Teachers Lesson Plans

Canadian Painting in the Thirties

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What is each artist's approach to the house?

Despite its realism, the meaning of Schaefer's painting is rather symbolic. He uses the Ontario farmhouse during the Depression as a metaphor for permanence within change. The house stands firmly, raised on a hill, a fortress against the harsh weather and troubles of life, a symbol of strength and endurance. The building, rather old and crumbling, is strong enough to withstand the passage of time. The geometric triangles reinforce the solidity. Schaefer also reinforced the idea that this house is also a home. Although the wind is tearing at the trees outside, there is a warm glow coming from the neatly curtained windows. The chair on the veranda is a sign of human presence.

Doc Snyder's House on the other hand, although it appears as a realistic painting of a house and backyard in winter, is not far from being an abstract composition. The meaning of the painting resides in its form, in cubic shapes, line, colour and the relationships of one element to the other, which are balanced with great control. The colours are muted, and the details are kept to a minimum.