CANADIAN ART DEEMED VIGOROUS, VITAL, ORIGINAL
In the midst of the Great Depression, the Gallery successfully runs its first major exhibition of international art; weathers a 75-percent drop in its budget; and makes waves with A Century of Canadian Art, mounted at London’s Tate Gallery in 1938.
The Gallery mounts French Painting of the Nineteenth Century, its first large exhibition of international art.
Despite a plummeting annual budget during the Depression years (from $135,000 in 1928-29, to $25,000 in 1934-35), the Gallery still manages to emerge from this period as a vibrant, growing institution. This is largely due to the foundation established by Sir Edmund Walker and Eric Brown.
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada, A Century of Canadian Art at the Tate Gallery, London, opens to public and critical acclaim. The show is a milestone in the Gallery's history, as it is considered wider in scope and more representative than any exhibition of Canadian art previously seen in Britain or in Canada.
The works fill five rooms of the Tate Gallery to capacity. Among the highlights are early Quebec woodcarvings, native west-coast art, 19th century paintings by Paul Kane, Cornelius Krieghoff, and Robert Harris, along with contemporary paintings by Tom Thomson and members of the Group of Seven.
Audiences are consistently large and enthusiastic. His Royal Highness, the Duke of Kent officially opens the exhibition, and King George VI and Queen Elizabeth attend on 25 October. The exhibition garners numerous favourable reviews in the British press for its originality and vitality. The British Broadcasting Association even arranges for Brown to appear on television to show several of the works.
Following the death of Eric Brown, Harry Orr McCurry takes over as Director of the National Gallery of Canada in November.
The Gallery launches a film series on artists, entitled “Adventures in Canadian Painting.”