. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 28 December 1929; private property.
54. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (1 March 1930).
55. L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, to Bertam Brooker, Toronto, 11 January ; property Estate of M.A. Brooker.
56. Bertram Brooker, 'The Seven Arts,' Ottawa The Citizen (1 March 1930).
57. 'Nudes in Landscape Causes Art Dispute,' Toronto Daily Star (7 March 1931).
58. Bertram Brooker, 'Nudes and Prudes,' in William A. Deacon and Wilfred Reeves, eds, Open House (Ottawa: Graphic Publishers Limited, 1931), p. 97.
59. Bertram Brooker, Toronto, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 10 January ; private property.
60. Conversation with Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, 30 January 1974.
61. Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 3 June 1944; in The National Gallery of Canada.
62. Conversation with Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, 30 January 1974.
63. A.Y. Jackson, A Painter's Country (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Ltd., 1958), p. 119.
64. Pegi Nicol, Toronto, to Marian Scott, Montreal, [October 1936]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal. See also, Roderick Stewart, Bethune (Toronto: New Press, 1973), p. 90.
65. Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 16 August 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada. At this time the Committee was attempting to bring Picasso's Guernica to Toronto to raise funds for Loyalist refugees.
66. Presents From Madrid (1937, watercolour on paper; 19 x 21 in., 48.3 x 53.4; private collection).
67. 'Five Steel Strikers Killed In Clash With Chicago Police,' Toronto Daily Star (1 June 1937).
68. She was born Margaret Nichol at Listowel, Ontario, 17 January 1904. ('Pegi Nichol MacLeod,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, 15 July 1942.)
69. Pegi Nicol attended the École des Beaux-Arts at the same time as Marian Scott, i.e., 1925 – 1926. (Interview with Marian Scott, Montreal, 15 September 1973.)
70. Eric Brown, Ottawa, to Emily Carr, Victoria, 8 October 1928; copy in The National Gallery of Canada.
71. The Willingdon Prize was offered by the Governor General of Canada, Lord Willingdon, from 1929 to 1931 when he left for India.
72. Montreal, The T. Eaton Co. Ltd., [February 1932], Pegi Nicol.
73. Interview with Marian Scott, Montreal, 15 September 1973.
74. Donald W. Buchanan, 'Pegi Nicol MacLeod 1904 – 1949,' Canadian Art, vol. VI, no. 4 (Summer 1949), p. 158.
75. Pegi Nicol spent the summer of 1934 with the Masseys in Port Hope (Pegi Nicol, Toronto, to Marian Scott, Montreal, [ c. December 1934]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal) and prepared sets for a Hart House Theatre Production of' The Piper' in December. See 'Vivacious Artist,' Saturday Night, vol. l, no. 14 (9 February 1935), p. 16.
76. Walter Abell, Toronto, to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 15 July 1936; property of Mrs J.W. Humphrey, Saint John.
77. 'Causerie,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xv, no. 177 (August 1935), p. 323.
78. Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Belleville (N.J.), to Marian Scott, Montreal, [October 1938]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal.
79. Graham C. McInnes, 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 8 – Pegi Nicol,' The Canadian Forum, vol. xvii, no. 200 (September 1937), p. 202.
80. Pegi Nicol, 'Merry Christmas,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 191 (December 1936), p. 3.
81. Conversation with Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, 30 January 1974.
82. Pegi Nicol, Toronto, to Marian Scott, Montreal, [postmarked 17 December 1936]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal.
83. Pegi Nicol, New York City, to Marian Scott, Montreal, [autumn 1937]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal.
84. Interview with Marian Scott, Montreal, 15 September 1973.
85. Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Belleville (N.J.), to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, [received 17 October 1938]; in The National Gallery of Canada.
86. Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Belleville (N.J.), to Marian Scott, Montreal, [autumn 1938]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal.
87. Pegi Nicol MacLeod, New York City, to Marian Scott, Montreal, [postmarked 19 September 1939]; property of Marian Scott, Montreal.
88. 'Association News: Fredericton Art Club,' Maritime Art, vol. I, no. 1 (October 1940), p. 27.
89. Conversation with Mrs Walter Abell, Ottawa, 12 June 1974.
90. Walter Abell, 'Co-operative Art in the Maritimes,' Saturday Night, vol. LII, no. 32 (12 June 1937). p. 7.
91. The first issue of Maritime Art is dated October 1940. Maritime Art was superceded by Canadian Art in 1943.
92. J. Russell Harper, 'A Painter in the Maritimes,' in Jack Humphrey, A Retrospective Exhibition (exhibition catalogue) (Fredericton: Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 1966), p. 7.
93. Hawthorne on Painting From Students' Notes Collected by Mrs. Charles W. Hawthorne (New York, Chicago: Pitman Publishing Corporation, 1938).
94. Jack Humphrey, Saint John, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 7 May 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada. It is possible Jack Humphrey spent some time at the Art Students League in New York as among his papers is a student card in his name for the League for the year ending 1 October 1930. However, Humphrey left for Europe in October 1929.
95. Jack Humphrey, Provincetown, to Ruth Humphrey, [Victoria?], 10 June 1929; property of Ruth Humphrey, Vancouver.
96. Jack Humphrey, Paris, to Ruth Humphrey, [Victoria?], 8 November 1929; property of Ruth Humphrey, Vancouver.
97. Jack Humphrey, Paris, to Ruth Humphrey, [Victoria?], 16 December 1929; property of Ruth Humphrey, Vancouver.
98. J. Russell Harper, op. cit., p. 8.
99. 'Jack Weldon Humphrey,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, [May 1931].
100. Jack Humphrey, Saint John, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 7 May 1931; in The National Gallery of Canada.
101. Arthur Lismer, Toronto, to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 3 July 1932; property of Mrs J. W. Humphrey, Saint John.
102. J. Russell Harper, op. cit., p. 10.
103. Marius Barbeau, Ottawa, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 30 October 1933; in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
104. Interview with John Humphrey, Montreal, 18 September 1973.
105. Jack Humphrey, Saint John, to Arthur Lismer, Toronto, 26 January 1934; in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
106. 'St. John Artist to Hold Exhibition of Works May 10 to 12,' Saint John Times-Globe (4 May 1934).
107. Jack Humphrey, Saint John, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 26 October 1935; in The National Gallery of Canada. 'I spent a few days in Grand Manan recently. Was a great relief after this preposterous hole of a city.'
108. Walter Abell, Wolfville (N.S.), to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 19 June 1935; property of Mrs J.W. Humphrey, Saint John.
109. Walter Abell, 'Jack Humphrey – Painter,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 185 (June 1936), pp. 16 – 18.
110. Graham C. McInnes, 'World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. lii, no. 14 (6 February 1937), p. 16. There was not a single sale from this exhibition. See A.A. Macdonald, Toronto, to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 17 February 1937; property of Mrs J. W. Humphrey, Saint John.
111. Graham C. McInnes, 'World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. LIII, no. 14 (5 February 1938), p. 7.
112. Jack Humphrey, Saint John, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 28 September 1937; in The National Gallery of Canada.
113. A.Y. Jackson, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 2 May ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
114. Douglas Duncan, Toronto, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 17 May 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada.
115. Graham C. McInnes, 'World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. liv, no. 22 (1 April 1939), p. 20.
116. John Lyman, Montreal, to Jack Humphrey, Saint John, 23 Septemper 1938; property of Mrs J.W. Humphrey, Saint John.
117. 'Contemporary Arts Society List of Artist Members,' Montreal, 16 May 1939; in The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
118. Pegi Nicol, 'Miller Brittain,' Maritime Art, vol I, no. 4 (April 1941), p. 17. Experimentation with new techniques became very popular in the United States during the late twenties and thirties, first at the Art Students League and later, at the Fogg Museum in Cambridge (Mass.), a research programme was conducted under the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project. Participants in this project gave demonstrations at the Kingston Conference in 1941.
119. Artist's statement in Pegi Nicol, 'Miller Brittain,' Maritime Art, vol. I, no. 4 (April 1941), p. 17.
120. Ibid., p. 16.
121. Interview with Ted Campbell, Saint John, 29 October 1973. The Oxford Group later developed into the Moral Rearmament movement.
122. Pegi Nicol, op. cit., p. 15.
123. Graham C. McInnes, 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 11 – Miller Brittain,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 203 (December 1937), p. 312.
124. 'When in 1938 I began to paint seriously, I sought an approach that would enable me to give full expression to plastic surfaces, and finally found it in an egg-tempera medium combined with oil and varnish glazes in various ways.' See artist's statement in Pegi Nicol, op. cit., p. 17.
125. Artist's statement in Pegi Nicol, op. cit., pp. 17 – 18.
As was English-speaking Montreal, the French-speaking art community was dominated by senior Royal Canadian Academicians. The painters Suzor-Coté and Edmond Dyonnet and the sculptors Alfred Laliberté and Henri Hébert were the most publicized artists in Quebec. Of the leading painters of the twenties, Clarence Gagnon was in Paris preparing illustrations for Maria Chapdelaine, 1 and Adrien Hébert was painting reticent urban scenes of the port of Montreal. The Quebec tradition of religious art, revived by the teachings of the French Symbolist Maurice Denis, was continued by Ozias Leduc and the younger artists Rodolphe Duguay and Paul-Émile Borduas.
One of the more popular contemporary Quebec artists at this time was Marc-Aurèle Fortin. Born in Sainte-Rose in 1888 he first studied under Ludger Larose and Edmond Dyonnet and then in Chicago, New York, and Boston. He returned to Canada about 1914; however, it was only in the mid-twenties that he began actively to pursue a painting career. His favourite themes were the large elms in small Quebec villages, hay wagons on country roads, and the flowing curves of Quebec farmhouses. Like that of the Group of Seven in Toronto, Fortin's style derived from the Art Nouveau decorative art of the turn of the century, specifically the work of Frank Brangwyn. 2
Around 1930 he painted a series of views of Montreal seen from the area around his Notre Dame Street East apartment. Landscape at Hochelaga ( c. 1931, cat. no. 80) breaks from the more delicate, earlier landscapes; the paint is applied with more firmness, the composition is more complex, and the contrast of colours is more striking. In its interplay of vibrating lines of colour and rolling rhythm it is close to J.E.H. MacDonald's Gleams on the Hills, 3 though lacking the more sombre moods of the latter's work.
In 1935 Marc-Aurèle Fortin spent some time in France and upon his return moved to Sainte-Rose. For a period in the mid-thirties he painted over a black undercoat 4 giving his work of this period an almost brutal quality. In the late thirties and all through the forties he painted in the lower Saint Lawrence area and in the Gaspé around Saint-Simon. 5
Marc-Aurèle Fortin was a regionalist artist in the same sense as the Group of Seven. While less vocal or self-conscious than the members of the Group, exploring and interpreting different areas of the province, he transformed the landscape into an expression of a national identity.
The traditional way of life of the rural inhabitants of Quebec played an important rôle in the concept of a French-Canadian identity, historians and writers having equated its preservation with the struggle against assimilation of the French in North America. Quebec artists also continually returned to the themes of rural life. Horatio Walker, in the manner of Jean-François Millet, idealized the farmers and their Christian faith. James Wilson Morrice, A.Y. Jackson, and Marc-Aurèle Fortin concentrated on its more picturesque qualities while Clarence Gagnon, in his illustrations for Maria Chapdelaine, explored its human drama. Now a younger generation of artists, continuing and transforming this tradition, looked at it with new eyes.
Born in Switzerland, André Biéler was brought to Canada by his family in 1908 at the age of twelve. He fought with the Princess Patricia's Light Infantry during the First World War, was gassed at Passchendaele, and returned to Montreal very ill. He spent the next year in the southern United States recuperating and painting, and during the summers of 1920 and 1921 he studied with Charles Rosen and George Bellows at the Summer School of the New York Art Students League in Woodstock, New York. 6 The teaching there was greatly influenced by Cézanne, with a concentration on figure work. Working with Bellows, a member of the American 'Ash Can School,' also predisposed Biéler to a greater consciousness of his social environment. 7
André Biéler left for Europe in October 1921 and the following spring worked with his uncle, Ernest Biéler, in Switzerland. 8 The art of Ernest Biéler shows many similarities with that of Alexandre Jacovleff and Adolf Milman, the teachers of Lilias Newton and Edwin Holgate, employing similar compositional devices and concentrating on careful drawing and structure. 9 Also of great interest to André was his uncle's work in fresco.
After returning to Canada, inspired by the regionalist literature that had developed in France during the twenties, Biéler sought a region of Quebec where he could live and paint. 10 His first choice was the Gaspé; however, finding the winter too severe, in the fall of 1927 he moved to the Île d'Orléans, Horatio Walker's terrain, where he remained for three years. 11
This period on the Île d'Orléans determined the themes and character of André Biéler's work for the next decade. Fascinated by the traditional way of life of the farmers, he completed numerous sketches of women baking, religious processions, and people at church. Some of the single figures are close to Holgate's work both in colouring and composition; 12 however, Biéler was more concerned with the depiction of groups of people and their interrelationships.
In 1930 Biéler left the Île d'Orléans, 13 and rented a studio in Montreal. Recognizing the importance of the Studio Building to the Toronto artists, Biéler, with Edwin Holgate and Lilias Newton, found a sponsor to fund a similar effort in Montreal; however, the project fell through. He soon met John Lyman, recently returned from France, and the plans for a studio building turned into a school, the Atelier. 14
The staff of the Atelier consisted of John Lyman, André Biéler, Elizabeth Frost, George Holt, 15 and Kenneth Crowe – with Hazen Sise as chairman. 16 The first year classes were held in Elizabeth Frost's apartment with about a dozen pupils, 17 and the following autumn quarters were found in the building occupied by the Montreal Repertory Theatre. 18 Efforts were made to plan joint activities with the theatre, and a production of André Obey's Noé included sets and costumes by André Biéler in traditional Quebec materials and designs. 19 However, the school had few students, finances were difficult, and it closed in the spring of 1933. 20
For the next few years André and his wife Jeannette Meunier designed furniture and interiors utilizing Quebec handicrafts. 21 Wanting to have more time to devote to his painting, André Biéler moved to Sainte-Adèle in the fall of 1935 and the following year obtained a position as artist in residence at Queen's University. Coming from a family of teachers he fitted into his new job with ease and was to remain there until his retirement in 1963. 22
Stimulated by the work of his brother, Jacques Biéler, one of the founders of the League for Social Reconstruction, André Biéler became concerned about the rôle of the arts in society. Looking to the United States and Mexico he saw artists involved with their communities and with contemporary political and social issues, even offering direction to the people through their art. He found Canadian artists obsessed by geography with no reflection of social concerns or idealism. 23
In his own art André Biéler increasingly concentrated on his human environment. In Corpus Christi Procession, Sainte-Adèle (1936, cat. no. 81) the figures, integrated with the landscape, are still subordinated to its rhythms. In Before the Auction (1936, cat. no. 82) the figures are more individualized and become the dominant theme of the work. He leaves behind the decorative rhythms of the Group of Seven for a greater concern for the structure and reality of the people.
Just as Horatio Walker, inspired by the work of Millet and in the spirit of nineteenth-century Christian socialism, ennobled the labourers of the Île d'Orléans, André Biéler, following the model of Diego Rivera and the Marxist art of the w.p.a., sanctifies the rural family in Gatineau Madonna (1940, cat. no. 83). With this increasing idealization, Biéler attains a greater surety of expression, combining the fluidity and the structure of the earlier works in a unified whole.André Biéler's interest in the rural life and folk arts of Quebec was shared by a group of artists and historians working in the lower Saint Lawrence region. Marius Barbeau, the noted ethnologist, had been studying the art and social customs of Quebec since the mid-twenties, organizing annual folk festivals at the Château Frontenac in Quebec City where traditional songs and dances were revived and crafts displayed. Gérard Morisset, at the Musée de la Province de Québec, was preparing important studies on the history of art in Quebec and in 1934 began the massive inventory of Quebec arts. 24 Working with Barbeau and Morisset were the artists Jean Paul Lemieux, Jean Palardy, Jori Smith, and Stanley Cosgrove.
This interest in the traditional folk arts was parallelled by the appearance of the Murray Bay Primitives – chief among whom were the Bouchard sisters. In the United States the cult of primitive or naïve artists had been initiated by 'progressive' artists interested in the work of the Douanier Rousseau and the eccentric Louis Elsheimius, the untrained artist being seen as an expression of pure creativity unhampered by academic restraints. During the thirties, with the popularity of the American Regionalists, the primitive artists reached a wider public as examples of a regionalist, native art unsullied by foreign influences. It is not surprising, therefore, that the first sponsor of the Charlevoix or Murray Bay Primitives was an American, Patrick Morgan, 25 who organized an exhibition of their work in New York in 1937. 26
Jean Paul Lemieux's interest in the folk arts of Quebec began at a fairly early age. Born in Quebec City, he first visited the Charlevoix area in 1921 27 and while a student at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal illustrated several novels based on regionalist and historical themes. 28 In 1929 he visited France, travelling in Brittany and the Basque area, and in Paris met Clarence Gagnon. 29 Returning to Montreal, he formed, with Jean Palardy and Jori Smith (fellow students at the École des Beaux-Arts), a commercial art studio that survived six months before disbanding. 30 After spending some time travelling in the United States he returned to the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal where he studied wood engraving under Edwin Holgate and took life classes at Holgate's studio in the evenings. Lemieux's landscapes from this early date show a strong influence of Holgate – with their smoothly flowing, though solidly structured forms. 31
After teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts for two years, in 1935 he secured a new post at the École du Meuble. The Quebec government had organized this school the previous year 32 to improve the quality of the crafts made and sold in Quebec, with one eye on tourism, as well as to provide a solution to rural poverty. While conservative in its reliance on traditional crafts and values, the École du Meuble under its director, Jean-Marie Gauvreau, was to become the most progressive art school in Montreal.
At the École du Meuble, Jean Paul Lemieux worked with Marcel Parizeau, professor of architecture, through whom he discovered the artists of the School of Paris. 33 He broke from his earlier style to develop a more personal expression, a greater freedom of colour and paint and a slightly brittle, linear brushstroke seen in Landscape in the Eastern Townships (1936, cat. no. 84).
From 1935 Lemieux spent most of his summers in Charlevoix county with Jori Smith and her husband, Jean Palardy, especially after 1937 when he started teaching at the École des Beaux-Arts in Quebec City. 34 With Marius Barbeau they collected furniture, pottery, and carvings and spent a great deal of time with the Bouchard family and the other artists at Baie Saint-Paul. Lemieux became extremely interested in folk arts and by consequence such fifteenth-century Sienese artists as Giovanni di Paolo. The stylistic simplifications as well as the sincerity and simplicity of expression appealed to his modernist interests. He also saw in the folk arts a truly native and proletarian production, a breaking away from the Fine Arts. Just as the Mexican artists had incorporated native art forms into their politicized art, Jean Paul Lemieux wanted to relate his art to the social and political life of the people around him.
In an article he wrote for Le Jour Jean Paul Lemieux denounced the isolationism and conservatism of art teaching in Quebec and the decadence of church decoration. He praised the mural work of the Mexicans and w.p.a. projects in the United States for their social and educative rôle and for their employment of younger, more modern artists. 35 In his own work he turned away from landscape to anecdotal and satirical depictions of country life, the most successful of which is Lazarus (1941, cat. no. 85). In composition and theme this work has many parallels with Jock Macdonald's Indian Burial, Nootka (cat. no. 38); however, Jock Macdonald creates a more naturalistic depiction with a greater concentration on landscape. Jean Paul Lemieux allegorizes by the combination of multiple events in one composition, as in the Sienese works he so admired. The slightly comical parishioners patiently listen to the sermon while in the graveyard, the Lazarus of the priest's sermon rises from the dead symbolizing the resurrection of the family shot down on the country road by the parachutists. In this work Jean Paul Lemieux raises the anecdotal genre of social realism to the level of religious symbolism. It is unfortunate it was never incorporated in a church decoration.
Jean Paul Lemieux's attitude to rural life was very different from André Biéler's. Both were city-born and city-based, viewing the country from a distance; both artists were socially and politically committed; however, where Biéler idealizes, Jean Paul Lemieux satirizes. Perhaps Lemieux's more intimate contact with the reality of rural poverty in Quebec at the height of the Depression made it less easy to romanticize the farmer's life.
Jori Smith and Stanley Cosgrove also were attracted to the Charlevoix area, the former by its inhabitants, the latter by the country life and people. Jori Smith first studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal though she left in 1929, rejecting its academic training. After the commercial studio with Jean Paul Lemieux proved unsuccessful, she studied for a while with Edwin Holgate. All during the thirties, she and Jean Palardy spent the summers at Baie Saint-Paul, painting and collecting crafts and furniture, and from November to April, in Montreal surviving on a few dollars a week and the generosity of friends. 36
Like Pegi Nicol MacLeod, Jori's passionate nature and deep humanitarian concern got her involved in the work of the League for Social Reconstruction and she avidly followed events in Spain during the Civil War. Jori's essential humanism also attracted her to the children of Charlevoix County. They were poor and often ill with tuberculosis, and their sad faces fascinated her. Mlle Rose (1936, cat. no. 86) still shows the influence of Holgate's emphasis on structure and form, yet the freer quality of the brushwork presages the almost violent Expressionism of her later work. However, it was only after Pellan's arrival from France that she broke away from the muted tones of her Beaux-Arts training and was able to purify her colour. 37
Stanley Cosgrove also joined the Palardys and Lemieux at Charlevoix in the summers during the late thirties. Born of an Irish father and French-Canadian mother, Cosgrove spent four years studying drawing at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal and one year with Edwin Holgate at the Art Association. 38 Like his other pupils, Cosgrove praises the seriousness of Holgate's teaching and his concern for the formal qualities of his art.
During the summer of 1936, with money given him by Huntley Drummond, 39 he spent four months painting in the Gaspé. The following three summers he joined the Palardys and Lemieux at Baie Saint-Paul collecting furniture and painting the farms and people of the area. Much of his work parallels the American genre painting of the period; however, in Madeleine with Short Hair (1939, cat.no. 87) he stresses the plastic qualities of the figure with an almost crude strength of brushwork. The muted colours and coarse texture however impose a restraint that creates an expression of serenity belying the actual boldness of the work.
Like Jean Paul Lemieux, Cosgrove was interested in the American and Mexican revival of mural painting. In 1938 he decorated the church of Saint-Henri in Montreal with Maurice Raymond, and the following year assisted Edwin Holgate with the murals for the Canadian pavilion at the New York World's Fair. 40 Though the David Scholarship 41 that Cosgrove received in August 1939 was for studies in France, the war intervened. In December, he went to New York; however, finding that city too expensive, he travelled to Mexico where he was to remain for four years. 42
1. Louis Hémon, Maria Chapdelaine (Paris: Éditions Mornay, 1933). Illustrations by Clarence Gagnon.
2. Jean-René Ostiguy, Marc-Aurèle Fortin (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, ).
3. Gleams on the Hills (1920, oil on canvas; 32 x 34 in., 81.3 x 86.4 cm) in The National Gallery of Canada. See R.H. Hubbard, ed., The National Gallery of Canada. Catalogue. Paintings and Sculpture. Volume III: Canadian School (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960), p. 191 repr.
4. 'Marc-Aurèle Fortin,' La Presse (14 November 1936).
5. Jean-René Ostiguy, op. cit.
6. Frances K. Smith, 'The Chronology,' in André Biéler 50 Years: A Retrospective Exhibition 1920 — 1970 (exhibition catalogue) (Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1970).
7. Interview with André Biéler, Glenburnie (Ontario), 18 December 1973.
8. Frances K. Smith, op. cit.
9. See J.B. Manson, Ernest Biéler / Peintre Suisse (Lausanne: Éditions la Concorde, 1936).
10. Interview with André Biéler, Glenburnie (Ontario), 18 December 1973.
11. Frances K. Smith, op. cit.
12. See André Biéler, Le Gars au Cormoran, Gaspé (1930, oil on canvas; 26 x 20 in., 66.1 x 50.1 cm, collection Dr and Mrs Albert Fell, Kingston; repr. in Francis K. Smith, op. cit., fig. 16) and Edwin Holgate, The Lumberjack (1926, oil on canvas; 25-3/4 x 21-1/2 in., 65.4 x 54.7 cm, Sarnia Public Library and Art Gallery; repr. in Peter Mellen, The Group of Seven [Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1970], p. 166).
13. Frances K. Smith, op. cit.
14. Interview with André Biéler, Glenburnie (Ontario), 18 December 1973.
15. George Holt later worked on the W.P.A. artists' techniques research project at the Fogg Museum where he specialized in mosaics. He was also a member of the Boston 'Painter's Workshop' which lectured on painting techniques at the 1941 Kingston Conference.
16. The Atelier: A School of Drawing Painting Sculpture, n.d. [November 1931]. Prudence Heward, Mabel May, Lilias Newton, Sarah Robertson, and Annie Savage are also listed as members of the teaching staff; however it appears their names were added for social reasons. They didn't teach at the school. (Interview with Lilias T. Newton, Montreal, 11 September 1973.)
17. Interview with Allan Harrison, Montreal, 13 September 1973.
18. ' "The Atelier" / A School of Modern Art,' The Montrealer (October 1932).
19. Thomas Archer, 'Montreal Letter: The Art of Holgate,' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii, no. 23 (15 April 1933), p. 7.
20. Interview with Allan Harrison, Montreal, 13 September 1973.
21. 'People Who Do Things: André Biéler,' Saturday Night, vol. L, no. 46 (21 September 1935), p. 16.
22. Frances K. Smith, op. cit.
23. Interview with André Biéler, Glenburnie (Ontario), 18 December 1973.
24. Roland Prévost, 'M. Gérard Morisset,' La Revue Populaire, vol. XXVIII, no. 4 (April 1935), p. 5.
25. Patrick Morgan was a relative of Cleveland Morgan of the Art Association of Montreal, and of John Lyman.
26. 'The Douanier Rousseau Tradition In French Canada,' The Art News, vol. XXXVI, no. 10 (4 December 1937), p. 13.
27. Guy Robert, Jean Paul Lemieux la poétique de la souvenance (Quebec: Éditions Garneau, 1968), p. 15.
28. Robert Choquette, La pension Leblanc (Montreal, New York: Louis Carrier & Cie., 1927); Régis Roy, Le manoir hanté (Montreal, New York: Louis Carrier & Cie., 1928); Cora B. Fortier, Le petit page de Frontenac (Montreal: Librairie d'Action canadienne française Ltée, 1930).
29. Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 15.
30. Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 18.
31. See Soleil d'Après-midi (1933, oil on canvas; 30 x 34 in., 76.2 x 86.4 cm) in the Musée du Québec; repr. in Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 24.
32. Henri Girard, 'L'École du Meuble,' La Revue Moderne, vol. XXI, no. 4 (August 1939), p. 11.
33. Gilles Corbeil, 'Jean Paul Lemieux, Peintre Intimiste,' Arts et Pensée, vol. 3, no. 14 (December 1953), p. 39.
34. Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 22.
35. Jean Paul Lemieux, 'La Peinture chez les Canadiens français,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 44 (16 July 1938).
36. Interview with Jori Smith, Montreal, 16 January 1974.
38. Conversation with Stanley Cosgrove, Montreal, 8 March 1974.
39. Huntley Drummond was president of Redpath Sugar where Stanley Cosgrove's father worked. Stanley himself had worked there for several summers. (Conversation with Stanley Cosgrove, Montreal, 8 March 1974.)
40. Germain Leber, 'Stanley Cosgrove / peinture audacieux,' La Revue Moderne, vol. XXVI, no. 3 (July 1944), p. 22. The murals for New York were painted on canvas in Montreal and later installed in the pavilion.
41. Anasthase David had been Minister of Education in the Quebec government and was instrumental in setting up the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal and Quebec. The David Scholarship, the only one in Canada at this time, was offered for study in France. The first person to receive this prize was Alfred Pellan in 1926.
42. Conversation with Stanley Cosgrove, Montreal, 8 March 1974.
In response to an article lamenting the decline of the Group of Seven, 1 there appeared a letter in The Canadian Forum. It read, in part, 'This extreme interest in landscape for its sentimental geography is psychologically of the same essence as the popular predilection for anecdotic and souvenir painting. . . [the] emphasis has been misplaced, has been put on the objective rather than the subjective element of artistic creation. The real adventure takes place in the sensibility and imagination of the individual.' 2 This new voice on the Canadian art scene was that of John Lyman, who, within ten years, was to be largely instrumental in totally transforming the face of art in Canada.
John Lyman first studied art in Paris at the Académie Julian with Jean-Paul Laurens, at which time he came to know James Wilson Morrice, for whom he retained a life-long respect. Two years later, during the summer of 1909, he met the British artist Matthew Smith at Étaples and that autumn the two attended the Académie Matisse, a school run by Matisse's students in Paris. 3 Matthew Smith remained at the school for two months 4 and saw Matisse only three times; 5 however, John Lyman appears to have stayed the entire winter. 6 These contacts with Morrice and Matisse were crucial to John Lyman's art. Their devotion to a pure art of colour, line, and form, an art devoid of all anecdotal details or 'non-artistic' concepts, remained with Lyman throughout his life.
His first exhibition in Canada at the Art Association galleries in May 1913, 7 two months after Randolph Hewton's and A.Y. Jackson's 'daring' exhibition, 8 appeared to the Montreal critics to be adding insult to injury. Taking their cue from the criticism of the Armory Show in New York, 9 the journalists outdid themselves in denouncing his work. 10 Disgusted, John Lyman returned to Paris.
He spent the next eighteen years travelling in the United States, North Africa, Spain, and Southern France though based in Paris. In January of 1927 John Lyman's father died. 11 Lyman returned to Montreal where he held an exhibition of his recent work. 12 To his surprise the critics were favourable. More important, he wrote in his journal, 'before even the flattest Quebec landscape I feel that I have more to say than before the magnificent sites of Europe. Two years ago [I] should have thought this statement impossible.' 13 His exile was almost over.
He returned to Canada in the summer of 1930 14 and in February 1931 held another exhibition of his work in Montreal. 15 That September he returned to Canada for the last time. 16
In Montreal he sought out people sympathetic to creative ideas in art and literature, holding a weekly salon at his Sherbrooke Street apartment. 17 Through these gatherings there grew a core of people familiar with and supportive of contemporary European art.
Soon after settling in Montreal, with Hazen Sise, George Holt, Elizabeth Frost, and André Biéler, Lyman founded the Atelier. 18 In the introductory pamphlet, Hazen Sise 19 wrote, 'The essential qualities of a work of art lie in the relationships of form to form, and of colour to colour. From these the eye, and especially the trained eye derives its pleasure and all artistic emotion must find its expression through these means.' 20 Stressing the importance of classical principles in art, the principles that united the art of the past to the art of the European moderns, Lyman introduced his students to Ingres, Cézanne, and Matisse and the Journals of Delacroix. 21 At the same time as he supported French art, John Lyman was opposed to what he felt to be the xenophobic nationalism of Canadian art. To those who feared the taint of foreign art, Lyman replied, 'The talk of the Canadian scene has gone sour. The real Canadian scene is in the consciousness of Canadian painters, whatever the object of their thought.’ 22
The Atelier survived only two winters, 23 though for a few summers, John Lyman ran a school at his Saint-Jovite farm in the Laurentians. 24 He also continued to lecture on art, at one point addressing the Quebec Library Association with Charles Maillard, director of the École des Beaux-Arts. Maillard called for the removal from libraries of all literature hindering 'the true appreciation of art,' 25 and Lyman stressed the necessity of exposure to all new developments. 26
From 1936 to 1940 John Lyman wrote a monthly art column for The Montrealer 27 commenting on developments in Canadian art, linking these with international trends, and offering some of the most intelligent writing on art in Canada at that time. He was especially instrumental in stressing the importance of annual exhibitions of contemporary French art held at the galleries of W. Scott & Sons. 28 These exhibitions, organized in conjunction with Alex. Reid & Lefevre Limited in London and brought to Montreal by John Heaton, 29 offered Montrealers some of the first works by Matisse, Modigliani, Léger, Braque, Derain, Dufy, and Picasso seen in that city. These exhibitions played an important rôle in developing an interest in international developments in painting and determining future trends in Montreal.
John Lyman's own painting during the thirties developed in a sure and logical manner. Haying by the Lake (1933, cat. no. 88) is one of a series of landscapes painted at Saint-Jovite which he entitled 'Variations on the Lake.' 30 Confronted by the wilder aspects of the Canadian terrain, he organizes its shapes so that it has almost the aspect of classical landscape. There is no hint of the more romantic moods of the Group of Seven, but a serene vision of light-modulated forms.
It was above all the human figure, in all its multiplicity of moods and forms, that interested Lyman. The smoothly flowing brush-work and glowing colour asserts the plastic qualities of the forms in The Card Game (c. 1935, cat. no. 89). The sombre tones and vibrating colour of Jori Smith in Costume (1936, cat. no. 90) contrasts with the severe verticals and horizontals of the patrician Woman With White Collar ( c. 1936, cat. no. 91). The same, broad, horizontal brushstroke is used in Lassitude (c. 1937, cat. no. 92) accentuating the essentially architectonic quality of Lyman's art which is saved from stiffness by the vibrating bronze of the skin.
John Lyman's painting is not easily appreciated. His colour has an almost puritan reticence, his subjects are serious and detached. At times an awkward stiffness does appear in his work; yet at its best, his is an art of sobriety, order, and measure. He builds a solid construction which is made to last.
John Lyman recognized that there were newer artists working in Montreal who were cut off from the 'Canadian scene' painting that dominated in Toronto and who found no support from public institutions. In contrast to the apparent xenophobia of the Group, he found among the newer artists an openness to European art. As he commented, 'In Quebec and generally in the east, possibly because we are accustomed to contacts, painters have never been greatly disturbed by the danger of influence. They have willingly recognized alien qualities and have hoped the example might be of use to them. They have tried to assimilate its fundamental lessons but they have not been inclined to imitation. What they have learned, they have made their own.' 31 Some of these artists were European-born and recent arrivals in Canada. Others had studied in Europe or the United States and were producing work unrelated to the Group tradition.
One of the first artists John Lyman championed was Goodridge Roberts. On visiting an exhibition of Roberts's watercolours at The Arts Club in Montreal, 32 John Lyman wrote him, 'I knew by my elation that I had seen real stuff. I like your work immensely for its terse characterization in drawing and particularly for your rare ability to see colour, not merely use it illustratively or as a schematic ornament.' 33 This was important praise for an artist who had been working almost completely unknown and in total poverty for the last two years.
Roberts, nephew of the poet Sir Charles G.D. Roberts and cousin of the poet Bliss Carman, was raised in New Brunswick, except for a period during the First World War when the family moved to England. He entered the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in 1923 and in the fall of 1926 went to New York to study at the Art Students League. Boardman Robinson, John Sloan, and Max Weber introduced him to Cézanne, Giotto, and Masaccio. In the galleries for the first time he saw the works of Matisse and Picasso. 34
Returning to Canada, Roberts worked for a year in Fredericton and in the summer of 1930 moved to Ottawa. He taught that winter at the Ottawa Art Association and the following summer, with two friends, conducted a school at Wakefield near Hull. 35
It was in the summer of 1932, working at Kingsmere, near Wakefield, that Roberts 'got beyond the tentative stage of experiment and suddenly found [himself] doing one watercolour after another with feverish speed.' 36 The rapid assessment and simplification demanded by the five-minute sketches in John Sloan's classes now paid off. These watercolours were exhibited later that fall at The Arts Club in Montreal where they attracted the attention of Cleveland Morgan and John Lyman. The latter invited him to participate in the Atelier exhibition the following spring. 37 The exhibition resulted in some of his first sales and brought his work to the attention of a small though interested and knowledgeable public.
These few years in Ottawa were difficult ones for Goodridge Roberts. Living on $1.50 a week left no money for oils, so he confined himself to watercolour. At times, while painting, he would be too weak to continue and would have to lie down in the fields to recoup his strength. However, as Jacques de Tonnancour has written: 'He lost five teeth, his strength for several months . . . and survived. He had supported his painting and had been able to give it life. That had been enough for him and had carried him through. He was a painter; that was his strength.' 38
During the summer of 1933 he worked just east of Ottawa. The watercolours he produced, such as Ottawa Valley (1933, cat. no. 93), are more intricate than those of the previous year. He builds up the space with layers of colour, purples, greens, browns, and blacks so that even the sky becomes a plastic entity. The watercolour suffuses the open landscape with a unity of mood through carefully coordinated tones.
In November 1933, through the assistance of Harry McCurry, Assistant Director of The National Gallery, and with a grant from the Carnegie Corporation, Roberts was appointed resident artist at Queen's University in Kingston and was able to marry. He disliked teaching and had little time to paint. 39 After three years, the Carnegie grant was discontinued 40 and the Robertses moved to Montreal, where Goodridge opened a school with Ernst Neumann, whom he had known since his days at the École des Beaux-Arts. 41 Though pupils were few, the school survived two or three winters.
From 1932 to 1940 Goodridge Roberts had twelve solo exhibitions in Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto 42 and participated in numerous group exhibitions, yet sales were almost non-existent. He had difficulty raising the money even for framing and shipping. 43 In the fall of 1940 he returned to institutional teaching, this time at the Art Association of Montreal. 44
With the temporary security of money saved while at Queen's, Roberts returned to oil painting with an ever-increasing surety. In Ontario Landscape in a Red Light (1936, cat. no. 94), painted on the outskirts of Ottawa in September 1936, he simplifies the shapes of the trees and receding fields and hills, concentrating on the relationship of the forms. As in the earlier watercolours, a single dominant tone pervades the whole picture, creating a feeling of rich melancholy. 45
As in the work of Giotto, whom he so much admired, Roberts's figures are solemn and monumental. In Marian (1937, cat. no. 95) the strongly sculptural quality of the figure is reinforced by the verticals and horizontals of the background playing against the Matisse-like pattern of the dress. The strong division between shadows and light on the face, perhaps derived from John Lyman's work, asserts its plastic solidity.
The silhouette of the Standing Nude (1938, cat. no. 96) is less simplified, formed of more subtle curves. The strong contrasts of darks and lights, and of freely brushed forms with flat solid planes, creates dynamic tensions in this complex figure. Comparing this work with John Lyman's Jori Smith in Costume (cat. no. 90) opposes intuition and reason. The latter is surely and intelligently constructed with utmost control. Roberts paints with freedom and passion. The shadows are sombre, almost mysterious and, at the same time, beautifully sensuous. As Neufville Shaw has remarked, 'In Lyman, one's eye is directed by the drawing to follow the arabesque of line as it encloses mass or limits colour. In Roberts, one is tossed from mass to mass. The one is all grace and certainty; the other is all imminence and indefiniteness. Lyman leaves little to chance, Roberts everything.' 46
The sombre moods of Roberts's work take on a quite different character in the paintings of Philip Surrey. Surrey left Vancouver in October 1936 47 to study anatomical drawing at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore; 48 however, unable to enter the class, he went to the Art Students League in New York where he studied three months with Frank Vincent Dumond and painting techniques with Alexander Abels. He moved to Montreal that spring, doing freelance commercial work for a year until he found employment with the Montreal Standard as photograph editor. 49
Philip Surrey's painting in Montreal changed considerably from his earlier Vancouver work. The Boardwalk (c. 1938, cat. no. 97) still retains much of the Varley lyricism with its misty blues and greens. The solidly painted shadows on the boardwalk, abruptly projecting from the foreground, similar to the mast of Varley's Night Ferry, Vancouver (cat. no. 40), catches some of the menacing quality of his later work.
Surrey's New York experience, the Depression, and his contacts in Montreal, pulled him away from lyrical painting to more socially involved themes. With Jean Paul Lemieux and Jori Smith he shared a concern for political developments both in Quebec and Spain. His recognition of a growing malaise and the imminence of conflict is reflected in his art. The gaunt and awkward figures in Sunday Afternoon (1939, cat. no. 98), painted from memory of a veillée at Saint-Hilarion which he attended with the Palardys, are isolated, each caught in his or her own tragic situation. He paints with less fluidity and more concern for structure, accentuating the macabre reality of the individual sitters.
In The Red Portrait (1939, cat. no. 99), a Gothic arch of light emanates from the window framing the sitter. The rough texture of the paint, the isolation of the figure, and the hollow space of the empty room express the feeling of dislocation and tension felt by many on the eve of war. The simplified forms of the buildings and increased solidity of the forms reflect Surrey's debt to Goodridge Roberts.
Fritz Brandtner, born and educated in Danzig, emigrated to Canada in 1928. In Winnipeg he first worked as a house-painter but soon found employment with the T. Eaton Co. and from there with Brigden's of Winnipeg Limited working on the Eaton's catalogues. With his savings and the sponsorship of LeMoine FitzGerald he was able to bring out his fiancée the following year. 50
While Winnipeg offered steady employment, Brandtner found few outlets for his work. Being paid so little, he couldn't afford the cost of framing and shipping his work east for exhibition. 51 FitzGerald recommended he go to Montreal recognizing that Montreal would be more open to experimental art than Toronto which was still so strongly tied to the Group of Seven. 52
The Brandtners arrived in Montreal in March 1934 53 and he soon found work in window display for the T. Eaton Co. 54 FitzGerald had given him an introduction to Robert Ayre, art critic for the Montreal Gazette and, through the Ayres, Fritz met many of the newer Montreal artists. 55
The first work Fritz Brandtner exhibited in Montreal was purchased by Norman Bethune; 56 he made contact with the artist and from there developed a close friendship. Brandtner for several years had been doing drawings and watercolours, similar to Men of 1939 (1939, cat. no. 100), in a style often reminiscent of George Grosz. Drawings in vivid coloured inks of unemployed men on park benches, blind fiddlers, workers locked out of factories, families in gas masks, victims of chemical warfare – all these appealed to Bethune, both in their subject matter and their intensity of expression. He arranged an exhibition of Brandtner's work at Morgan's department store in February 1936 under the sponsorship of The Canadian League Against War and Fascism. 57 The exhibition received a mixed reaction. Robert Ayre in The Gazette praised his inventiveness and strength. 58 Henri Girard in Le Canada called Brandtner, 'one of the most remarkable artists, the artists worthy of our respect, who have ever lived in Montreal.' 59 However, Reynald of La Presse, in a long article entitled 'The Nightmares of F. Brandtner,' raised a cry of horror: 'Brandtner rejects the canons of drawing, the rules of colouring, conventions and fixed laws. For him the world exists only in the image and as a resemblance of nightmares and hallucinations.' 60 Fritz Brandtner had arrived.
Brandtner's work at this time shows a great variety both in subject matter and style with an intensity of colour and line that is very personal. Much of it is small in format, as he had little money for materials and drew continuously. However, it is often these small works that are most successful, for they retain the directness of expression and strength of line sometimes lost in larger works. He absorbed, reproduced and transformed themes and styles of many different artists, mostly from artists whose work he knew in Germany, such as George Grosz, Erich Waske, Heinrich Naven, or Wilhelm Morgener. 61 The gas-masked figures from Diego Rivera's Detroit Institute murals reappear in his drawings.
His familiarity with modern European art as well as the speed of execution and inventiveness, which he also incorporated into his commercial art, gave his work a great freedom and strength. In his representational works, such as The Riders (1939, cat. no. 101), as well as in Abstraction (1936, cat. no. 102), totally devoid of all figurative references, he organizes flat planes, geometric patterns, and Expressionist line into a dynamically integrated whole.
This same daring and freedom he passed on to the children in his classes. Late in the summer of 1936 Norman Bethune invited Fritz Brandtner to set up children's classes in his apartment on Beaver Hall Square. 62 Bethune paid for the materials and the Children's Art Centre was opened. However, Bethune soon left for Spain; 63 the Brandtners moved into the apartment, and Fritz supported the Centre himself. He conducted classes for children from the poorer areas of the city and in the hospitals, 64 offering them their first opportunity to work with freedom, breaking away from mechanical reproduction.
Marian Scott taught with Fritz Brandtner at the Children's Art Centre for two years. 65 She had studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal for one year and then for a term at the Slade School of Art in London. Returning to Canada in 1928 she married Frank Scott. The birth of a son the following year prevented her from devoting herself to her art. 66 It was only after the mid-thirties that she had time to paint.
Marian Scott's earliest works consisted of geometrically organized landscapes. These were followed by formal studies of plants and buds in various stages of growth, inspired by the work of Georgia O'Keeffe. Through the exhibitions at W. Scott & Sons and periodicals she developed an interest in the linear stylization of Modigliani's figures and the ambiguous, spatial relationships of Juan Gris' cubist works.
At the same time, Marian Scott, like so many other artists in the thirties, felt a need somehow to relate her work to the social issues of the day, to break down the barrier between contemporary art and the people and be integrated with the society at large. 67 She turned away from landscape and organic subjects to urban scenes, ships in harbour, people on escalators, and workers in the streets. In Escalator (1937, cat. no. 103) the environment is mechanized, the people shifted on conveyor belts. The concern for the movement of figures in space and differing spatial relationships is also seen in Tenants ( c. 1940, cat. no. 104) where the figures retain a greater individuality, even in their anonymity. Just as in the work of Oskar Schlemmer, the human figure becomes a symbol of a humanist philosophy within a rational environment.
If Marian Scott's reaction to her urban environment was based on a rationalist faith, Louis Muhlstock's derived from a more immediate sensuous and romantic identification. Born in the province of Galicia in Poland, Louis Muhlstock came to Canada with his family in 1911 at the age of seven. He first took drawing lessons in evening courses at the Monument National in Montreal under Edmond Dyonnet and later at the École des Beaux-Arts, all this time working for his family's fruit importing firm, saving money to enable him to study in Paris. He spent three years in France, from 1928 to 1931, studying with Louis François Biloul in Paris, with summers in Brittany (1929) and Belgium and the Alps (1930). 68
Returning to Canada at the outset of the Depression, Louis Muhlstock again found employment with his family's firm. Having little money for materials, he drew during his free time – studies of unemployed men he picked up on the street, men sleeping in the parks or ill or elderly people. For a period around 1932 he frequented the public wards of hospitals drawing patients with incurable diseases. 69 Interpreted with compassion and love, Louis Muhlstock transforms their suffering into symbols of human dignity and pride in the face of destruction. Death and suffering are always present but also an enduring faith in life.
With the materials available, Louis Muhlstock did continue to paint the back lanes in the area around his Sainte-Famille Street apartment, dead trees on Mount Royal, or empty rooms in abandoned houses. In Sainte-Famille Street (1939, cat. no. 105), the streets and lanes are devoid of people, expressing the quiet calm of early summer mornings. Of the empty rooms, Muhlstock wrote, 'What intrigued me was the feeling of rooms that had been lived in. To try to express the silence of a room that was something I wanted very much to arrive at and at the same time to play with shapes on canvas, to create a composition and to play with structures and textures.' 70 The musty drabness of Open Door of Third House, Groubert Lane, Montreal (c. 1939, cat. no. 106) is transformed by the fluid texture and play of light. The compassionate humanism of his figure drawings pervades these empty urban scenes, evoking their former inhabitants by their very abandonment.
Alexandre Bercovitch and Eric Goldberg both arrived in Canada via Germany and Palestine. Bercovitch was born in Cherson in the Ukraine and studied four years in Palestine and one year in Munich under Franz von Stuck. 71 He returned to Russia and designed stage sets for the Moscow Art Theatre under Leon Bakst. 72 In 1924 he moved to Turkestan where he opened an art school in Ashkabad. 73 However, famines and political strife forced him to leave Russia two years later to join his wife's family in Montreal.
At first he supported his family in Montreal by painting signs and decorations for cabarets, churches, and synagogues. However, jobs were harder and harder to find. When he was about to be evicted from his apartment, his social worker, Regina Shoolman, 74 put him in touch with Sidney Carter who offered him an exhibition and temporary reprieve. 75 He later found work teaching at the Y.W.H.A.
He continued to design stage sets for Yiddish theatre groups and for productions put on by various leftist political groups, though more from an interest in theatre than political conviction. 76 In 1935, with financial assistance from Vincent Massey, 77 he made his first trip to the Gaspé, to which he was often to return.
Alexandre Bercovitch's work at this time consisted of naturalistic depictions of city streets, Expressionist stage sets, Impressionist Gaspé landscapes, and dramatic portraits and character studies of his family and friends. In The Artist's Family (1934, cat. no. 107) the roughly applied paint has an Expressionist intensity, accentuated by the confinement and monumentality of the figures.
The forceful plastic and Expressionist qualities of Bercovitch's work contrasts with the gentle romanticism of Eric Goldberg's paintings. Born in Berlin, Goldberg studied first with Lovis Corinth and later at the Académie Julian in Paris from 1906 to 1910, at the same time as John Lyman, A.Y. Jackson, and Randolph Hewton. 78 He returned to Berlin and after the war travelled and painted in France, Spain, and Palestine. In 1928 he married the Montreal artist Regina Seiden and for the next eight years alternated between Montreal and Europe.
Eric Goldberg's painting has a very lyrical quality, reminiscent of Jules Pascin. In Tossa del Mar ( c. 1934, cat. no. 108) all is suggestion rather than statement. Reducing the elements to their basic shapes, he creates a colour poem of misty forms and spacious landscapes.
Despite the high quality of their work, these artists had little chance to exhibit. Their paintings were consistently rejected by the juries for Montreal exhibitions, the Royal Canadian Academy, and the Spring Exhibition at the Art Association, and, unlike the Toronto community, there was little cooperative effort among Montreal artists.
John Lyman first brought the newer artists together in an exhibition at The Arts Club in February 1937. 79 That autumn Fritz Brandtner arranged another Salon des Indépendants at the annual Produced in Canada Exhibition. 80 In the spring of 1938, the Eastern Group of Painters was formed, the first exhibition being held at the galleries of W. Scott & Sons in November. 81
The members of the new group included John Lyman, Alexandre Bercovitch, Eric Goldberg, Goodridge Roberts, Jack Humphrey, 82 and Jori Smith. As John Lyman had stated in his column in The Montrealer, what characterized the 'eastern' artists was their openness to European influence. At the same time there is a pervasive mood in the work of all these artists, be it the colour-saturated landscapes of Roberts and Goldberg or the moody figure studies and portraits by Lyman, Bercovitch, Humphrey, Smith, and Roberts. A similar tone pervades the work of Philip Surrey who replaced Jack Humphrey as the sixth member of the group the following year. 83
John Lyman was not alone in supporting more international developments in Canada. Maurice Gagnon, Ottawa-born and graduate of the University of Paris and the École du Louvre, returned to teach in Montreal in 1935. 84 In La Revue Moderne, 85 and in lectures 86 he outlined and publicized the development of contemporary French art. He began teaching art history at the École du Meuble in 1937, joining Marcel Parizeau, also Paris-trained and professor of architecture, and Paul-Émile Borduas, the newly appointed instructor of drawing and decoration. 87
Born in Saint-Hilaire near Montreal, Paul-Émile Borduas first discovered the world of art through the decorations of Ozias Leduc in the village church. In 1920, at the age of fifteen, he apprenticed himself to Ozias Leduc and for the next seven years assisted him in his work, at the same time attending the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal. Graduating in 1927, he taught for a year and, in November 1928, with financial assistance from Monseigneur Olivier Maurault and Ozias Leduc, left for France. 88
In Paris he studied five months at the École des Arts Sacrés, the school directed by Maurice Denis and George Desvallières, and, in April 1929, left Paris to travel in Brittany, Alsace, and Lorraine. After a winter assisting in various church decorations, including the installations of the windows by the Dominican Marie-Alain Couturier at Chaillon, he returned to Montreal in June 1930. 89
After two years of fruitless attempts to obtain commissions for church decorations,' 90 he returned to teaching at the Collège André Grasset and for the Catholic School Commission. 91 In 1937 he sought a teaching position at the École des Beaux-Arts in Quebec. However, Jean Paul Lemieux obtained the post and Borduas replaced him at the École du Meuble. 92
Teaching long hours left little time for his own work. Of his painting in the thirties, Borduas wrote, 'Studio work is soul-destroying. Out of six years of determined work only ten canvases are worth a thing. And I recognize that those ten are happy accidents impossible to repeat.' 93 His early work shows a strong influence of Maurice Denis, very decorative with a gentle romanticism. However by 1937 there is greater concern for structure and for the plastic qualities of paint. In the Portrait of Maurice Gagnon (1937, cat. no. 109), 94 the structure of the vest and broad lapels, and the richness of brown becoming sensuous texture in the background, show Borduas slowly progressing to a more personal and studied expression.
Teaching children guided Borduas to the freedom of creative painting. 95 At the same time, with John Lyman, 96 Marcel Parizeau, and Maurice Gagnon he studied the history of art, seeking the principles and forms that unite the art of the past to the present. 97 In his own work to 1941 there occurs a form of rattrapage ('catching up') from Maurice Denis to Cézanne to Picasso and Braque and finally to Surrealism. 98 However, it is only with the arrival of Pellan in 1940 that Borduas was to accelerate his development leading to the gouaches of 1941 – 1942.
With the increasing artistic activity in Montreal and the large number of artists excluded from the Eastern Group, 99 it was apparent that a larger society was needed to incorporate progressive artists of divergent trends and to further the cause of modern art.
John Lyman first mentioned the idea for such an organization in an article published in the fall of 1938 in which he lamented the lack of financial and moral support given the finest contemporary artists. 100 In the unpublished closing line, he wrote, 'We badly need active organizations in support of creative art such as the Contemporary Arts [sic] Society in England and numerous ones in the United States.' 101
The British Contemporary Art Society 102 had been formed in 1910 'to bring to light young and rising talent . . .; to purchase, for the benefit of the public, works by artists of acknowledged power who are not properly represented in the [public] Galleries; and by its loan and presentations to spread throughout the country the knowledge and appreciation of modern art.' 103 John Lyman recognized that a similar organization in Montreal could further the cause of contemporary art and financially assist the artists.
In January 1939 104 the Contemporary Arts Society 105 was formed and by May had twenty-six artist members. 106 John Lyman was president, Paul-Émile Borduas, vice-president, Fritz Brandtner, secretary, and Philip Surrey, treasurer. 107 All the artist members were from Montreal except for Jack Humphrey, though Fritz Brandtner did invite André Biéler, 108 Paraskeva Clark, 109 and LeMoine FitzGerald 110 to join. All refused.
The Contemporary Arts Society was not solely an artists' organization. It also sought to foster the development of a living, progressive art alive to contemporary life. 'It took exactly the position of an anti-academy, putting emphasis on the living quality of art – on imagination, sensitivity, intuition, and spontaneity as opposed to conventional proficiency, regarding membership in an academy as merely a consolation for having died during one's own lifetime.' 111 An associate membership was created for non-artists 'to give support to contemporary trends in art and to further the artistic interests of its members . . . .' 112 To encourage sales of works, a discount was available to members and a picture-loan system organized. 113
To fulfill its educational rôle, the first exhibition arranged by the Contemporary Arts Society was entitled Art of Our Day 114 and consisted of non-Canadian modern works borrowed from Montreal collectors. 115 The works in the exhibition reflected Lyman's preferences in contemporary art – Derain, Dufy, Frances Hodgkins, Modigliani, and Matthew Smith – as well as the limitations of local collections. 116 While not 'the first adequate representation in Canada of Modern work by leading foreign artists,' 117 it did signal the beginnings of a united effort for contemporary art and the invasion of the conservative halls of the Art Association.
The following autumn an exhibition of paintings by artist-members of the Contemporary Arts Society was held at the Stevens Art Gallery, 118 and in November 1940 a third exhibition of works by members of the Canadian Group of Painters and Contemporary Arts Society. 119 However, the battle was not to be fought without some token opposition. Even before the opening of Art of Our Day Clarence Gagnon lashed out in a talk entitled 'The Grand Bluff – Modernistic Art' given to the conservative Pen and Pencil Club, 120 drawing an assertive reply from John Lyman full of references to heavy-weight supporters of contemporary art and a more reasoned response from Marcel Parizeau. 121 Most of the journalistic response, however, was extremely favourable.
Apart from Robert Ayre, most of the coverage and interest in the development of the Contemporary Arts Society was coming from French-language writers, 122 who soon commented on the lack of French-Canadian artists in the group. 123 Of all the members only four were French-speaking: Paul-Émile Borduas, Stanley Cosgrove, Louise Gadbois, and Jean Palardy. However, political, literary, and artistic developments were eventually to transform the Contemporary Arts Society into one of the leading forces in French-Canadian cultural life.
Jean-Charles Harvey founded the newspaper Le Jour in 1937 with a nationalist ideology designed to bring the culture of Quebec out of its provincialism into the mainstream of world developments. He denounced the soul-destroying education of the École des Beaux-Arts and the isolationism of its director, Charles Maillard, 124 calling upon the artists to break away from regionalist local colour, ceinture fléchée, and habitants, to seek a non-colonial universal expression. 'If French Canadians have been so mediocre in arts and letters, it is not for want of talent but from a lack of freedom. They have been subjugated. For one hundred years they have been subjected to an intellectual fascism which has annihilated them . . . .' 125 'Art must be revolutionary or nothing, in the sense that, at the risk of dying, it must incessantly search for all the formulas of beauty and all aspects of beauty.' 126
In contrast to the 'lack of audacity, of personality, and genuine sensitivity' of the Anciens de l'École des Beaux-Arts 127 was Alfred Pellan, a rising Quebec star in France. In the two years before his return from France, large Pellan exhibitions were periodically predicted. 128 Here was not only a local boy who made good, but a Quebecker who had left behind regionalist clichés to discover 'a Paris enriched by centuries of refinement.' 129 To the critics of internationalism, Jean Paul Lemieux wrote, 'Pellan is reproached for being an internationalist, for not having remained Canadian. Why should he be content with folklore images when he could go further? Why confine art within petty limits? Is not art universal?' 130
To find the universal through subjective expression, to link the intellectual life of Quebec to the source of twentieth-century ideas in France, not in colonial servitude but in an alliance of spirit, this was the direction of the forties. With the arrival of Père Marie-Alain Couturier in March 1940 131 and Alfred Pellan in May 132 the stage was set.
1. Jehanne Biétry Salinger, 'The Group of Seven,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XII, no. 136 (January 1932), pp. 142 – 143.
2. John Lyman, 'Letter to the Editor: Canadian Art,' The Canadian Forum, vol. XII, no. 140 (May 1932), p. 313.
3. Edward P. Lawson, 'Chronology,' John Lyman (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1963).
4. Philip Hendy, Matthew Smith (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1944), p.7.
5. Matthew Smith (London: George Allen and Unwin Limited, 1962).
6. Edward P. Lawson, op. cit. John Lyman stated he attended the school during its final year. See John Lyman, 'Adieu Matisse,' Canadian Art, vol. XII, no. 2 (Winter 1955), p. 45. However, the school did not close until the summer of 1911. See Alfred H. Barr, Jr, Matisse: His Art And His Public (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1951), p. 117.
7. Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 21 – 31 May 1913, Exhibition of Paintings & Drawings by John G. Lyman.
8. Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, to 7 March 1913, [R.S. Hewton and A. Y. Jackson].
9. New York, Sixty-Ninth Regiment Armory, 17 February – 15 March 1913, International Exhibition of Modern Art.
10. They had also bitterly denounced John Lyman's works included in the Annual Spring Exhibition the previous month. For excerpts from the critical reaction, see Edward P. Lawson, op. cit.; also Paul Dumas, 'Lyman,' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 11 (17 December 1943), p. III.
11.Edward P. Lawson, op. cit.
12. Montreal, the Johnson Art Galleries Ltd., 1 – 15 October 1927, Exhibition of Recent Paintings and Drawings by John Lyman.
13. John Lyman, 'Journal,' vol. I, entry for 3 August ; in the Bibliothèque Nationale du Québec, Montreal.
14. John Lyman, 'Journal,' vol. II, entries for 17 August  at Sainte-Pétronille, Île d'Orléans; 5 September  at Montreal; in the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal.
15. Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, [February 1931], Exhibition of Paintings by John Lyman.
16. John Lyman, 'Journal,' vol. II, entry for 28 September  at Outremont; in the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal.
17. Among others attending these weekly gatherings were Frank and Marian Scott, Jeannette and André Biéler, Hazen Sise, Elizabeth Frost, Ronald McCall, Cleveland Morgan, John and Florence Byrd, Jacques Biéler, and John Humphrey.
18. 'School Of Art Is Formed By Group,' Montreal Gazette (17 November 1931).
19. Hazen Sise graduated in 1929 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and received his degree in February 1930. He went to Paris and worked for a short period in Le Corbusier's architectural office. In the fall of 1930 he went to New York and worked for Howe and Lescaze, returning to Montreal in the autumn of 1931. (Interview with Hazen Sise, Ottawa, 1 February 1974).
20. The Atelier: A School of Drawing Painting Sculpture (pamphlet, n.d.).
21. Interview with Allan Harrison, Montreal, 13 September 1973. Allan Harrison was massier at the Atelier – responsible for arranging the classes and timing the poses of the models.
22. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (1 February 1938).
23. Two exhibitions of works by staff members and invited contributots were held: Montreal, Henry Morgan & Company, 29 March – 9 April 1932, André Biéler, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Elizabeth Frost, Edwin H. Holgate, George Holt, John Lyman; Montreal, Henry Morgan & Company, 1 – 13 May 1933, André Biéler, Elizabeth Frost, George Holt, John Lyman, Goodridge Roberts.
24. The Lyman Summer Art Class, 2 July to 10 September 1935, Pamphlet. Harold Beament also taught with John Lyman this summer.
25. Montreal Gazette (23 January 1934).
26. The typescript of John Lyman's talk is among the Lyman Papers in the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal.
27. See section Selected Bibliography: John Lyman in Bibliography.
28. Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, December 1934, French Paintings by the Impressionists and Modern Artists; Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, March 1936, Exhibition of French Paintings / Renoir and His Contemporaries; Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, October 1936, Exhibition of Modern French Paintings / The School of Paris; Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, October 1937, Exhibition of Paintings by French Masters of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries; Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, October 1938, Paintings By French Masters, 'Delacroix to Dufy.'
29. John Heaton took over W. Scott & Sons about 1930 from his father Frank Heaton, the son-in-law of William Scott. See 'Frank R. Heaton Dies in 74th Year,' Montreal Gazette (23 October 1939). The firm held an auction of their stock in April 1938 (Montreal, Fraser Bros., Ltd., [April 1938], Greatest Art Auction in Montreal's History . . . Comprising The Entire Stock of Messrs. W. Scott & Sons), moving to new quarters that fall and closing permanently the next spring. See St. George Burgoyne, 'W. Scott & Sons Leaving Business as Art Dealers in Firm's 80th Year,' Montreal Gazette(4 March 1939).
30. 'Variations on the Lake' exhibited Montreal, W. Scott & Sons, 6 – 20 February 1937, Exhibition of Paintings by John Lyman, nos. 36 – 42.
31. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (1 February 1938).
32. Montreal, The Arts Club, 31 October – 18 November 1932, Exhibition of Water Color Paintings by Goodridge Roberts.
33. Jacques G. de Tonnancour, Roberts (Montreal: L'Arbre, 1944), p. 15, n. 1.
34. James Borcoman, Goodridge Roberts (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1969), pp. 44 – 45.
36. Goodridge Roberts, 'From This Point I Looked Out,' Queen's Quarterly (Autumn 1953), p. 320. Reprinted in James Borcoman, op. cit., p. 188. All references will be to the reprint edition.
37. Montreal, Henry Morgan & Company, 1 – 13 May 1933, André Biéler, Elizabeth Frost, George Holt, John Lyman, Goodridge Roberts.
38. Jacques G. de Tonnancour, op. cit., p. 14.
39. Goodridge Roberts, op. cit., p. 192.
40. Marian Roberts, Kingston, to Kathleen Fenwick, Ottawa, 27 August ; in The National Gallery of Canada.
41. Ernst Neumann, 'Canadian Artists of Today / Wm. Goodridge Roberts,' New Frontier, vol. I, no. 4 (July 1936), p. 30.
42. James Borcoman, op. cit., pp. 45 – 46.
43. Goodridge Roberts, Montreal, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 June 1940; in The National Gallery of Canada.
44. Robert Ayre, 'Art in Montreal is Given New and Vigorous Life,' Saturday Night, vol. lvi, no. 10 (16 November 1940), p. 19.
45. This melancholia appears in Roberts's poetry also. 'Beneath my feet the spring of life is gushing; Above my head the bird of death is winging.' (Goodridge Roberts, op. cit., p. 189.)
46. Neufville Shaw, 'Goodridge Roberts – 1949,' Northern Review, vol. III, no. 1 (October–November 1949), p. 27.
47. Interview with Philip Surrey, Montreal, 14 September 1973.
48. Robert Ayre, 'The City and the Dream of Philip Surrey,' Canadian Art, vol. XXI, no. 5 (September – October 1964), p. 284.
49. Interview with Philip Surrey, Montreal, 14 September 1973.
50. Interview with Mrs Mieze Brandtner, Montreal, 12 September 1973.
51. Fritz Brandtner, Winnipeg, to Eric Brown, Ottawa, 27 December 1932; in The National Gallery of Canada.
52. J. Russell Harper, Fritz Brandtner 1896 – 1969 (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1971), p. 15.
53. Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 4 April 1934; private property.
54. Interview with Mrs Mieze Brandtner, Montreal, 12 September 1973.
55. Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, to L.L. FitzGerald, Winnipeg, 4 April 1934; private property.
56. Interview with Mrs Mieze Brandtner, Montreal, 12 September 1973. The painting was Sunflower and was exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, 19 April – 13 May 1934, 51st Spring Exhibition, no. 38. It is presently in the collection of Mr Edward Schneerer, Montreal.
57. Montreal, Henry Morgan & Company, 15 – 29 February 1936, Exhibition of Paintings by Fritz Brandtner.
58. R.H.A. [Robert Ayre], 'Fritz Brandtner's Work is Exhibited,' Montreal Gazette (15 February 1936). Reprinted as 'Art-Expressionist in Montreal,' New Frontier, vol. I, no. 2 (May 1936), pp. 29 – 30.
59. Henri Girard, 'La Vie Artistique – Fritz Brandtner,' Le Canada (26 February 1936).
60. Reynald [E.R. Bertrand], 'Les cauchemars de F. Brandtner,' La Presse (22 February 1936).
61. Fritz Brandtner brought with him to Canada a series of monograph booklets on modern German and French artists through which he continually refamiliarized himself with their work. There was no contemporary German art being exhibited in Canada at this time.
62. Graham C. McInnes, 'The World of Art,' Saturday Night, vol. LII, no. 6 (12 December 1936), p. 19.
63. Roderick Stewart, Bethune (Toronto: New Press, 1973), p. 91. Norman Bethune left for Spain on 24 October 1936.
64. 'Kids and Paints,' Montreal Standard (10 September 1938).
65. Interview with Marian Scott, Montreal, 15 September 1973.
67. Marian Scott, 'Science as an Inspiration to Art,' Canadian Art, vol. I, no. 1 (October – November 1943), p. 19.
68. Interview with Louis Muhlstock, Montreal, 15 September 1973.
69. The 'Paranka' drawings were done at this time.
70. Laurence Sabbath, 'Artists in Action Series: 1, Louis Muhlstock with Lawrence Sabbath,' Canadian Art, vol. XVII, no. 4 (July 1960), p. 219.
71. 'Alexandre Bercovitch,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, [received 9 May 1932]. According to John Lyman, Bercovitch also studied under Eric Goldberg's father, a portrait painter in Berlin. See John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (15 April 1938).
72. Interview with Sylvia (Bercovitch) Ary, Montreal, 11 September 1973.
73. 'Alexandre Bercovitch,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, 16 June 1942.
74. Regina Shoolman later married Charles Slatkin, owner of the Slatkin Gallery in New York City. They co-authored The Enjoyment of Art in America (Philadelphia, New York: Lippincott, 1942).
75. 'Eviction of Artist Brings Recognition,' Montreal Daily Herald (7 April 1933).
76. Interview with Sylvia (Bercovitch) Ary, Montreal, 11 September 1973.
77. Alexandre Bercovitch, Montreal, to Mrs Vincent Massey, Ottawa, 22 November 1935; in The National Gallery of Canada.
78. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (15 April 1938). Eric Goldberg is the blond boy with glasses seated second from the right in the second row in the photograph of the Académie Julian reproduced in Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven (exhibition catalogue) (Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1970), p. 23.
79. Robert Ayre, 'Two Exhibitions,' The Montrealer (February 1937). This exhibition included works by Prudence Heward, Sarah Robertson, Mabel Lockerby, Jack Humphrey, Jori Smith, Jean Palardy, Goodridge Roberts, Fritz Brandtner, and Marian Scott.
80. [Montreal, Sun Life Building, National Produced in Canada Exhibition, November 1937], Art Exhibition. The catalogue lists the following artists: Alexandre Bercovitch, Sam Borenstein, Fritz Brandtner, Marian Scott, Allan Harrison, Prudence Heward, Jack Humphrey, John Lyman, Carl Mangold, Louis Muhlstock, Goodridge Roberts, Sarah Robertson, Jori Smith, and Philip Surrey.
81. Robert Ayre, 'The Eastern Group Has a Show,' Saturday Night, vol. liv, no. 7 (17 December 1938), p. 36.
82. Jack Humphrey had contacted the Montreal artists during his stay in 1933. It is also possible he visited Montreal in 1937. (Interview with Jori Smith, Montreal, 16 January 1974.)
83. John Lyman, Montreal, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 29 November 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada. 'Jack Humphrey, who felt he was at a material disadvantage, compared with the other members, on account of living so far away, has, on our advice, dropped out, and has been replaced by Philip Surrey.'
84. 'La Peinture Moderne par Maurice Gagnon,' La Revue Populaire, vol. XXXIII, no. 11 (November 1940).
85. Maurice Gagnon, 'Initiation à la peinture moderne,' La Revue Mo' derne, vol. XVIII, no. 5 (March 1937), pp. 16 – 17; vol. XVIII, no. 6 (April 1937), pp. 6 – 7; vol. XVIII, no. 7 (May 1937), pp. 6 – 7; vol. XVIII, no. 8 (June 1937), pp. 8 – 9.
86. Paul-Émile Borduas, 'Projections libérantes,' (annotated edition prepared under the direction of François Gagnon), Études françaises, vol. VIII, no. 3 (August 1972), p. 265, n. 61.
87. Ibid., p. 261, n. 45.
88. Guy Robert, Borduas (Quebec: Les presses de l'Université du Qué- bec, 1972), pp. 15 – 21.
89. Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 21.
90. Paul-Émile Borduas, op. cit., p. 258.
91. Ibid., p. 259, nn. 39 – 41. 92. Ibid., pp. 261 – 263.
93. Ibid., p. 260.
94. In 1937, the year the portrait was painted, Maurice Gagnon published the first article on Borduas. Sec Maurice Gagnon, 'Paul- Émile Borduas / Peintre montréalais,' La Revue Moderne, vol. XVIII, no. 11 (September 1937), pp. 10 – 11.
95. Paul-Émile Borduas, op. cit., p. 260.
96. Paul-Émile Borduas met John Lyman in the spring of 1938. See John Lyman, 'Borduas and the Contemporary Arts Society,' in Evan H, Turner, Paul-Émile Borduas 1905 – 1960 (exhibition catalogue) (Montreal: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1962), p. 40.
97. Maurice Gagnon published Peinture Moderne (Montreal: Éditions Bernard Valiquette) in 1940, in which he traced the development of art, predominantly French, from the Renaissance to the present day with its manifestations in the contemporary art of Quebec.
98. It is probably not coincidental that Maurice Gagnon published Pablo Picasso's Femme à la mandoline in Peinture Moderne in 1940 (fig. 29), and that in 1941 Borduas was to paint a similar work with the same title (oil on canvas; 32 x 26 in., 81.3 x 66.1 cm, Musée d'art contemporain, Montreal, repr. in colour in Guy Robert, op. cit., p. 250). George Braque's Nature morte reproduced in Peinture Moderne (fig. 30) bears many similarities to Borduas' still lifes of 1941, notably Nature morte aux ananas et poires (oil on canvas; 19-5/8 x 23-5/8 in., 49.8 x 59.9 cm, The National Gallery of Canada).
99. The Eastern Group continued to exhibit intermittently up to 1950 though Alexandre Bercovitch resigned in 1942 ('Alexandre Bercovitch,' The National Gallery of Canada Information Form, 16 June 1942).
100. John Lyman, 'Art,' The Montrealer (1 October 1938).
101. John Lyman, 'Five Tons,' Typescript for 'Art,' The Montrealer (1 October 1938); in the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal. In a letter to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 8 October 1938; in The National Gallery of Canada, John Lyman quoted the omitted line as, 'We in Canada badly need something in the nature of a Contemporary Arts [sic] Society which would give encouragement to artists who have not the material advantages given by regimentation.'
102. An exhibition of works loaned by the Contemporary Art Society was exhibited at the Art Association of Montreal, 15 – 30 April 1938. See Art Association of Montreal, Annual Report 1938, p. 26.
103. Contemporary Art Society Report 1936 – 7 (London: The Curwen Press, ), p. 3.
104. John Lyman, 'Borduas and the Contemporary Arts Society,' in Evan H. Turner, op. cit., p. 40.
105. The English name of the organization was originally 'Contemporary Arts Society,' though by 1946 the Society's letterhead read 'Contemporary Art Society.' In French the singular 'Société d'art contemporain' or abbreviation 'C.A.S.' was used.
106. 'Contemporary Arts Society. List of Artist Members. 16 May 1939'; in The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Artist members included Jack Beder, Alexandre Bercovitch, Paul-Émile Borduas, Sam Borenstein, Fritz Brandtner, Stanley Cosgrove, Henry Eveleigh, Charles Fainmel, Louise Gadbois, Eric Goldberg, Eldon Grier, Allan Harrison, Prudence Heward, Jack Humphrey, John Lyman, Louis Muhlstock, Jean Palardy, Marguerite Paquette, Goodridge Roberts, Anne Savage, Marian Scott, Regina Seiden, Jori Smith, Philip Surrey, Cambell Tinning, and Bernard Mayman.
107. Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, to H.O. McCurry, Ottawa, 15 April 1939; in The National Gallery of Canada.
108. Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, to André Biéler, Kingston, 6 March 1939; property of André Biéler. As one of the conditions of membership was that artists not participate in the activities of any academy, André Biéler refused membership in the C.A.S., feeling it to be useless to revive the conflict with the Royal Canadian Academy. See André Biéler, Kingston, to Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, 21 April 1939; copy property of André Biéler. My thanks to Frances Smith for bringing these letters to my attention.
109. Interview with Paraskeva Clark, Toronto, 18 October 1973.
110. Fritz Brandtner, Montreal, to L.L. FitzGerald, Saint James (Manitoba), 8 March 1939; private property.
111. John Lyman, 'Borduas and the Contemporary Arts Society,' in Evan H. Turner, op. cit., p. 40.
112. 'Contemporary Arts Society Constitution,' , paragraph 2; private property.
113. [Foreword], Contemporary Arts Society / Exhibition of Paintings by Members (exhibition catalogue) [Montreal: Frank Stevens Gallery, December 1939].
114. Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 13 – 28 May 1939, Loan Exhibition / Art of Our Day. The exhibition's title was probably chosen with one eye on the opening exhibition at the new (1939) Museum of Modern Art in New York, Art in Our Time.
115. The collectors included friends of John Lyman who had purchased works from the exhibitions at W. Scott & Sons, Jewish refugees from Europe, Europeans working in Montreal, and artist members of the Contemporary Arts Society.
116. This exhibition was shown with deletions and additions from Toronto and Buffalo collections at The Art Gallery of Toronto the following autumn. See Toronto, The Art Gallery of Toronto, November – December 1939, 20th Century European Paintings.
117. [Foreword], Contemporary Arts Society Exhibition of Paintings By Members (exhibition catalogue) [Montreal: Frank Stevens Gallery, December 1939]. Toronto had had more consistent exposure to contemporary art including the Société Anonyme exhibition in 1927 and a large surrealist exhibition at the Canadian National Exhibition in 1938 (Toronto: Canadian National Exhibition, 26 August – 10 September 1938, Surrealist Art).
118. Sam Borenstein, Charles Fainmel, Eldon Grier, Jack Humphrey, Jean Palardy, Marguerite Paquette, Anne Savage, Regina Seiden, and Campbell Tinning were not included in this exhibition. Three new members were added: Mabel Lockerby, Ethel Seath, and Piercy Younger.
119. Montreal, Art Association of Montreal, 22 November – 15 December 1940, Contemporary Arts Society. This was dubbed 'Art of Our Day in Canada' by Robert Ayre in Saturday Night, vol. lvi, no. 16 (28 December 1940), p. 26.
120. Roy Kerwin, 'Gagnon Lashes Out At False Values In Modernistic Art,' Montreal Standard (29 April 1939). This talk was translated into French and published after Clarence Gagnon's death. See Clarence Gagnon, 'L'Immense Blague de l'Art Moderniste,' Amérique française (September 1948), pp. 60 – 65; (December 1948), pp. 44 – 48; (March 1949), pp. 67 – 71; (June 1949), pp. 30 – 33.
121. 'Gagnon's Talk On Art Draws Spirited Reply,' Montreal Standard (6 May 1939).
122. Especially from 1940 these included Marcel Parizeau and Henri Girard in Le Canada; Charles Doyon, Émile-Charles Hamel, and Jean-Charles Harvey in Le ]our; and Jacques de Tonnancour in Le Quartier Latin.
123. Maurice Gagnon, Peinture Moderne (1940), p. 127.
124. Jean-Charles Harvey, 'Les Bourses d'Europe et M. Maillard,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 37 (28 May 1938).
125. Jean-Charles Harvey, 'En lettres, en art, être libre ou ne pas être,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 6 (23 October 1937).
126. Jean-Charles Harvey, 'Le pire obstacle à l'art canadien,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 28 (26 March 1938).
127. Paul Riverin, 'Écoliers ou professionnels?,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 33 (30 April 1938).
128. Jean Paul Lemieux, 'Notes sur quelques toiles de Pellan,' Le Jour, vol. I, no. 35 (14 May 1938); J. Picart-Ledoux, 'Un jeune peintre, Pellan,' Le Jour, vol. II, no. 18 (14 January 1939); Juliette Cabana, 'Chez Alfred Pellan peintre moderne,' La Revue Populaire, vol. XXXII, no. 11 (November 1939), pp. 8 – 9.
129. Jean Paul Lemieux, ibid.
131. 'Des leçons pratiques sur l'art religieux,' Montreal La Presse (30 March 1940).
132. Maurice Gagnon, Pellan (Montreal: L'Arbre, 1943), p. 11.
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Peinture Moderne. Revised ed. Montreal: Valiquette, 1943.
Sur un état actuel de la peinture canadienne. Montreal: Société des Éditions Pascal, 1945.
Gauvreau, Jean-Marie. 'L'artisanat dans la province de Québec,' Le Canada (16 – 20 February 1937.)
Girard, Henri. (Articles in La Revue Moderne from 1929 to 1933; articles in Le Canada from 1937.)
'L'École du Meuble.' La Revue Moderne, vol. 21, no. 4 (August 1939), p. 11
Hamel, Émile-Charles. (Articles in Le Jour from 1937.)
Harper, J. Russell. Canadian Paintings in Hart House. Toronto: Art Committee of Hart House, University of Toronto, 1955.
Painting in Canada: A History. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1966.
Harvey, Jean-Charles. (Articles in Le Jour from September 1937.)
Hubbard, Robert H., ed. An Anthology of Canadian Art,Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1960.
The Development of Canadian Art. Ottawa: Queen's Printer, 1963.
Jones, Hugh G. and Edmond Dyonnet. 'History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts ' (Montreal?). Typed by T.A. Dickson, 1934.
Lewis, Wyndham. 'Canadian Nature and Its Painters,' in Walter Michael and C.J. Fox, eds. Wyndham Lewis on Art. Collected Writings 1913 – 1956. New York: Funk & Wagnalls. 1969, pp. 425 – 429.
Mellen, Peter. The Group of Seven. Toronto, Montreal: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1970.
Morisset, Gérard. 'À l'École du Meuble.' La Revue Populaire, vol. 30, no. 8 (August 1937), pp. 9, 55.
Coup d'œil sur les arts en Nouvelle-France. Quebec: Presses de Charrier et Dugal Limitée, 1941.
Morris, Jerrold. The Nude in Canadian Painting. Toronto: New Press, 1972.
McInnes, Graham C. 'The World of Art.' Saturday Night. (A weekly art column, except summers, from April 1935 to April 1939. Numerous articles from April 1939.)
(Articles in The Canadian Forum from February 1936 to March 1939.)
'Canadian Critic Proclaims Independence of the Dominion's Art.' The Art Digest, vol. x no. 11(1 March 1936), pp. 10 – 11.
'New Horizons in Canadian Art.' New Frontier, vol. 2, no. 2 (June 1937), pp. 19 – 20.
'Art and Propaganda.' New Frontier, vol. 2, no. 3 (July – August 1937), pp. 17 – 18.
'Art of Canada.' The Studio, vol. CXIV (August 1937), pp. 55 – 75.
A Short History of Canadian Art. Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1939.
'The Canadian Artist and His Country.' The Geographical Magazine, vol. XVI, no. 8 (December 1943), pp. 396 – 407.
Canadian Art. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1950.
'The Decline of Genre.' Canadian Art, vol. IX, no. 1 (Autumn 1951), pp. 10 – 14.
Finding a Father. London: Hamish Hamilton, Limited, 1967.
Ostiguy, Jean-René. Un siècle de peinture canadienne 1870 – 1970. Quebec: Les Presses de l'Université Laval, 1971.
Parizeau, Marcel. 'Peinture Canadienne d'Aujourd'hui.' Amérique française, vol. II, no. 2 (October 1942), pp. 8 – 18.
Prévost, Roland. 'M. Gérard Morisset.' La Revue Populaire, vol. 28, no. 4 (April 1935), p. 5.
Reid, Dennis. The Group of Seven (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1970. A Concise History of Canadian Painting. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1973.
Ringbom, Sixten. 'Art in "The Epoch of the Great Spiritual" Occult Elements in the Early Theory of Abstract Painting.' Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institute, vol. 29 (1966), pp. 386 – 418.
Robert, Guy. L'Art au Québec depuis 1940. Montreal: Les Éditions La Presse, 1973.
Scott, Charles H. 'A Short Art History of British Columbia.' Behind the Palette. Vancouver: Vancouver School of Art, 1946 – 1947.
Stewart, Roderick. Bethune. Toronto: New Press, 1973.
Viau, Guy. Modern Painting in French Canada. Quebec: Department of Cultural Affairs, 1967.
Vivash A.T. 'Trade Unions for Artists.'
New Frontier, vol. 2, no. 1 (May 1937), pp. 22 – 23.
note: For certain artists only major sources and articles not in other bibliographies are noted.
Reinblatt, Moe. 'Aleksandre Bercovitch 1893 – 1951.' Canadian Art, vol. VIII, no. 3 (Spring 1951), pp. 110 — 111.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists, no. 4 – André Biéler.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 196 (May 1937), pp. 56 – 57.
Biéler, André. National Aspects of Contemporary American and Canadian Painting.' In R.G. Trotter, A.B. Corey, W.W. McLaren, eds. Conference on Canadian-American Affairs Held at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, June 14 – 18, 1937: Proceedings. Boston, New York, Montreal, London: Ginn and Company, 1937, pp. 134 – 136.
Biéler, André and Elizabeth Harrison, eds. The Kingston Conference. Conference of Canadian Artists. Kingston, 1941.
'On the Canadian Group of Painters.' Maritime Art, vol. 2, no. 4 (April – May 1942), pp. 118 – 123, 136.
'The Kingston Conference – Ten Years Afterwards.' Canadian Art, vol. VIII, no. 4 (Summer 1951), pp. 150 – 152.
Le Grand, Albert. 'André Biéler.' Arts et Pensée, vol. 2 no. 8 (March – April 1952), pp. 36 – 39.
Ayre, Robert. 'Introduction.' A Retrospective Exhibition of the Work of André Bi éler (exhibition catalogue). Kingston: The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1963.
Smith, Frances K. André Biéler 50 Years: A Retrospective Exhibition 1920 – 1970 (exhibition catalogue). Kingston: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1970. Contribution by Ralph Allen. 'A Canadian Artist in the Market Place: André Biéler.' Canadian Antiques Collector, vol. 6, no. 2 (February 1971), pp. 6 – 9.
Chassé, Pierre-E. 'Biéler.' Vie des Arts, no. 64 (Autumn 1971), pp. 54 – 57.
Gagnon, Maurice. 'Paul-Émile Borduas . . . Peintre montréalais.' La Revue Moderne, vol. 18, no. 11 (September 1937), pp. 10 – 11.
Elie, Robert. 'Borduas.' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 11 (17 December 1943), p. IV. Borduas. Montreal: L'Arbre, 1943.
Borduas, Paul-Émile. Projections libérantes. Montreal: Mithra-Mythe, 1949. Reprinted in Guy Robert, Borduas, 1972. An annotated edition published in Études françaises, vol. VIII, no. 3 (August 1972), pp. 245 – 305, with 'Borduas l'homme et l'œuvre (repères chronologiques)' by Nicole Boily, pp. 309 – 329.
'Quelques pensées sur l'œuvre d'amour et de rêve de M. Ozias Leduc.' Canadian Art, vol. x, no. 4 (Summer 1953), pp. 158 – 161, 168. Reprinted in Ozias Leduc et Paul-Émile Borduas.
'Paul-Émile Borduas nous écrit au sujet de Ozias Leduc' Arts et Pensée, vol. 3, no. 18 (July – August 1954), pp. 177 – 179. Reprinted in Ozias Leduc et Paul-Émile Borduas.
Turner, Evan H. Paul-Émile Borduas 1905 – 1960 (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1962. Contributions by John Lyman ('Borduas and the Contemporary Arts Society'), Guy Viau ('La Démarche du Peintre'), Paul-Émile Borduas ('Refus Global').
Robert, Guy. Borduas. Quebec: Les presses de l'Université du Québec, 1972.
Ozias Leduc et Paul-Émile Borduas, Conférences J.A. de Sève 15 – 16. Montreal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 1973. Contributions by Jean-Éthier Biais ('Ozias Leduc'), Françoise Le Gris ('Chronologie des rapports entre Ozias Leduc et Paul-Émile Borduas'), François Gagnon ('Trois textes de Paul-Émile Borduas sur Ozias Leduc').
Ayre, Robert. 'Art-Expressionist in Montreal.' New Frontier, vol. 1, no. 2 (May 1936), pp. 29 – 30.
'Artists in Canada – Fritz Brandtner,' Canadian Stage Screen and Studio, vol. 1, no 4, March 1937, pp. 39 – 41.
Frye, Helen Kemp. 'Fritz Brandtner.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVIII, no. 215 (December 1938), pp. 272 – 273.
Harper, J. Russell. Fritz Brandtner 1896 – 1969 / A Retrospective Exhibition (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1971.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 11 – Miller Brittain.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 203 (December 1937), pp. 312 – 313.
Nicol, Pegi. 'Miller Brittain.' Maritime Art, vol. 1, no. 4 (April 1941), pp. 14 – 18.
Brittain, Miller. 'A Note by the Artist.' Northern Review, vol. 2, no. 6 (August – September 1949), p. 20.
Lord, J. Barry. 'Miller Brittain's Saint John Hospital Cartoons.' Artscanada, vol. XXIV, nos 6 – 7 (June – July 1967).
Andrus, Donald F.P. Drawings and Pastels c. 1930 – 1967 by Miller Gore Brittain (exhibition catalogue). Fredericton: Creative Art Centre, University of New Brunswick, 1968.
Brooker, Bertram. 'The Seven Arts.' (A weekly art column published in the Southam newspapers from October 1928 to November 1930.)
'Nudes and Prudes.' In William Arthur Deacon and Wilfred Reeves, eds. Open House. Ottawa: Graphic Publishers Limited, 1931, pp. 93 – 106.
'Art and Society.' In Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1936. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1936, pp. xiii – xxviii.
Lee, Thomas R. 'Bertram Brooker 1888 – 1955.' Canadian Art, vol. xiii, no. 3 (Spring 1956), pp. 286 – 291.
Reid, Dennis. Bertram Brooker 1888 – 1955. Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1973. Includes bibliography.
Barbeau, Marius. 'The Canadian Northwest Theme for Modern Painters.' The American Magazine of Art, vol. XXIV, no. 5 (May 1932), pp. 331 – 338.
Mortimer-Lamb, H. 'A British Columbia Painter.' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii, no. 10 (14 January 1933), p. 3.
Emily Carr / Her Paintings and Sketches (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1945. Contributions by Ira Dilworth ('Emily Carr, Biographical Sketch') and Lawren Harris ('The Paintings and Drawings of Emily Carr').
Carr, Emily. Growing Pains, The Autobiography of Emily Carr. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946.
Turpin, Marguerite. The Life and Work of Emily Carr (1871 – 1945) A Selected Bibliography. Vancouver: School of Librarianship, The University of British Columbia, 1965.
Carr, Emily. Hundreds and Thousands. The Journals of Emily Carr. Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1966.
Hembroff-Schleicher, Edythe. m.e. A Portrayal of Emily Carr. Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1969. Includes correspondence from Emily Carr.
Shadbolt, Doris. Emily Carr: A Centennial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue). Vancouver: The Vancouver Art Gallery, 1971. Includes bibliography. 'Emily Carr: Legend and Reality.' Artscanada, vol. XXVIII, no. 3 (June – July 1971), pp. 17 – 21.
Carr, Emily. Fresh Seeing. Two Addresses by Emily Carr. Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1972.
Humphrey, Ruth. 'Letters from Emily Carr.' University of Toronto Quarterly, vol. xli, no. 2 (Winter 1972), pp. 93 – 150.
Tippett, Maria. ' "A Paste Solitaire in a Steel Claw Setting": Emily Carr and Her Public.' B.C. Studies, no. 20 (Winter 1973 – 1974), pp. 3 – 13. Contemporaries of Emily Carr in British Columbia (exhibition catalogue). Burnaby, B.C.: Simon Fraser Gallery, Simon Fraser University, 1974.
Clark, Paraskeva. 'Come Out From Behind the Pre-Cambrian Shield.' New Frontier, vol. 1, no. 12 (April 1937), pp. 16 – 17.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 7 – Paraskeva Clark.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 199 (August 1937), pp. 166 – 167.
'The Artist Speaks: A Statement by Paraskeva Clark,' Canadian Review of Music and Art, vol. III, no. 9 – 10 (October – November 1944), pp. 18 – 20.
Bell, Andrew. 'The Art of Paraskeva Clark.' Canadian Art, vol. VII, no. 2 (Christmas 1949), pp. 42 – 46.
Sabbath, Lawrence. 'Artist in Action Series: 3, Paraskeva Clark with Lawrence Sabbath.' Canadian Art, vol. XVII, no. 5 (September 1960), pp. 291 – 293.
Comfort, Charles. 'The Painter and His Model.' In William Arthur Deacon and Wilfred Reeves, eds.
Open House, Ottawa: Graphic Publishers Limited, 1931, pp. 213 – 218.
Jackson, H.M. Charles Comfort / The Man and the Artist, n.p. (Christmas 1935. New Year 1936).
Comfort, Charles. 'Where I Stand on Spain.' New Frontier, vol. 1, no. 8 (December 1936), p. 13.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 3 – Charles F. Comfort.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 195 (April 1937), pp. 18 – 19.
Comfort, Charles. 'Observations on a Decade 1938 – 48: Canadian Painting, Sculpture and Print Making.' Journal Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, vol. 25, no. 1 (January 1948), pp. 3 – 9.
Glover, Patricia E. Charles Fraser Comfort Fifty Years (exhibition catalogue). Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1973.
Leber, Germain. 'Stanley Cosgrove peintre audacieux.' La Revue Moderne, vol. 26, no. 3 (July 1944), pp. 7, 22.
Girard, Henri. 'Stanley Cosgrove.' Amérique française, vol. 4 (October 1944), pp 34 – 39.
Sabbath, Lawrence. 'Artist in Action Series: 6, Stanley Cosgrove with Lawrence Sabbath.' Canadian Art, vol. xviii, no. 2 (March – April 1961), pp. 114 – 116.
Gagnon, François. 'Cosgrove et la Critique d'Art Officielle,' Vie des Arts, no. 60 (Autumn 1970), pp. 12 – 17.
Harris, Lawren. 'LeMoine FitzGerald – Western Artist.' Canadian Art, vol. III, no. 1 (October – November 1945), pp. 10 – 13.
Ayre, Robert. 'Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald 1890 – 1956.' Canadian Art, vol. XIV, no. 1 (Autumn 1956), pp. 14 – 16.
Eckhardt, Ferdinand. 'The Technique of L.L. FitzGerald.' Canadian Art, vol. xv, no. 2 (April 1958), pp. 114 – 119, 149.
L.L. FitzGerald 1890 – 1956 / A Memorial Exhibition (exhibition catalogue). Winnipeg: The Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1958.
Chauvin, Jean. 'Marc-Aurèle Fortin.' In Ateliers, Montreal, New York: Louis Carrier & Cie., 1928, pp. 146 – 159.
Laberge, Albert. 'Marc-Aurèle Fortin.' In Journalistes, Écrivains et Artistes, Montreal: Édition privée, 1945, pp 173 – 182.
Ostiguy, Jean-René. 'Marc-Aurèle Fortin.' Vie des Arts, no. 23 (Summer 1961), pp. 26 – 31.
Marc-Aurèle Fortin (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1964.
Jouvancourt, Hugues de. Marc-Aurèle Fortin. Montreal: Lidec, Inc., Collection Panorama, 1968.
Bonneville, Jean-Pierre. M. A. Fortin (exhibition catalogue). Verdun: Verdun Cultural Center, 1968.
Lyman, John. 'Art.' The Montrealer (15 April 1938).
Viau, Guy. 'Propos d'un rapin: Eric Goldberg, peintre pour plaire.' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 6 (12 November 1943), p. 5.
LAWREN P. HARRIS
Harris, Lawren P. 'Our "Middle-Men" of the Arts.' The Canadian Forum, vol. xx., no. 231 (April 1940), p. 18.
Rombout, L. 'Lawren Harris, Profile of a Painter.' The Atlantic Advocate (December 1964), pp. 55 – 59, 61.
Smith, Ernest W. Lawren P. Harris 37 / 72 (exhibition catalogue). Halifax: The Dalhousie Art Gallery, 1972.
LAWREN S. HARRIS
Harris, Lawren S. 'Different Idioms in Creative Art.' Canadian Comment, vol. 2, no. 12 (December 1933), pp. 5 – 6, 32.
Rudhyar, Dane. 'The Birth of the Transcendental Movement and Its Manifestations in Music and the Modern Dance.' The New Mexico Daily Examiner, Magazine Section (21 August 1938), p. 3.
Morang, Alfred. 'The Transcendental Painting Group, Its Origin, Foundation, Ideals and Works.' The New Mexico Daily Examiner, Magazine Section (21 August 1938), p. 3.
Transcendental Painting. Santa Fe, New Mexico: American Foundation for Transcendental Painting, Inc., 1940.
Smith, Sydney. 'The Recent Abstract Work of Lawren Harris.' Maritime Art, vol. 2, no. 3 (February – March 1942), pp. 79 – 81.
Carr, Emily. 'Lawren Harris.' In Growing Pains, Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1946, pp. 340 – 352.
Key, Sydney, ed. Lawren Harris Paintings 1910 – 1948 (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1948. Contributions by A.Y. Jackson ('Lawren Harris, A Biographical Sketch') and Sydney Key (‘The Paintings').
Frye, Northrop. 'The Pursuit of Form.' Canadian Art, vol. VI, no. 2 (Christmas 1948), pp. 54 – 57.
Harris, Lawren. 'An Essay on Abstract Painting.' Journal Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, vol. XXVI, no. 1 (January 1949), pp. 3 – 8. Reprinted in Canadian Art, vol. VI, no. 3 (Spring 1949), pp. 103 – 107, 140.
McNairn, Ian, ed. Lawren Harris Retrospective Exhibition, 1963 (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1963. Contributions by Paul Duval ('From Nature to Abstraction 1921 – 1931') and William Hart ('Theory and Practice of Abstract Art 1932 – 1948').
Reid, Dennis. 'Lawren Harris.' Artscanada, vol. xxv, no. 5 (December 1968), pp. 9 – 16.
Harris, Bess and R.G.P. Colgrove, eds. Lawren Harris. Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited, 1969.
See also Dennis Reid, A Bibliography of the Group of Seven, Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971.
Holgate, Edwin H. 'Prudence Heward.' Canadian Art, vol. IV, no. 4 (Summer 1947), pp. 160 – 161.
Memorial Exhibition / Prudence Heward 1896 – 1947 (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1948.
Duval, Paul. 'Art and Artists / Prudence Heward Show.' Saturday Night, vol. lxiii, no. 29 (24 April 1948), p. 29.
Chauvin, Jean. 'Edwin Holgate.' In Ateliers, Montreal, New York: Louis Carrier & Cie, 1928, pp. 18 – 27.
Carrier, Louis. 'Edwin Holgate.' In Les Casoars, Montreal: n.p., 1928, pp. 21 – 23.
Holgate, Edwin H. 'Some Comments on Wood Engraving in Canada.' The McGill News (March 1933), pp. 23 – 26.
Archer, Thomas. 'Montreal Letter: The Art of Holgate.' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii, no. 23 (15 April 1933), p. 7.
See also Dennis Reid, A Bibliography of the Group of Seven, Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971.
YVONNE McKAGUE HOUSSER
'Paris – The Magnet.' Quality Street (April 1926), pp. 9 – 10, 24, 29.
Frye, Helen Kemp. 'Yvonne McKague Housser.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVIII, no. 212 (September 1938), pp. 176 – 177.
Abell, Walter. 'Jack Humphrey – Painter.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 185 (June 1936), pp. 16 – 18. 'Jack Weldon Humphrey.' Maritime Art, vol. 1, no. 2 (December 1940), pp. 12 – 16.
'The Artist Speaks. A Statement by Jack W. Humphrey.' Canadian Review of Music and Art, vol. III, nos. 3 – 4 (April – May 1944), pp. 27 – 29.
Humphrey, Jack. 'A Note by the Artist.' Northern Review, vol. 2, no. 5 (April – May 1945), pp. 21 – 24.
Rombout, Louis. 'Jack Humphrey.' Canadian Art, vol. xxiii, no. 2 (April 1966), pp. 35 – 37.
Harper, Russell. 'A Painter in the Maritimes.' In Jack Humphrey, A Retrospective Exhibition (exhibition catalogue). Fredericton: Beaverbrook Art Gallery, 1966.
Jackson, A.Y. 'Modern Art No "Menace".' Saturday Night, vol. xlviii no. 6 (17 December 1932), p. 3.
Robson, Albert H. A.Y. Jackson. Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1938.
Key, Sydney. A.Y. Jackson Paintings 1902 – 1953 (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1953. Contribution by Arthur Lismer ('A.Y. Jackson').
Jackson, A.Y. A Painter's Country. The Autobiography of A.Y. Jackson. Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1958. Paperback edition, 1964; Centennial Edition, 1967.
Sabbath, Lawrence. 'Artist in Action Series: 2, A.Y. Jackson with Lawrence Sabbath.' Canadian Art, vol. xvii, no. 4 (July 1960), pp. 240 – 241, 243 – 244.
Groves, Naomi Jackson. A.Y. 's Canada. Toronto, Vancouver: Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, 1968.
See also Dennis Reid, A Bibliography of the Group of Seven, Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971.
JEAN PAUL LEMIEUX
Lemieux, Jean Paul. 'Notes sur quelques toiles de Pellan.' Le Jour, vol. 1, no. 35 (14 May 1938) p. 3.
'Aperçu sur la peinture contemporaine.' Le Jour, vol. 1, no. 40 (18 June 1938), p. 2.
'La peinture chez les canadiens français.' Le Jour, vol. 1, no. 44 (16 July 1938), p. 3.
'Notes sur le dessin.' Le Jour, vol. 2, no. 3 (1 October 1938), p. 2.
Corbeil, Gilles. 'Jean Paul Lemieux, peintre intimiste.'
Arts et Pensée, vol. 3, no. 4 (November – December 1953), pp. 36 – 41.
Picher, Claude and Marcel Cadieux. 'Jean Paul Lemieux.' Canadian Art, vol. XVII, no. 5 (September 1960), pp. 264 – 273.
Iberville-Moreau, Luc d'. Jean Paul Lemieux (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1967.
Robert, Guy. Jean Paul Lemieux la poétique de la souvenance. Quebec: Editions Garneau, 1968.
Dumas, Paul. 'Rencontre avec Jean Paul Lemieux.' L'Information Médicale et Paramédicale (17 June 1969).
Lismer, Arthur. 'The World of Art.' Canadian Comment (a monthly column from February 1932 to August 1933). Various articles from September 1933 to July 1936.
'Art and Education in the Southern Dominions.' The Curtain Call, vol. 9, no. 2 (November 1937), p. 8.
Hunter, E. Robert. 'Arthur Lismer.' Maritime Art, vol. 3, no. 5 (July – August 1943), pp. 137–141, 168–169.
Key, Sydney. Arthur Lismer Paintings 1913 – 1949 (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1950. Contribution by Lawren Harris ('Arthur Lismer').
McLeish, John A.B. September Gale. A Study of Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven. Toronto, Vancouver:
J.M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1955. Paperback edition 1973.
Lyman, John. 'Canadian Art.' The Canadian Forum, vol. xii, no. 140 (May 1932), pp. 313 – 314.
'From Monet to Matisse.' Bridle & Golfer (December 1934), pp. 18 – 19, 38.
'Renoir and His Contemporaries.' The Montrealer (March 1936).
'The School of Paris.' The Montrealer (October 1936), pp. 18 – 20.
'Art.' The Montrealer (a monthly art column from November 1936 to September 1937. Bi-monthly from October 1937 to 15 May 1939, except summers. Monthly from November 1939 to December 1940).
Ayre, Robert. 'Art.' The Montrealer (February 1937). McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 5 – John Lyman.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 197 (June 1937), pp. 94 – 95.
Lyman, John. 'Painting in Quebec' Journal Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, vol. XVIII, no. 4 (April 1941), p. 69.
Dumas, Paul. 'Lyman.' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 11(17 December 1943), pp. III, VIII. Reprinted in Aujourd'hui, no. 54 (March 1944), pp. 24 – 32.
Lyman. Montreal: L'Arbre, 1944. Lyman, John. Morrice. Montreal: L'Arbre, 1945.
Shaw, Neufville. 'John Lyman.' Northern Review, vol. 1, no. 2 (February 1946), pp. 19 – 24.
Corbeil, Gilles. 'John Lyman, Peintre.' Arts et Pensée, vol. 3, no. 15 (January – February 1954), pp. 75 – 83.
Lyman, John. 'Extraits de non-journal.' Arts et Pensée, vol. 3, no. 17 (May – June 1954), pp. 138 – 139. 'Adieu, Matisse.' Canadian Art, vol. XII, no. 2 (Winter 1955), pp. 44 – 46.
Sabbath, Lawrence. 'Artist in Action Series: 4, John Lyman with Lawrence Sabbath.' Canadian Art, vol. xvii, no. 6 (November 1960), pp. 372 – 374.
Lawson, Edward P. John Lyman (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1963. Contribution by Gilles Corbeil ('John Lyman').
Viau, Guy. 'John Lyman.' Vie des Arts, no. 33 (Winter 1963 – 1964), pp. 26 – 31.
John Lyman (exhibition catalogue). Quebec: Le Musée du Québec, 1966. Introduction by Philip Surrey.
British Columbia College of Arts Limited, Illustrated Prospectus 1934 – 1935, Vancouver: Sun Publishing Company Limited, (1934).
Corriveau, L. de B. 'The Art of James W.G. Macdonald.' Canadian Review of Music and Art, vol. III, nos 1 – 2 (February – March 1944), pp. 25 – 27.
Bates, Maxwell. 'Jock Macdonald, Painter-Explorer.' Canadian Art, vol. XIV, no. 4 (Summer 1957), pp. 151– 153.
Nicholson, Carolyn and Judi Francis. 'J.W.G. Macdonald The Western Years.' Burnaby: The Burnaby Art Gallery, 1969, Typescript.
Pollock, R. Ann, and Dennis Reid. Jock Macdonald (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1969. Includes bibliography.
PEGI NICOL MACLEOD
Nicol, Pegi. 'The Passionate Snow of Yesteryear.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 183 (April 1936), p. 21.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 8 – Pegi Nicol.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 200 (September 1937), pp. 202 – 203.
Memorial Exhibition / Pegi Nicol MacLeod 1904 – 1949 (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1949.
Buchanan, Donald W. 'Pegi Nicol MacLeod 1904 – 49.' Canadian Art, vol. VI, no. 4 (Summer 1949), pp. 158 – 162.
Harper, J. Russell. 'Pegi Nicol MacLeod: A Maritime Artist.' The Dalhousie Review, vol. 43, no. 1 (Spring 1963), pp. 40 – 50.
Buchanan, Donald W. 'An Artist Who Lives in the Woods.' Saturday Night, vol. l, no. 4(1 December 1934), p. 2.
'David Milne.' The Canadian Forum, vol. xv, no. 173 (February 1935), pp. 191 – 193.
Jarvis, Alan. 'Notes on Two Canadian Artists.' The Undergraduate (1936), pp. 35 – 37.
Exhibition of Little Pictures by David B. Milne (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: Mellors Galleries, 1936.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 9 – David Milne.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no 201 (October 1937), pp 238 – 239.
Milne, David, 'From Spring Fever to Fantasy.' Canadian Art, vol. II, no. 4 (April – May 1945), pp. 162 – 165. Reprinted in Canadian Art, vol. xv, no. 1 (January 1958), pp. 16 – 19.
Frye, Northrop. 'David Milne: An Appreciation.' Here and Now, vol. 1, no. 2 (May 1948), pp. 47 – 58. Reprinted in Northrop Frye, The Bush Garden / Essays on the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: Anansi Press Ltd., 1971, pp. 203 – 206.
Milne, David. 'Feeling in Painting.' Here and Now, vol. l, no. 2 (May 1948), pp. 57 – 58.
Buchanan, Donald W. 'David Milne as I Knew Him.' Canadian Art, vol. XI, no. 3 (Spring 1954), pp. 89 – 92.
Jarvis, Alan. David Milne (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1955. Includes 'The Colour Dry-Point' by David Milne, originally published in Canadian Art, vol. IV, no. 4 (Summer 1947), pp. 144 – 147.
Moon, Barbara. 'Genius in hiding: David Milne.' Maclean's Magazine, vol. lxxiv (17 June 1961), pp. 14 – 17, 48 – 50.
Jarvis, Alan. David Milne. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1962.
Silcox, David P. David Milne 1882 –1953 (exhibition catalogue). Kingston: The Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen's University, 1967. Includes bibliography.
David Milne (1882 – 1953) (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Galerie Godard Lefort, 1971.
Saint-Denys Garneau, Hector de. 'Chronique des beaux-arts: Louis Muhlstock.' La Relève, vol. 2, no. 5 (January 1936), pp. 158 – 160.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Louis Muhlstock Painter of People.' New World (March 1941).
Ayre, Robert. 'Louis Muhlstock.' Northern Review, vol. 2, no. 4 (January – February 1949), pp. 15 – 20.
'The New Muhlstock.' Canadian Art, vol. IX, no. 4 (Summer 1952), pp. 140 – 143.
Repentigny, Rodolphe de. 'Louis Muhlstock.' Vie des Arts, no. 16 (Autumn 1959), pp. 10 – 15.
Sabbath, Lawrence. 'Artist in Action Series: 1, Louis Muhlstock with Lawrence Sabbath.' Canadian Art, vol. xvii, no. 4 (July 1960), pp. 216 – 223.
LILIAS TORRANCE NEWTON
'Canadian Women in the Public Eye / Lilias T. Newton.' Saturday Night, vol. xlii, no. 52 (12 November 1927), p. 35.
Neumann, Ernst. 'Canadian Artists of Today: Wm. Goodridge Roberts.' New Frontier, vol. 1, no. 4 (July 1936), p. 30.
Tonnancour, Jacques de. 'Sur Goodridge Roberts, un peintre authentique.' La Relève, vol. 5, no. 7 (April 1941), pp. 216 – 221. Reprinted in Amérique française, vol. 1, no. 5 (April 1942), pp. 32 – 37.
Harrison, Allan. 'Roberts.' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 11 (17 December 1943), p. VI.
Tonnancour, Jacques de. 'Roberts.' Le Quartier Latin, vol. XXVI, no. 11 (17 December 1943), p. VI. Roberts. Montreal: L'Arbre, 1944.
Ayre, Robert. 'Goodridge Roberts.' Canadian Art, vol. III, no. 2 (January – February 1946), pp. 48 – 51.
Shaw, Neufville. 'Goodridge Roberts – 1949.' Northern Review, vol. 3, no. 1 (October – November 1949), p. 27.
Boulanger, Rolland. 'Esquisses . . . Goodridge Roberts.' Arts et Pensée, vol. 1, no. 3 (May 1951), pp. 74 – 79.
Roberts, Goodridge. 'From This Point I Looked Out.' Queen's Quarterly (Autumn 1953), pp. 316 – 331. Reprinted in James Borcoman, Goodridge Roberts, pp. 185 – 196.
Borcoman, James. Goodridge Roberts (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1969. Contributions by Robert Ayre ('A Biographical Sketch'), Alfred Pinsky ('A Study of the Work'), and Goodridge Roberts ('From This Point I Looked Out').
Jackson, A.Y. 'Sarah Robertson, 1891 – 1948.' Canadian Art, vol. VI, no. 3 (Spring 1949), pp. 125 – 126.
Memorial Exhibition / Sarah Robertson 1891 – 1948 (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1951.
Sherman, Leah. Anne Savage / A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1969.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists, No. 1 – Carl Schaefer.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVI, no. 193 (February 1937), pp. 18 – 19.
Buchanan, Donald W. 'Carl Schaefer Canadian Painter.' The Studio, vol. CXXIII (February 1942), p. 49.
Johnston, George. 'Carl Schaefer – Artist and Man.' Queen's Quarterly, vol. lxi, no. 3 (Autumn 1954), pp. 345 – 352.
'Carl Schaefer.' Canadian Art, vol. xvii, no. 2 (March 1960), pp. 66 – 71, 99.
'Carl Schaefer interviewed by Joy Carroll.' Canadian Art, vol. XXII, no. 3 (May – June 1965), pp. 38 – 40.
Harper, J. Russell. Carl Schaefer Retrospective Exhibition / Paintings from 1926 to 1969 (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Sir George Williams University, 1969. Contributions by George Johnston ('Carl Schaefer, A Short Appreciation') and Carl Schaefer ('Personal Reminiscences'). Includes bibliography.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 10 – Marian Scott.' The Canadian Forum, vol. xvii, no. 202 (November 1937), pp. 274 – 275.
Forsey, Harriet R. 'Womankind.' The Canadian Forum, vol. XVII, no. 204 (January 1938), p. 366.
Selye, Hans and Marian Scott. 'Art and Science.' Canadian Art, vol. I, no. 1 (October – November 1943), pp. 17 – 19, 36 – 37.
Exhibition of Paintings by Marian Scott (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Dominion Gallery, 1954. Three mimeographed sheets.
McInnes, Graham C. 'Contemporary Canadian Artists No. 6 – Jori Smith and Jean Palardy.' The CanadianForum, vol. XVII, no. 198 (July 1937), pp. 130 – 131.
Roussan, Jacques de. 'Le peintre des reflets de la ville.' Vie des Arts, no. 31 (Summer 1963), pp. 24 – 29.
Ayre, Robert. 'The City and the Dream of Philip Surrey.' Canadian Art, vol. XXI, no. 5 (September-October 1964), pp. 284 – 287.
Roussan, Jacques de. Philip Surrey. Montreal: Lidec, Inc., Collection Panorama, 1968.
Barras, Henri. Philip Surrey Le peintre dans la ville (exhibition catalogue). Montreal: Musée d'art contemporain, 1971. Contributions by Guy Viau and Gilles Corbeil.
Duval, Paul. 'Art and Artists / Vigorous Veteran of Canadian Art – Frederick Horsman Varley.' SaturdayNight, vol. lx, no. 15 (16 December 1944), p. 35.
Buchanan, Donald W. 'The Paintings and Drawings of F.H. Varley.' Canadian Art, vol. VII, no. 1 (Autumn 1949), pp. 2 – 5.
F.H. Varley Paintings 1915 – 1954 (exhibition catalogue). Toronto: The Art Gallery of Toronto, 1954. Contributions by Arthur Lismer ('The Twenties'), J.W.G. Macdonald ('Vancouver') and R.H. Hubbard ('An Approach to Varley').
Carpenter, Edmund. 'Varley's Arctic Sketches.' Canadian Art, vol. XVI, no. 2 (May 1959), pp. 93 – 100.
Carpenter, Edmund S., Frederick H. Varley, and Robert Flaherty. Eskimo. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1959.
Porter, McKenzie. 'Varley.' Maclean's Magazine, vol. lxxii, no. 23 (7 November 1959), pp. 30 – 33, 62, 64 – 66, 71.
Kincaid, Sheila. Varley / The Middle Years (exhibition catalogue). Burnaby: Burnaby Art Gallery, 1974. Contributions by Chris Varley ('Introduction') and Dave Brock ('Fred's Furnace').
CHARLES S. BAND
Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. C.S. Band (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1953. Introduction by Arthur Lismer.
Band, Charles S. 'I Collect What I Like.' Mayfair (April 1955), pp. 27 – 29, 57 – 60.
'Charles S. Band.' Canadian Art, vol. XVIII, no. 3 (May – June 1961), pp. 158 – 161.
DOUGLAS M. DUNCAN
Bell, Andrew. 'Design for an Art Angel – Douglas Duncan and the Picture Loan Society.' Canadian Art, vol. IX, no. 4 (Summer 1952), pp. 149 – 151.
'Douglas Duncan.' Canadian Art, vol. XVIII, no. 3 (May – June 1961), pp. 166 – 169.
Théberge, Pierre. Gift from the Douglas M. Duncan Collection and the Milne-Duncan Bequest (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1971. Contributions by Norman J. Endicott ('Douglas Moerdyke Duncan: A Memoir') and Alan Jarvis ('Douglas Duncan').
Cameron, Stanley. 'Douglas M. Duncan (1902 – 1968), Uncommon Collector.' Canadian Antiques Collector, vol. 6, no. 6 (July – August 1971), pp. 14 – 17.
Jarvis, Alan, ed. Douglas Duncan. A Memorial Portrait. Buffalo, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974.
Dacre, Douglas. 'The Butcher with a Poet's Soul.' Maclean's Magazine, vol. lxiv (1 October 1951), pp. 18 – 19, 61 – 63, 65 – 66.
Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of J.S. McLean (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1952. Introduction by A.Y. Jackson.
McLean, J.S. 'On the Pleasures of Collecting Paintings.' Canadian Art, vol. x, no. 1 (Autumn 1952), pp. 2 – 7.
Massey, Vincent. 'Art and Nationality in Canada.' Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, 3rd. ser., vol. XXIV (1930), pp. LIX-LXXII.
What's Past is Prologue. Toronto: Macmillan Company of Canada, 1963.
McPherson, Hugo. 'The Resonance of Batterwood House.' Canadian Art, vol. XXI, no. 2 (March – April 1964), pp. 96 – 103.
Hubbard, R.H. Vincent Massey Bequest / The Canadian Paintings (exhibition catalogue). Ottawa: The National Gallery of Canada, 1968.
Abell, Walter (1897 – 1956), 12, 13, 14, 15, 97, 98
Abstraction, 12, 57, 72, 73, 74, 76, 77, 93
Adaskin, Harry, 94, 100 n.42
Alfsen, John (1902 – 1971), 99 n.8
American art, 11, 15, 17, 27, 71, 91, 93, 116, 117, 118
American Federation of Arts, 97
American Foundation for Transcendental Painting, Inc., 76
Anciens des Beaux-Arts, 13, 132
Armory Show, 15, 125
Art Association of Montreal, 13, 14, 27, 39, 40, 117, 125, 130, 132
Art Gallery of Toronto, The, 14, 24
Art sales, 13, 14, 15, 73, 91, 128, 131
Art Students League, New York, 15, 71, 91, 98, 101 nn.94 & 118, 126, 128
Art Students' League, Toronto, 29
Art Students League, Woodstock, New York, 93, 115
Arts Club of Montreal, 13, 126, 130
Atelier, 13, 116, 125
Atkins, Caven (b. 1907), 95, 99 n.9
Ayre, Robert (b. 1900), 12, 16, 24, 128, 129, 132
Ayres, Harold (b. 1894), 91
Band, Charles S. (1885 – 1969), 14
Barbeau, Marius (1883 – 1969), 39, 95, 116, 117
Beaver Hall Group, 39, 42 n.2
Beder, Jack (b. 1909), 135 n.106
Bell, Clive (1881 – 1960), 11, 59 n.12, 74
Bellows, George (1882 – 1925), 77, 115
Benton, Thomas Hart (b. 1889), 27, 93
Bercovitch, Alexandre (1893 – 1951), 12, 14, 18 n.22, 130, 134 n.80, 135 nn.99 & 106, 146, 205
Bethune, Norman (1890 – 1939), 16, 95, 129
Biéler, André (b. 1896), 11, 13, 16, 17, 89, 96, 115, 116, 120, 121, 125, 131, 133 n.17, 135 n.108, 192 – 193
Biéler, Jeannette, 13, 116, 133 n.17
Bisttram, Emil J. (b. 1895), 77
Borduas, Paul-Émile (1905 – 1960), 11, 14, 18, 115, 131, 132, 135 n.106, 147, 206
Borenstein, Sam (1908 – 1969), 134 n.80, 135 nn.106 & 118
Boston, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, 40, 42 n.14, 97
Bouchard, S. Mary (1912 – 1945), 116, 117
Brandtner, Fritz (1896 – 1969), 12, 13, 14, 16, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 142, 143, 202– 203
Bridle, Augustus (1869 – 1952), 24
Brigden's Limited, Toronto, 89, 91
Brigden's of Winnipeg Limited, 55, 91, 128
British Columbia Art League, 52
British Columbia College of Arts, Limited, 15, 56, 57, 58
B.C. Society of Fine Arts, 13
Brittain, Miller (1913 – 1969), 11, 15, 16, 98, 99, 112, 113, 190 – 191
Brooker, Bertram (1888 – 1955), 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 28, 30 n.37, 40, 71, 76, 93, 94, 105, 106, 183 – 184
Brown, Eric (1877 – 1939), 21, 23, 27, 51, 52, 97
Brymner, William (1855 – 1925), 39, 40
Buchanan, Donald W. (1908 – 1966), 12, 74
Burchfield, Charles (1893 – 1967), 11, 91
Callaghan, Morley (b. 1903), 93, 100 n.42
Canadian Forum, The, 12, 16, 95, 98, 125
Canadian Group of Painters, 12, 14, 18, 23, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30 n.37, 73, 76, 89, 93, 132
Canadian League Against War and Fascism, The, 13, 129
Canadian Society of Graphic Art (C.S.G.A.), 12
Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour (C.S.P.W.C), 12
Carmichael, Franklin (1890 – 1945), 21, 28, 30 n.37, 89
Carnegie Corporation, 24, 97, 126
Carr, Emily (1871 – 945), 14, 15, 30 n.37, 51, 52, 53, 62, 63, 64, 65, 77 n.27, 164 – 167
Carter, Sidney, 14, 130
Casson, A.J. (b. 1898), 21, 30 n.37
Cera, René (b. 1896), 14, 95
Cézanne, Paul (1839 – 1906), 11, 14, 40, 42, 93, 94, 95, 97, 115, 125
Charlevoix County, 27, 116, 117
Cheney, Nan (b. 1897), 42 n.14
Children's art programmes, 14, 15, 24, 98, 129, 131
Cizek, Franz (1865 – 1946), 29, 57
Clark, Paraskeva (b. 1898), 11, 14, 16, 94, 94 – 95, 99 n.8, 107, 108, 109, 131, 155, 184 – 186, 207
Clarke, James A. (1886 – 1969), 73, 74
College Art Association, 97
Collyer, Norah (b. 1898), 42 n.2
Comfort, Charles (b. 1900), 11, 23, 30 n.37, 89, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 103, 104, 105, 181 – 182
Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy, 16, 95
Commonwealth Cooperative Federation (C.C.F.), 16
Contemporary Art Society, 131
Contemporary Arts Society, 11, 13, 18, 42, 98, 131, 132
Coonan, Emily (b. 1885), 42 n.2
Cosgrove, Stanley (b. 1911), 116, 117, 123, 132, 135, 195
Courtice, Rody (b. 1895), 99 n.8
Courtier, Mane-Alain (1897 – 1954), 131
Daly, Kathleen. See Pepper, Kathleen
Daly Denis, Maurice (1870 – 1943), 115, 131
Denison, Merrill (b. 1893), 22, 100 n. 42
Depression, 13, 14, 15, 55, 57, 58, 91, 93, 97, 98, 117, 126, 128, 130
Duguay, Rodolphe (1891 – 1973), 115
Duncan, Douglas M. (1902 – 1968), 14, 17, 74, 95
Dynamic symmetry, 77
Dyonnet, Edmond (1859 – 1954), 30 n.23, 115, 129
Eastern Group, 13, 98, 130, 135 n.99
Eaton, T., Company, 13, 14, 89, 95, 128
École des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, 13, 39, 95, 116, 117, 119 n.41, 125, 126, 129, 131, 132
École des Beaux-Arts, Quebec, 117, 119 n.41, 131
École du Meuble, Montreal, 116, 117, 131
Eveleigh, Henry (b. 1909), 135 n. 106
Fainmel, Charles (b. 1904) 135 nn. 106 & 118
Federation of Canadian Artists, 17, 18
Figure painting, 11, 12, 24, 39, 40, 93, 126
Fisher, Orville(b. 1911), 51
FitzGerald, L.L. (1890 – 1956), 21, 23, 30 n.37, 55, 71, 72, 72 – 74, 80, 81, 82, 93, 94, 128, 131, 148, 171 – 174
Formalism, 11, 15, 16, 71, 72, 73, 74, 94, 125
Fortin, Marc-Aurele (1888 – 1970), 14, 115, 120, 191
Fourteenth Street School, 11, 98
French art, 13, 14, 27, 125, 131
Frost, Elizabeth, 116, 125
Fry, Roger (1866 – 1934), 12, 74
Gadbois, Louise (b. 1896), 132, 135 n.106
Gagnon, Clarence (1881 – 1942), 115, 116, 132
Gagnon, Maurice (1904 – 1956), 18, 131
Galleries of J. Merritt Malloney, 13
Gauvreau, Jean-Marie (1904 – 1971), 117
Girard, Henri, 129
Goldberg, Eric (1890 – 1969), 11, 130, 135 n.106, 147, 206
Goldberg, Regina Seiden (b. 1897), 130, 135 nn.106 &118
Goranson. Paul (b. 1911), 51 Graphic arts, 12, 17, 51, 72
Grier, Eldon (b. 1917), 135 nn.106 & 118
Grosz, George (1893 – 1959), 129Group of Seven, 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 23, 24, 28, 29, 39, 40, 51, 55, 71, 89, 91, 115, 125, 126
Hambidge, Jay (1867 – 1924), 77
Harris, Bess (1890 – 1969), 29, 30 n.37, 76, 77
Harris, Lawren Phillips (b. 1910), 40, 47, 99 n.9, 162
Harris, Lawren S. (1885 – 1970), 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25,27, 28, 29, 30 n.37, 36, 37, 39, 51, 52, 71, 74, 76, 77, 86, 87, 89, 93, 100 nn.42 & 44, 155, 156, 177, 178
Harrison, Allan (b. 1911), 133 n.21, 134 n.80, 135 n.106
Hart House, University of Toronto, 13, 23, 91
Harvey, Jean-Charles (1891 – 1957), 132, 135 n.122
Haworth, Peter (b. 1889), 89, 99 n.9
Hawthorne, Charles (1872 – 1930), 97
Heaton, John, 125, 133 n.29
Hebert, Adrien (1890 – 1967), 42 n.2, 115
Hebert, Henri (1884 – 1950), 42 n.2
Heming, Arthur (1870 – 1940), 21
Henri, Robert (1865 – 1929), 77, 91
Heward, Prudence (1896 – 1947), 2, 11, 14, 25, 30 n.37, 40, 42, 47, 48, 49, 93, 118 n.16, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 162 – 164
Hewton, Randolph (1888 – 1960), 30 n.37, 39, 42 n.2, 125, 130
Hodgkins, Frances (1870 – 1947), 42, 132
Hofmann, Hans (1880 – 1966), 97
Holgate, Edwin (b. 1892), 11, 16, 21, 30 n.37, 39, 40, 42, 45, 46, 93, 95, 115, 116, 117, 118, 159 – 160
Holt, George (b. 1902), 116, 118 n.15, 125
Housser, Bess. See Harris, Bess Housser, F.B. (1889? – 1936), 23, 52, 99 n.6
Housser, Yvonne McKague (b. 1898), 29, 30 n.37, 37, 40, 157
Hughes, E.J. (b. 1913), 51
Humphrey, Jack (1901 – 1967), 12, 13, 14, 15, 97, 98, 99, 99 n.9, 111, 112, 130, 131,134 nn.80, 82 & 83, 135 nn.106 & 118, 188 – 190
Hyde, Laurence (b. 1914), 16
Indépendants, Les, 13
Internationalism, 11, 18, 27, 93, 125, 126, 130, 131, 132
Island Arts and Crafts Society, Victoria, 51
Jackson, A.Y. (1882 – 1974), 11, 14, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 n.37, 33, 34, 35, 36, 39, 89, 96, 115, 130, 152 – 155
Jacovleff, Alexandre (d. 1938), 40, 115
Jarvis, Alan (1915 – 1972), 74
Johnston, Franz (1888 – 1949), 21, 77
Jonson, Raymond (b. 1891), 76
Kandinsky, Wassily (1866 – 1944), 76
Kettle, H.G. (Rick) (b. 1906), 17
Kingston Conference, 14, 17, 96, 101 n.118, 118 n.15
Landscape, 11, 12, 16, 21, 24, 39, 40, 51, 55, 94, 125
League for Social Reconstruction, 16, 116, 117
Leduc,Ozias (1864 – 1955), 115, 131
Lemieux, Jean Paul (b. 1904), 11, 14, 16, 116, 122, 128, 131, 132, 193 – 194
Lewis, Wyndham (1886 – 1957), 28
Lismer, Arthur (1885 – 1969), 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30 n.37, 32, 71, 76, 89, 97, 98, 151, 152
Lockerby, Mabel (b 1887), 42 n.2, 135 n.118
Loring, Frances (1887 – 1968), 17, 23
Lyman, John (1886 – 1967), 11, 12, 13, 18, 40, 42, 98, 116, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130, 131, 132, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 136, 137, 138, 195 – 197
McCullough, Norah, 17, 31 n. 89, 42 n.2
McCurry, H.O. (1889 – 1964), 17, 57, 126
MacDonald, J.E.H. (1873 – 1932), 13, 21, 22, 23, 28, 29, 89, 115
Macdonald.J.W.G. (1897 – 1960), 14, 15, 30 n.37, 51, 52, 55, 56, 57, 58, 67, 68, 117, 169 – 170, 178
MacDonald, Thoreau (b. 1901), 30 n.37, 89
McInnes, Graham C. (1912 – 1970), 12, 15, 98
McKague, Yvonne. See Housser, Yvonne
McKague McLaughlin, Isabel (b. 1903), 30 n.37, 31 n.89, 40, 89
McLean, J.S. (1876 – 1954), 14, 74, 91
MacLeod, Pegi Nicol (1904 – 1949), 16, 17, 39, 95, 96, 97, 99 n.8, 109, 110, 111, 117, 186 – 188
Maillard, Charles (1887 – 1973), 125, 132
Malloney Galleries, Toronto. See Galleries of J. Merritt Malloney
Mangold, Carl (b. 1901), 134 n.80
Marani, Ferdinand (1893 – 1971), 91
Marin, John (1870 – 1953), 97
Maritime Art, 12, 97
Maritime Art Association, 12, 13, 97
Marxism, 16, 17, 116, 117
Massey, Vincent (1887 – 1967), 13, 14, 73, 74, 91, 100 n.75, 130
Masson, Henri, (b. 1907), 99 n.9
Matisse, Henri (1869 – 1954), 11, 14, 125
Maurault, Mgr. Olivier (1886 – 1968), 131
May, H. Mabel (1884 – 1971), 30 n.37, 42 n.2, 118 n.16
Mayerovitch, Harry (b. 1910), 16
Mayman, Bernard, 135 n.106
Mellors Galleries, Toronto, 13, 73, 74
Melvin, Grace (b. 1927), 57
Meunier, Jeannette. See Biéler, Jeannette
Mexican art, 17, 91, 116, 117, 118
Miller, Kenneth Hayes (1876 – 1952), 71
Milman, Adolf, 39, 115
Milne, David (1882 – 1953), 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 71, 73, 74, 75, 83, 84, 85, 94, 99 nn.9 & 15, 174 – 177
Mondrian, Piet (1872 – 1944), 76
Montreal Repertory Theatre, 116
Montrealer, The, 125, 130
Morgan, Cleveland (1881 – 1962), 13, 133 n.17
Morgan, Henry, & Company, Montreal, 13, 129
Morgan, Patrick (b. 1904), 116
Morisset, Gerard (1898 – 1970), 116
Morrice, James Wilson (1865 – 1924), 11, 12, 13, 27, 115, 125
Morris, Kathleen (b. 1893), 42 n.2
Mortimer-Lamb, Harold (1872 – 1970), 52
Mortimer-Lamb, Vera (b. 1909), 55, 57
Muhlstock, Louis (b. 1904), 12, 14, 16, 30 n.23, 40, 99 n.9, 129, 130, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 145, 146, 204 – 205
Munn, Kathleen (b. 1887), 93
Murals, 17, 51, 58, 91, 92, 93, 118, 131
Murray Bay Primitives, 116
Musee de la Province de Quebec, 14, 116
Nash, Paul (1889 – 1946), 89
National Academy of Design, New York, 97
National Gallery of Canada, The, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21, 23,27,58,73,97,126
Nationalism (Canada), 11, 12, 18, 23, 27, 28, 125
Nationalism (Quebec), 115, 132
Neumann, Ernst (1907 – 1955), 16, 128
New Frontier, 16
Newton, Lilias T. (b. 1896), 11, 30 n.37, 40, 42, 46, 47, 115, 118 n.16, 160 – 161
Nicol, Pegi. See MacLeod, Pegi Nicol
Nudes, 93, 94
Nutt, Elizabeth (1870 – 1946), 97
Ogilvie, Will (b. 1901), 30 n.37, 40, 74, 91
O'Keeffe, Georgia (b. 1887), 59 n.129
Ontario College of Art (O.C.A.), 24, 29, 39, 93
Ontario Society of Artists (O.S.A.), 13, 23
Ottawa Art Association, 58, 126
Oxford Group, 16, 98
Palardy, Jean (b. 1905), 14, 116, 117, 132, 135 nn.106 & 118, 201
Paquette, Marguerite, 135 nn.106 & 118
Parizeau, Marcel (1898 – 1945), 117, 131, 32, 135 n.122
Pellan, Alfred (b. 1906), 18, 117, 119 n.41, 131, 132
Pepper, George (1903 – 1962), 25, 30 n.37, 89
Pepper, Kathleen Daly (b. 1898), 99 n.8
Picture Loan Society, 17, 74, 91, 97, 98
Pilot, Robert (1898 – 1967), 42 n.2
Plaunt, Alan (1904 – 1941), 74
Politics and art, 15, 16, 17, 95, 116, 117, 130
Precisionism, 11, 71, 91
Regionalism, 11, 89, 115, 116, 132
Reynald (E. R. Bertrand), 129
Rivera, Diego (1886 – 1957), 16, 91, 116, 129
Roberts, Goodridge (1904 – 1974), 11, 42 n.18, 126, 127, 128, 130, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 139, 140, 198 – 200, 218
Robertson, Sarah (1891 – 1948), 14, 25, 30 n.37, 39, 41, 42 n.2, 44, 118 n.16, 134 n.80, 158
Robinson, Albert H. (1891 – 1956), 30 n.37, 42 n.2
Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 13, 18, 21, 23, 39, 115, 130
Russian art, 11, 13, 16, 39, 40, 94, 130
Sandwell, Bernard K. (1876 – 1954), 98
Saturday Night, 12, 98
Savage, Anne (1896 – 1971), 14, 30 n.37, 39, 42 n.2, 44, 89, 118 n.16, 135 nn.106 & 118, 157
Schaefer, Carl (b. 1903), 11, 12, 13, 14, 74, 89, 90, 91, 95, 99 n.8, 102, 103, 179 – 180
School of Paris, 117, 125
Scott, Adam Sherriff (b. 1887), 42 n.2
Scott, Charles H. (1886 – 1964), 30 n.37, 57
Scott, Marian (b. 1906), 11, 12, 16, 100 n.69, 129, 133 n.17, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 144, 203 – 204
Scott, W., & Sons, Montreal, 13, 125, 129, 130
Sculptors' Society of Canada, 17, 23
Seath, Ethel (1878 – 1963), 42 n.2, 99 n.9, 135 n.118
Seattle, Annual Exhibition of North- West Artists, 13, 51
Seiden, Regina. See Goldberg, Regina
Seiden Seven Arts Club, 17
Sheeler, Charles (1883 – 1965), 11, 71, 72, 91, 94
Shoolman, Regina (b. 1909), 130, 134 n.74
Sise, Hazen (1906 – 1974), 116, 133 n.19
Smith, Jori (b. 1907), 11, 12, 14, 98, 116, 117, 123, 128, 129, 130, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 194, 201
Smith, Matthew (1879 – 1959), 125, 132
Social Comment, 12, 16, 17, 98, 116, 117, 128, 130
Social Realism, 11, 15, 51, 115
Société Anonyme, 78 n.59, 91, 93, 100 n.44
Southam, H.S. (1875 – 1954), 14
Spanish Civil War, 16, 95, 117
Still-life, 12, 27, 72, 74, 93, 94, 95
Surrey, Philip (b. 1910), 16, 55, 58, 67, 128, 130, 131, 134 n.80, 135 n.106, 141, 142, 168, 200 – 201
Täuber, Harry, 57
Techniques, 52, 93, 98, 101 n.118, 128
Theosophy, 15, 28, 52, 76, 79 n.76
Thomson, Tom (1877 – 1917), 11, 12, 89
Tinning, G. Campbell (b. 1910), 135 nn.106 & 118
Tobey, Mark (b. 1890), 51
Tonnancour, Jacques de (b. 1917), 126, 135 n.122
Transcendental Painting Group, 76, 77
Vancouver Art Gallery, The, 13, 52, 57, 58, 60 n.49
Vancouver School of Decorative & Applied Arts, 15, 52, 55, 57
Vanderpant, John (1884 – 1939), 55
Varley, F.H. (1881 – 1969), 15, 21, 28, 29, 30 n.37, 51, 52, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 65, 66, 68, 69, 78 n.61, 128, 167 – 168, 170 – 171
Walker, Horatio (1858 – 1938), 115, 116
War, 15, 17, 18, 27, 58, 77, 91
Water colour, 12, 24, 74, 89, 91, 126
Weatherbie, Vera. See Mortimer- Lamb, Vera
Webber, Gordon (1909 – 1965), 16, 17,31 n.89, 95, 99 n.8
Weston, W.P. (1879 – 1967), 30 n.37
Whitman, Walt (1819 – 1892), 52, 89
Willingdon Prize, 40, 95, 100 n.71
Winnipeg School of Art, 55, 71
Women's Art Association, Toronto, 13
Wood, Elizabeth Wyn (1903 – 1966), 16, 23
Wood, W.J. (1877 – 1954), 30 n.37
Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.), 11, 17, 101 n.118, 116, 117
Wyle, Florence (1881 – 1968), 39
Younger, Piercy (b. 1907), 135 n.118
Clarke, Irwin & Company Limited, Toronto: cat. no. 15; The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa: cat. nos. 45, 49, 66, 96; Ron Vickers, Toronto: cat. no. 26.
The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, except for the following: Walter Abell, reproduced courtesy Paraskeva Clark, r.c.a., Toronto: fig. no. 10; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto: cat. nos. 5, 8, 18, 34, 57, 72, 76, 85, 101; Lloyd Bloom, Hamilton: cat. nos. 14, 15, 25, 71; Mrs F. Brandtner, Montreal: fig. nos. 7, 13; Brigdens Photography, Winnipeg: cat. no. 46; John Evans, Ottawa: cat. no. 84; Tod Greenaway, Vancouver: cat. nos. 11, 54, 60; Jennifer Harper, Montreal: cat. nos. 1, 16, 20, 36, 90, 92, 98, 99, 100, 106; Harvey Studios, Fredericton: cat. nos. 23, 74, 78; Ian Hodkinson, Kingston: cat. no. 82; Mrs Jack Humphrey, Saint John: fig. no. 12; H.U. Knight, reproduced courtesy the Archives of the City of Victoria: fig. no. 4; Levy Studios Ltd., Toronto: cat. no. 103; MacKenzie Studios, New Glasgow, N.S.: cat. no. 9; The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg: cat. no. 10; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal: fig. no. 3; cat. nos. 88, 102, 108; Musée du Québec, Quebec: cat. nos. 80, 86, 97; Daniel M. Newman, Windsor: cat. no. 24; Eric Pollizer, New York: cat. no. 107; Otto Reppen, T.D.F., Toronto: cat. nos. 22, 26, 35, 61; Carl Schaefer, Toronto: fig. no. 8; Concordia University, Montreal: cat. no. 81; Hazen Sise, reproduced courtesy Public Archives of Canada, Ottawa: fig. no. 11; Gabor Szilasi, Montreal: cat. no. 87; Robert Title, Toronto: cat. no. 59; The Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver: cat. nos. 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 38; J. Vanderpant, reproduced courtesy Mrs. A. Vanderpant Ackroyd and Mrs. C. Vanderpant Shelley, Vancouver: fig. nos. 1, 5, 6; Ron Vickers, Toronto: cat. nos. 3, 6, 28, 37, 40, 47, 69, 104, 105; George Wilkins Photography Ltd., Toronto: cat. no. 64; The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg: cat. no. 44.
Design: Hugh Michaelson
Printing: The Hunter Rose Company, Toronto