Teachers Lesson Plans

Canadian Painting in the Thirties

This lesson plan introduces some of the painters who worked in Canada during the thirties. By no means a comprehensive survey of Canadian painting it offers a range of styles and themes. All of the works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.



Canadian Painting in the Thirties


The thirties in Canada were marked by the economic collapse of the Great Depression and the rise of new political movements such as fascism and socialism. This lesson plan features the artists that moved beyond landscape and the Group of Seven to examine new avenues of expression. Some focused on the political and social issues, others on the new industrial landscapes, while others focused on various ways of painting the figure. New methods and attitudes brought a spirit of innovation and interest in modern art and formal expression. For further information about Canadian art in the thirties, please consult the subsite Canadian Painting in the Thirties.


The works of art that are featured in this lesson plan record a particular moment in the history of this country. The emphasis in art was placed on social-political issues and individualism.