ART HISTORY: A PRELIMINARY HANDBOOK
A good reason is fascination, but there are many others. Not the least of these is the enrichment of life, which is not at all a simple matter of pleasant decor or popular imagery. Of course, it remains an exciting fact that art can often be enjoyed even as it asks you to question your expectations, whether these be philosophical, ideological, aesthetic, sociological, political, moral, or whatever. Do note, however, that some art was never meant to be “enjoyed” in the common sense. In fact, the visual arts have a most complicated history, and their importance as a legitimate mode of intellectual discourse is fundamental to the kind of society in which we live. Having some understanding of the visual arts as such is essential to a fully-rounded liberal education.
© Copyright 1996 Robert J. Belton
Any brief definition of art would oversimplify the matter, but we can say that all the definitions offered over the centuries include some notion of human agency, whether through manual skills (as in the art of sailing or painting or photography), intellectual manipulation (as in the art of politics), or public or personal expression (as in the art of conversation). Recall that the word is etymologically related to artificial — i.e., produced by human beings. Since this embraces many types of production that are not conventionally deemed to be art, perhaps a better term for them would be visual culture. This would explain why certain preindustrial cultures produce objects which Eurocentric interests characterize as art, even though the producing culture has no linguistic term to differentiate these objects from utilitarian artifacts. Having said that, we are still left with a class of objects, ideas and activities that are held to be separate or special in some way. Even those things which become art even though they are not altered in any material way — e.g., readymades — are accorded some special status in a describable way. Because of this complexity, writers have developed a variety of ways to characterize the art impulse. Ellen Dissanayake’s What is Art For? lists these as follows (in no particular order):
- the product of conscious intention,
- a self rewarding activity,
- a tendency to unite dissimilar things,
- a concern with change and variety,
- the aesthetic exploitation of familiarity vs. surprise,
- the aesthetic exploitation of tension vs. release,
- the imposition of order on disorder,
- the creation of illusions,
- an indulgence in sensuousness,
- the exhibition of skill,
- a desire to convey meanings,
- an indulgence in fantasy,
- the aggrandizement of self or others,
- the heightening of existence,
- personal adornment or embellishment,
- the giving of meaning to life,
- the generation of unselfconscious experience,
- the provision of paradigms of order and/or disorder,
- training in the perception of reality,
- and so on.
Introductory books and study guides on art history usually give a variation of the following as the basic functions of art:
- to adorn,
- to beautify,
- to express,
- to illustrate,
- to mediate,
- to persuade,
- to record,
- to redefine reality,
- and to redefine art.
A completely different approach to the question is available at Otis’ What is Art? Page.
© Copyright 1996 Robert J. Belton
As complex as works of art typically are, there are really only three general categories of statements one can make about them. A statement addresses form, content or context (or their various interrelations). However, within each of these categories is a variety of subcategories, giving visual culture its variety and complexity.
Form means the constituent elements of a work of art independent of their meaning (e.g., the colour, composition, medium or size of a flag, rather than its emotional or national significance). Formal elements include primary features which are not a matter of semantic significance (i.e., which do not carry meaning the way a word does): these include colour, dimensions, line, mass, medium, scale, shape, space, texture, value, and their corollaries. The secondary features are the relations of the primary features with one another: these include balance, composition, contrast, dominance, harmony, movement, proportion, proximity, rhythm, similarity, unity, and variety. A third or tertiary level concerns the way form interacts with content and/or context (see below).
There is less consensus here. Some distinguish “subject matter” from “content” – – i.e., denotations vs. connotations, more or less — while others prefer terms like “meaning” vs. “significance.” Semiotics and post-structuralism go even farther, well beyond what can be introduced here. To simplify matters, content means “message,” however that message may be organized. A traditional way of organizing content was simply to place it in basic categories of iconography (signs, symbols, conventions, etc.) called genres, listed here in what was once considered a descending order of importance:
history: important incidents like famous battles, political triumphs, social movements, etc.
megalography: the portrayal of historically important people or things in an absurdly glorifying manner, as if they weren’t really human or ordinary at all
mythology: stories of gods, goddesses, nymphs and heroes, usually (but not exclusively) Greek or Roman in origin
religion: the portrayal of sacred narratives and legends from the world’s holy texts
portraiture: likenesses of real people, usually (but not exclusively) of at least moderate social standing
landscape: representations of places, urban and rural, whether real or imagined
genre: not to be confused with “genres” (the categories in general), the portrayal of scenes of everyday life, including people but not specifically for the purposes of portraiture
still-life: objects, furniture, settings, utensils, flowers, foods, etc., without obvious stories or important people
rhopography: trash, rubbish, waste
This hierarchy of categories was highly elitist, however, and artists who practiced the so-called lesser genres (like flower-painting) were often given short shrift. Moreover, each of the genres actually uses content in subtle ways which the category alone does not reveal. For example, a history painting might be considerably less symbolic — and therefore less intellectually stimulating – – than a still-life, but history painting was automatically considered more serious and important. With fairly few exceptions, similar prejudices are still common in contemporary culture. Hollywood’s Oscars, for example, tend to go to movies with “big themes” like AIDS or the Holocaust.
A better way to organize the category of content is to divide it, like form, into three theoretically value-free levels of complexity. Although they are arranged numerically here, there is no intrinsic hierarchy:
The primary content is the simplest way of taking inventory of what you see, as in literal images; straightforward subjects and imagery; and describable facts, actions, and/or poses. You might think, “what you see is what you get.” The primary content in a picture of a well-groomed older woman sitting in a chair in an important looking office is just that — a well-groomed older woman sitting in a chair in an important looking office. When you realize that the woman is actually Margaret Thatcher, you have moved from primary to secondary content.
The secondary content includes things which push “what you see” into “what you understand,” so to speak. Anyone can recognize a woman in a chair, but a certain knowledge is required to recognize that the woman is Thatcher. A similar move from primary to secondary is involved when we recognize that a blindfolded woman with a set of scales is Justice, or that an athlete with a club and a lion skin is Hercules.
There is a variety of ways to push what you see into what you understand. One is to explore figurative meanings like those afforded by conventional signs and symbols:
allegories: stories in which people, things, and events represent abstract ideas, values and messages, as when a blindfolded woman chases a thug away from a mugging victim in an allegory of Justice Pursuing Crime
attributes: conventional devices identifying the person holding it, as the bow and arrow of a small child indicate he is Cupid
personifications: individuals representing abstract ideas or values, as in the Statue of Liberty
traditional signs: anything which is understood in a given context to mean something other than what it literally is, as in two upright fingers in a “v” meaning peace, a red octagon meaning stop, or a skull meaning a reminder of death (a memento mori)
These are all conventional, which means that everyone can understand the sign if they have access to the code. Less fixed in meaning are the basic tropes (specific ways of turning away from literal meaning to figurative meaning):
metaphor: a comparison, not using like or as, in which the thing actually described (the vehicle) implies an appropriate or evocative image for another thing (the tenor), as in “My love is a rose” — i.e., sweet and beautiful, but thorny and short-lived
metonymy: signifying a literally absent thing via some attribute or other item typically associated with it, as in the crowns of Europe (meaning the royalty who wear such crowns)
synecdoche: signifying a literally absent whole via one of its parts (and sometimes vice versa), as in “he roamed the range with forty head” (meaning forty animals), or “all hands on deck”
irony: a twist or complete reversal in meaning, as in Margaret Bourke-White’s photograph of African-Americans standing in a food line directly below a billboard showing happy whites under the words “America: Highest Standard of Living in the World”
parody: mimicking the appearance and/or manner of something or someone, but with a twist for comic effect or critical comment, as in Saturday Night Live’s political satires
The tropes are less fixed than conventional signs and symbols, but they are more fixed than another aspect of secondary content, paralinguistic and/or performative effects. These are a matter of the way form affects meaning, but the former is more standardized than the latter. A paralinguistic shift involves changing the meaning of a single word by altering the way it is delivered: e.g., the word “fire” looks and sounds different from the word “FIIIRRRRE!!!,” and everyone spontaneously recognizes the difference between them. Performative effects are structurally similar but more evocative: e.g., a hyperrealistic nude is different in appearance and meaning from one painted with bodily distortions and lurid colours.
The tertiary content represents the convergence and mutual modification of form, content, and context (see below). For example, the primary content of a portrait of a king might simply be a richly dressed individual sitting on a throne, wearing a robe, lifting an arm, etc. Part of the secondary content could be the way he is given extra dignity by the stylistic treatment, perhaps by isolating him from any visual indications of the here and now and/or by giving him the attributes of power (sceptres, crowns, cringing minions). If the image were of a particular political figure, like Napoleon, it would be a megalographic portrait. Tertiary content involves combining these observations with context — i.e., information garnered through research. For example, the composition of Ingres’ Napoleon Enthroned (1806) is partly borrowed from a famous colossal statue of Zeus made by the famed Greek sculptor Phidias for an ancient temple at Olympia. The result, then, is Napoleon represented as Emperor-God beyond time and space, an effect which was certainly desirable, given what we can find out about Napoleon’s reign. If we leave our interpretation there, assuming we have said all that needs to be said, we have evoked closure. In post-modernist discourse, the finality suggested by such closure is usually considered socially unhealthy, philosophically unreal, and even politically unwise. It goes without saying that one should always keep an open mind.
Context means the varied circumstances in which a work of art is (or was) produced and/or interpreted. As in the case of content, there are three levels of complexity, arranged numerically here, but without an intrinsic hierarchy.
Conventional wisdom would have it that primary context is that pertaining to the artist, although there are equally good reasons to assert the primacy of historical and material conditions of production, as in Marxism. However, similar conditions are known to produce very different artists (e.g., Raphael and Michelangelo), so we will adopt the convention simply for convenience. Primary context is thus that which pertains to the artist: attitudes, beliefs, interests, and values; education and training; and biography (including psychology). Special mention must be made of the artist’s intentions and purposes, because it is very easy to fall into a trap called the intentional fallacy. This happens when a writer derives an artist’s intention only from the work he or she produced. This is not logically valid: in the absence of documentary evidence, a work which seems to mean “X” can either imply
a) that the artist’s intention was “X” and that he or she was successful, or b) that the work is not successful and that the artist’s intention was actually “Y.”
We have no way of knowing which of these is the correct answer, although the common practice has been to treat artists as if they were inspired beings, with no obligation to carry the burden of proof. If, on the other hand, we have a letter or a diary in which the artist wrote “my intentions are such and such,” the information thus gathered can often be validly employed.
Secondary context is that which addresses the milieu in which the work was produced: the apparent function of the work at hand (see above); religious and philosophical convictions; sociopolitical and economic structures; and even climate and geography, where relevant. The tertiary context is the field of the work’s reception and interpretation: the tradition(s) it is intended to serve; the mind-set it adheres to (ritualistic [conceptual, stylized, hieratic, primitive], perceptual [naturalistic], rational [classical, idealizing, and/or scientific]; and emotive [affective or expressive]); and, perhaps most importantly, the colour of the lenses through which the work is being scrutinised — i.e., the interpretive mode (artistic biography; psychological approaches [including psychoanalysis, Jungian archetypal theory, ethology and Gestalt]; political criticism [including Marxism and general correlational social histories]; feminism; cultural history and Geistesgeschichte; formalism [including connoisseurship and raw scientific studies]; structuralism; semiotics [including iconography, iconology, and typological studies; hermeneutics; post- structuralism and deconstruction]; reception theory [including contemporary judgements, later judgements, and revisionist approaches]; concepts of periodicity [stylistic pendulum swinging]; and other chronological and contextual considerations. It should be clear, then, that context is more than the matter of the artist’s circumstances alone.
More simply put, content is “what” the work is about, form is “how” the work is, and context is “in what circumstances” the work is (and was).
This varies from instructor to instructor, so they will prepare you for it orally in class and on your initial course outlines. Most instructors will want to develop your ability to handle all three of the general categories, but they will probably put different levels of emphasis on them. Being a good student means being able to ask yourself why they would do this and what it means in terms of the intellectual talents you are supposed to be developing. In this regard, it might be useful to familiarize yourself with the basic goals of any education. From the least to the most difficult, according to a set of categories called “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” they are:
Knowledge: Retaining and recalling raw information, as in knowing names and dates.
Comprehension: Digesting and understanding information, as in paraphrasing or simple explaining.
Application: Using information, as in extrapolating a principle from a number of observed, known instances so that preliminary conclusions can be made about an unknown instance.
Analysis: Differentiating or testing hypotheses.
Synthesis: Reassembling or reordering information.
Evaluation: Appraising or critiquing something to ascertain its relevance, sufficiency, and validity (see Three Important Acronyms).
You might care to consider what your tests are asking you to do in the abstract, so to speak. For example, a slide test that only asks for artist, title, and date is clearly testing only your knowledge. A test which asks you to speculate about a work you have never seen before is clearly about application. An examination which asks you to assess a short paragraph from a critic’s theory of art clearly asks you for evaluation. The same principles can be usefully applied when taking lecture notes. Ask yourself, why is the instructor telling us this? (There is more useful advice on Bloom’s Taxonomy at http://www.coun.uvic.ca/learn/program/hndouts/bloom.html.)
There are two basic types of assignment in the art history courses offered by the Department of Fine Arts. One places more emphasis on basic research skills and broader themes. The other places more emphasis on criticism and direct engagement with a work. The former is intended to show your ability to find, to compile and to evaluate information. The latter requires you to describe the appearance of a work and to formulate a conclusion about its meaning, sometimes in the absence of supporting material. (This does not mean simply stating an opinion or a preference. See Some Particular Pitfalls to Avoid.) Some assignments ask you to do both of these things. CHECK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR IF YOU ARE UNSURE. Whatever the type of assignment, the cover page should bear the title of the essay, the student name and number, the professor and the course, and the due date. (Incidentally, many instructors find plastic folders and binders more of an irritation than anything. Check with your instructor.) Papers should be neatly typed or word-processed. Handwriting or printing, no matter how neat, sends a subliminal message of unprofessionalism or indifference. Double-spacing permits a marker to make a running commentary. (See the grades section below for reasons why this is desirable). Everything is single-spaced here to save paper. A research assignment is substantially a commentary on the published discussions of a single artist, theme, issue or work. It is usually intended to give evidence of three academic skills (or the lack thereof):
a. i. Research Skills
(I.e., the ability to do basic research on a given topic.) This means finding monographs, catalogues and periodical literature. Monographs and catalogues are fairly easy to find, provided we have them in our library. However, be sure to avoid the pitfall of simply typing an artist’s name into the computer. This often produces lists of general “coffee-table” books, which often should be avoided like the plague! Moreover, some of the more interesting research is being done in the context of general studies which might not be catalogued with an individual’s name, so use “subject headings” too. More focused information is usually treated in periodical literature. In our library, the standard index is The Art Index, but you will find numerous others at larger universities. If your subject has been treated in relatively recent mainstream journalism, don’t forget to check the CD-ROM. If you need general background information, consult the titles listed in the section below on basic research materials. Finally, if you need things through interlibrary loan, order them as soon as possible. There are all sorts of reasons not to procrastinate.
a. ii. Thinking Skills
(I.e., the ability to digest and present your results.) This means that you have made a conscientious effort to come to terms with art history as active, ongoing research. For example, a historian named Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov maintains that Van Gogh was more responsible for the development of the style known as cloisonism than has hitherto been recognized, disagreeing fundamentally with Charles Chasse, who insists that Emile Bernard was the prime mover. Each of these positions is an argument (i.e., a conclusion supported by reasons), but one of them may be better than the other because it is supported by more reasons or by better use of the same reasons. Whatever your topic, you should be able to distinguish and evaluate the various ways in which it has been interpreted. In doing so, you should provide evidence of a particular argument which focuses your research. Some of you may find that it is quite clear. On the other hand, you may find yourself unable to decide an issue, in which case you should explicitly state something to that effect. However, don’t allow this option to become an excuse to avoid critical thinking. Keep in mind the acronyms listed below.
a. iii. Writing Skills
(I.e., the ability to write clearly and effectively.) This means not only proper grammar, spelling, and bibliographical formats, but also coherence, conciseness, and intelligibility. For better or worse, we think of writing as a mirror of thought. If the surface of the mirror is unnecessarily dirty — that is, if your writing skills are substandard — then either the thought itself is flawed or the reader is incapable of determining its real value because it is obscured. There are various style guides for this, J. Buckley’s Fit to Print, K. Turabian’s Manual for Writers, J. Heffernan’s Writing: A College Handbook, the MLA style sheet, and so on. The secret to getting the most out of any of these is TO USE THEM. ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR INSTRUCTOR TO SEE WHAT NOTATION FORMAT IS PREFERRED. The example following asks you to use the MLA format, explained below. A paper that is intended to be a critique — i.e., a direct engagement with a work — is chiefly about the last two sets of skills, thinking and writing, because it puts less emphasis on research.
Try this process of elimination. Don’t feel obliged to go about it in so mechanical a way.
We know that the basic elements of a work of art are form, content and context. You can begin by taking each category and exploring whether or not its subcategories are applicable to the image at hand. As an example, turn to van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding (1434) in the textbook.
Form might be started along these lines:
medium: Is it really important to note that it is oil on panel, or is this question really more useful for works which depart from the norm for some expressive purpose? How would it be different if it were in some other material? Ask yourself these questions and decide later if you can throw out the answers.
scale: This is a fairly small painting. Is it worth mentioning?
line: Of the various subcategories of line, which are useful in this instance? What do they do in the image? Are there any directional movements created by line?
shape: Are the shapes organic or geometric? Do they give the impression of mass (density) or volume (openness)? Do they overlap one another? Do they simply meet along some edge?
space: Let’s jump right to perspective to see what sort of space we’re dealing with. Is there any atmospheric perspective, or is it linear? Do the orthogonals lead anywhere?
colour: First of all, what is the general impression of the colour? Is it inviting, warm and decorative or cold, blandly descriptive and unappealing? Are the hues local or environmental?
light: Does light add anything dramatic, like spotlighting? Does it simply describe form by casting shadows?
texture: Is the texture fairly impersonal or highly individualised? How are little details picked out?
unity: What holds the image together as a whole? Do the formal elements above work together, by and large, or do they fight with one another? Is there a general characteristic, like a majority of lines along the vertical or horizontal axes? Are the shapes similar or dissimilar over all?
variety: Are there various elements mixed in here and there, or is the picture really pretty “empty?”
balance: Is the picture balanced or not? How? What does this imply about the content?
contrast: Remember that contrast is always “of” something. Are there contrasting lines, shapes, spaces, colours, etc.?
focus: Things are starting to fall into place now. What ends up drawing most of your attention? Why? Is it because it falls along certain lines? Is it because the arrangement of certain shapes leads us to it? Is it because it contains the most detail or the brightest colour? Is it because it is the biggest shape, the littlest one, the most organic one in a field mostly of geometrical shapes, or the most geometrical one in a field mostly of organic shapes?
You could start content in a similar manner:
primary: Take inventory of everything you see, including things and actions: a man, a woman, a dog, a room, a window, some sandals, a chandelier, a mirror, a raised hand, a tilted head, etc.
secondary: In our culture, certain gestures and things have conventional significances. What does a dog symbolize? Sandals? Are there any tropes? Consideration of this may lead you to deeper exploitation of the formal features you have sketched out above, and it will certainly tell you which answers you can safely discard.
context: The relationship between form and content may be given further meaning by allusion to the work’s context. In the textbook, for example, considerable emphasis is given to the patrons of the work and their value-system. Knowing where this picture is now (the National Gallery in London) would seem to add relatively little to an understanding of its content. What if it originally were in the collection of a home for wayward teenagers?
What is the medium? Why did the artist choose it? Is it conventional or innovative? Would the work, its content or its context change significantly if it were in another medium?
How many colours are used? From which part of the colour wheel? Which colour dominates? How is colour distributed? Is colour used to create aerial perspective? Does colour affect the mood of the work? Is it symbolic? How important is colour relative to other formal features?
Ask analogous questions about line, light and dark, shape, volume, etc.
Ask analogous questions about balance, composition, contrast, etc.
Is the artist’s biography relevant? (E.g., education, religion, social position, etc.) What did the artist say about the work? If s/he didn’t say anything, are other people’s statements about intentions reliable?
What is the relationship between this subject and contemporary historical events? How did these events affect the artist?
Who bought the work and why? Did the patron’s education and social position affect the choice of this artist or subject?
How was the work treated in criticisms of the artist’s time? How has it been treated since? Do the critics’ education, social position and the like affect their judgements? Do any of the critics have something to gain or lose in their criticism? (E.g., were some of them friends of the artist or collectors of the works? Does that cloud their judgement?) Where were the criticisms published and for whom? How have critical conclusions changed over the years?
What is the specific subject matter dealt with in this work? What is the genre (see above)? Was this subject dealt with by other artists? Who and when? How do their works compare to this one? Was the subject dealt with in other ways? (e.g., in literature, politics, theology, etc.) How do they compare?
Why did the artist choose this subject? Why did the eventual owner of the work want this subject? How does the public respond to this subject?
The essay is to be typed, double-spaced with ample margins, and clipped together if necessary. Ask your instructor if you should use commercial folders or binders.
Do not pad the paper with unnecessary additional material. Be critical. This does not mean that you are to demolish the picture, the artist or the period in general, but that your comments are to be carefully weighed, considered and evaluated. See Three Important Acronyms.
In any intellectual undertaking, a systematic approach offers certain advantages over a haphazard or random one. After you have arranged the facts and ideas mentally, begin to look for conclusions that can be drawn from your work. Check these with the actual work of art to avoid making incorrect statements. If there is some point of iconography puzzling you, look it up in an encyclopedia or a reputable dictionary of symbols. (Ignore grocery-store books filled with dream- symbols and the like. See the basic research section below.) Check that all symbolic (and other) interpretations are plausible. This usually means that the artist was consciously aware of their significance, but there are some exceptions, as in Freudian or Jungian criticism.
a. APOLO [sic]:
Always Pull Out Legitimate Observations. I.e., don’t leave material out if it is pertinent to the argument you are constructing, and don’t take it for granted that the reader will make connections without your explicit help. (Essays which require the reader to guess at the writer’s meaning earn a failing grade. See Grades.
b. DAFFNIE [sic]:
Don’t Argue From Facts Not In Evidence. This is truism in a court of law. Why should it be any different here? If you are making a point of something, be sure you have genuine and clearly stated evidence. Evidence consists of facts about a case that can be introduced as premises to determine a reasonable conclusion. There are various types of evidence in legal proceedings: autoptic (the thing itself, like a murder weapon), character (information about the offender, victim, etc.), exculpatory (tending to prove innocence), exemplars (forensic and other material evidence, like fingerprints), expert (reliance on authority figures in a given field), inculpatory (tending to prove guilt), material (objects, substances, measurable data), oral (testimony of witnesses), rebuttal (arguing against the relevance or reliability of another interpretation), and so on. Some of these are admissible only in certain circumstances. A well-known example is hearsay evidence (testimony that so-and-so said such-and-such, produced at second or third hand), which must be examined for reliability. All of these have rough analogies in art historical evidence: autoptic (the work), character (artist- and/or patron-directed context), exculpatory/inculpatory (tending to prove or disprove intentions), exemplars/material (characteristic brushwork, signatures, x-rays, letters, diaries, public statements, etc.), expert (previous research), oral (testimony), rebuttal, etc.
Relevant, Sufficient, Valid Propositions. Apart from woozily subjective musings, any critique of a work of art is an argument, in effect. An argument is defined in informal logic as “reasons (premises) given in support of a conclusion.” A good argument must meet the criteria of relevance, sufficiency and validity.
Relevance means that premises must increase the probability of the conclusion being true. Because the conclusion is about spiritual matters in the Van Eyck example, conventional Christian symbolism is relevant, whereas Van Eyck’s years of quasi-diplomatic service for the Duke of Burgundy is likely not. Note that “relevance” does not mean “truth.” Let’s say for the sake of argument that the sign “dog” actually had some other meaning at the time. The point is still structurally relevant, so if you want to disprove the point it you must counter it with rebuttal evidence (see DAFFNIE above). In this case, the point is both relevant and true. On the other hand, it would certainly not be relevant that Van Eyck was a cribbage-player or liked pickles, although it might have been true.
Sufficiency means that an analysis, definition, description, or explanation must be full enough that it applies only to the matter at hand and cannot be replaced by some other analysis, definition, etc. In a definition, for example, the proposition “a chair is something to sit on” is insufficient because we could replace “chair” with “stool,” “bench,” or even “committee.” To increase the sufficiency, one has to distinguish between such alternates by genus and differentia (i.e., by general category and differences from other members of that category). The definition would thus become something like “a chair is a piece of furniture (genus, thus eliminating “committee”) which usually consists of a flat surface on four legs (differentia, eliminating “stool”) to support the buttocks of one person (eliminating “bench”), and providing support for the back and sometimes arms. The principle is the same for longer arguments, but a demonstration would take up too much space here. For the moment, note only that this means “don’t leave anything out that helps your case,” as in APOLO above.
Validity is a structural principle of informal logic and is not to be confused with truth either. Validity is determined by whether or not the conclusion of an argument follows necessarily from its premises. An argument may be structurally valid even if one of the premises is untrue. The syllogism “Van Eyck was a painter; painters are wild and irreverent; therefore, Van Eyck was wild and irreverent,” is perfectly valid, even though it is not true that all artists are wild and irreverent. Similarly, an argument that is invalid may happen to be true, as in “Kenyan artists speak Swahili; Van Eyck was not a Kenyan artist; therefore, Van Eyck did not speak Swahili.” The conclusion does not follow necessarily from the premises because it’s possible a non-Kenyan artist could speak Swahili, although we happen to know in this instance that he did not. Obviously, the best argument is going to be both valid and true.
1. Too descriptive: simply telling what you see — a catalogue or experience. Children can do that. You, on the other hand, must not only describe but analyze and interpret.
2. Too subjective: personal interpretations not closely backed by objective observations. This is a pervasive and pernicious popular misconception.
3. Too arty: this ranges from hokey poetics and purple prose to slick journalism and bar-room philosophy. For example, do not fall into pseudo- psychological or pseudo-philosophical remarks or discussions just because it’s fashionable or the work seems easily to call for it. (Psychology and philosophy are legitimate critical modes, but they require a great deal of research and expertise.)
4. Too shallow: saying that something is “good” or “bad”. This doesn’t tell a thing and is absolutely meaningless in terms of analysis. (Hitler, AIDS, and tobacco smoke aren’t studied because they’re “good” but because they are “important,” and the researchers of such things don’t seem to suffer from the delusion that they need to “like” something before it becomes worthy of their attention. Why should you?)
5. Incomplete: taking a limited view of the work, either singling out only a few points or failing to take into account other possibilities of interpretation.
Upon completing a first draft, you should begin to have a clear idea of the developmental scheme of your paper. Now check it for spelling, sentence structure, paragraphing, and general clarity. If you have difficulty with any of your composition (and who doesn’t?), strive to overcome this weakness. Get that style guide working for you.
1. Keep in mind that a work of art functions on the three levels of form, content, and context. Try to keep them reasonably distinct for the sake of clear discussion, but do take all three into account in your conclusion, discerning how they interact with one another. You do not have to follow the sequence given, but be sure to deal with all the topics pertinent to the work of art you discuss.
2. You may do a graphic stylistic analysis — that is, you may support your observations and discussion of the formal structure with drawings and illustrations, if they serve your purposes well.
3. Every work of art involves the element of choices. Certain possibilities have been employed, others rejected. Sometimes a useful exercise is to consider alternatives to see what these choices are and why they occur. Compare the work at hand with others of similar subjects to see alternative solutions, but remember that you are really writing about one work.
4. The term “realism” is not a universally valid criterion, since all works of art are real, regardless of what they refer to. Moreover, under the influence of semiotics and post-structuralism, most current writing on art replaces “this image is…” with “this image means….” (In other words, no matter how “realistic” the image looks, it’s really a network of signs.) Of course, artists can both allude to and create a human experience. How does they adjust the work to reconcile this duality? Do they idealize outer reality in the work or do they impose themselves upon it? Do they simply render that reality or do they comment on it? To what degree do they create a self-denoting reality?
5. There are so many aspects and elements in any work of art that no one can completely comprehend a given work. Your own experience is, therefore, as important and can be as profound and wide-ranging as your capacity permits. This does not mean you have subjective license, for you still must substantiate everything you say. The more you look and think, the more you will see, feel and understand. Take your time.
a. What to Document
The department encourages the development of responsible independent thought, but it also expects that borrowed material in any form will be credited. PLAGIARISM – – DEFINED IN THE OUC CALENDAR AS “THE PRESENTATION OF ANOTHER PERSON’S WORK OR IDEAS WITHOUT ACKNOWLEDGMENT” — IS NOT CONDONED. Here is a list of the types of materials which must be acknowledged:
1. Direct quotations. Regardless of the length, borrowed passages, phrases and words should be placed within quotation marks. If the quoted material is longer than about three lines, it should be indented without quotation marks:
Plagiarism is a form of stealing; as with other offenses against the law, ignorance is no excuse. The way to avoid it is to give credit where credit is due. If you are using some else’s ideas, acknowledge it [sic], even if you have changed the wording or just summarized the main points (Northey 12).
There are several ways of noting the source, some of which are noted below.
2. Paraphrases. The department’s position is that intellectual property must be acknowledged, even when reworded extensively. This section, for example, is itself a paraphrase (Norman 28).
3. Basic Lines of Argument. If you borrow someone’s broad lines of interpretation but not the detail used to support it, you still need to give credit where credit is due. This is also true of methodology.
4. Facts Derived from Someone Else. Certain data are considered obviously familiar and need no documentation. These include matters of common knowledge (e.g., the Louvre is in Paris, or the fact that Michelangelo was also a poet) and traditional or proverbial information (e.g., “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” or common Biblical phrases). However, others which are less obvious but nonetheless factual should be noted. This is especially important in cases which are matters of debate or subject to periodic revision (e.g., an attribution to a particular artist or architect).
COMMON RATIONALIZATIONS FOR AVOIDING SCHOLARLY RESPONSIBILITY INCLUDE CARELESSNESS IN TAKING NOTES AND THE MISTAKEN IMPRESSION THAT IT IS ENOUGH TO LIST A SOURCE IN A BIBLIOGRAPHY WITHOUT SPECIFIC CITATION. LIKE IGNORANCE, NEITHER OF THESE IS A REAL EXCUSE.
b. i. How to Document
There are almost as many different ways to note a source as there are disciplines. This department is in favour of either the University of Chicago style — the notes and bibliography format favoured in the traditional humanities — or the economical system of citations advocated by the Modern Languages Association. Always check with your instructor to see which method is preferred. Both are explained at length in good style guides. I am personally in favour of the abbreviated MLA format, as follows.
b. ii. THE MLA (MODERN LANGUAGES ASSOCIATION) STYLE
Instead of numbered notes, most citations are included right in the body of the text. If you simply want to acknowledge that a phrase or idea belongs to someone else, it is sufficient to place the author’s name and the page number(s) between parentheses at the end of the sentence, before the terminal punctuation. The following section is composed entirely in MLA style. You then must specify all such sources in a list entitled “Works Cited” at the end of your assignment. If you cite more than one source by the same author, you have several alternatives. The simplest of these is to state the name, an abbreviated version of the title and the page number(s). There are several advantages to this streamlined system: a reduction of tiresome page-turning to find the endnotes, a less “padded” bibliography, and a visually cleaner presentation.
b. iii. FOOTNOTES AND ENDNOTES
Properly, a footnote belongs at the foot of the page. This particular practice is becoming less common. In the traditional University of Chicago style, everything borrowed will have a note listed at the end (hence “endnote”). In the MLA style, most citations are dealt with in the text. Only very occasionally is it necessary to elaborate on some point which interrupts the flow of your thought. In such cases, a sparing use of endnotes is warranted. They are generally of three types:
b. iv. Content notes
Place here “comments, explanation, or information that the text cannot accommodate” without unduly intruding on your line of argument (Gibaldi 158). For example, if you quoted an artist’s words reproduced in an exhibition review, you might note the original source as follows:
1. Smithson’s entire text is reproduced in Holt 9-18.
b. v. Editorial notes
If you or your source is making an evaluation that is worth mentioning, note it. Don’t overdo this, though. Many remarks that can’t be worked into the text in some meaningful way are not worth keeping in any case. For example:
1. The most remarkable attempt to reframe the critical discourse around Van Gogh’s Shoes is Derrida 256-382.
b. vi. Complex citations
On the very rare occasion that a number of authors treat the same issue or comment widely on one another, cite them in an endnote to keep the interruption of the text to a minimum. For example:
1. For a variety of approaches to the problems of academic notation, see Gibaldi 158, Norman 18-28, and Northey 53-69.
AT THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL, THE GREAT MAJORITY OF STUDENTS WILL HAVE NO NEED FOR NOTES AT ALL IF THE MLA SYSTEM IS USED PROPERLY.
b. vii. How to Prepare the Works Cited List
A comprehensive treatment is available in Gibaldi 79-104. A useful supplement peculiar to the visual arts is in Barnet 119-122. Short assignments need not divide the material by category. (It is done here simply to supply examples of common situations.) Just alphabetize by author or by title where no author can be found.
BOOKS, ONE AUTHOR
Rubert de Ventos, Xavier. Heresies of Modern Art. Trans. J. S. Bernstein. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.
BOOKS, MORE THAN ONE AUTHOR
Held, Julius, and Donald Posner. Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Art. New York: Abrams, n.d.
BOOKS, ANONYMOUS AUTHOR
Dictionary of Ancient Greek Civilization. London: Methuen, 1966.
(Do not use “vol.,” “pp.”, etc.)
Wright, Gary. “Caravaggio’s Entombment Considered In Situ.” Art Bulletin 60 (1978): 35-42.
EXHIBITION CATALOGUES, AUTHOR KNOWN
(Be precise about dates.)
Celant, Germano. The European Iceberg: Creativity in Germany and Italy Today. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 8 February – 7 April 1985.
EXHIBITION CATALOGUES, AUTHOR UNKNOWN
L’Exposition internationale du surrealisme. Paris: Galerie Charles Ratton, 1925.
(Directly based on Barnet, inside front cover, and used with his permission. The page references are to the fourth edition of Sylvan Barnet’s Short Guide to Writing About Art, which I strongly recommend acquiring for its clear and much more comprehensive account of what is only briefly sketched in this online form.) See also an instructive lesson re plagiarism.
1. Have I studied the object with sufficient care that I understand what qualities in it caused my initial response, and have I deepened or otherwise changed that response through further study and reflection on the circumstances surrounding the work?
2. Is the title of my essay interesting, or at least informative? (p. 16)
3. Do I state my main point (thesis) soon enough — perhaps even in the title — and keep it in view? Does the introductory paragraph encourage the reader to read on? (pp. 136-7, 188)
4. Is every paragraph united by a strong topic sentence or idea? Does each paragraph lead logically to the next? (pp. 8-9, 111, 126-33, 188-9)
5. Are generalizations and assertions about personal responses supported by concrete details in the work? (pp. 21-2)
6. Is the prose style clear, concise, and vigorous? Do I generally use the active not the passive voice? Are needless words and inflated language excised? (pp. 117-25)
7. Does the essay have a clear beginning, middle and end? Is the conclusion effective without being simply repetitive? (pp. 137-8)
8. Are all dates, matters of fact, and quotations accurately recorded? Are citations provided where necessary? Are photocopies of works of art included and properly captioned? Is the essay in the required format and conventional style? (For example, are titles in italics or underlined?) (pp. 140-1, 147-52)
9. Have I corrected all typographical, spelling and punctuation mistakes? (pp. 139-40, 142-3)
10. Finally, is the tone of the essay appropriate, given its presumed audience and subject matter? (p. 2)
For whatever reason, many students simply don’t understand why a particular assignment merited such-and-such a mark. Here is a set of guidelines that concerned students should study carefully before approaching the instructor for explanation. If you still think your work merits a higher grade, be very certain that it meets the criteria given here.
First class standing
- A+ 90% and up
- A 85 to 89%
- A- 80 to 84%
Second class standing
- B+ 76 to 79%
- B 72 to 75%
- B- 68 to 71%
- C+ 64 to 67%
- C 60 to 63%
- C- 55 to 59%
- D 50 to 54%
- F 0 to 49%
Understand borderline marks as a teaching tool. Don’t think of them simply as an opportunity to appeal. If the effort clearly merits a low A instead of a high B, then that is what you should have. On the other hand, markers sometimes give a student a carrot on a stick: for example, 79% says “try just a little bit harder and you’ll merit the first class standing.” Students usually need to meet minimum standards to continue in their programmes. If markers persist in giving you grades just below your expectations, it’s probably because they’re avoiding the tendency to overlook flaws because they “know what you were trying to say,” or whatever. Low marks are not punishment but warnings that a student’s work doesn’t meet academic expectations. Instead of appealing a grade, get stronger. As a general rule of thumb, markers will be conservative about marks in the A range. Even an extremely good essay will usually merit a mark only in the mid to high eighties. An A+ will be reserved for the truly exceptional student, a very infrequent occurrence. Good teachers will keep a running record on each student, however brief: “Good thesis but poorly organized,” and/or “Inadmissible evidence,” and/or “Frequent misuse of passive voice,” and/or “Brilliantly conceived and immaculately executed.” It is in your best interest to make such records portray you in a good light, so do what you can to improve things. (This happens in the “real,” workaday world, too, so it’s a good general rule of thumb.) Above all else, don’t procrastinate.
a. JUDGING ESSAYS
The A Paper. The characteristics of a first class essay include a lively, polished style — this does not include overt purple prose — sound judgement based on solid evidence, effective organization, and an argument of substance. A first class paper often has a special flair distinguishing it from a competent B+ paper: e.g., originality or profundity, a special way with words, a controlling metaphor or organizational device that first challenges and later satisfies expectations, or exceptionally sound research. Clearly, you should not take first class standing lightly.
The B Paper. This is usually competent but undistinguished. It is basically sound in style, content, grammar, and the like, but will exhibit minor lapses and inconsistencies. It is sound enough to win respect, perhaps, but not admiration.
The C Paper. Here one expects to find distinct lapses in style, grammar and content. The paper will have shortcomings which suggest that although it has something to say, that something is not particularly clear. This category would include papers which stray from the assigned topic or those which deal with the topic in too perfunctory a manner.
The D Paper. Here one sees serious stylistic and organizational flaws, rambling and incoherent arguments, padded texts and bibliographies, repetitive assertions, and so on. In general, the D paper falls quite a bit short of the requirements, but still does enough (perhaps just barely) to merit a passing mark.
The F Paper. Here the faults in style, grammar, content and the like will be considerable. There may be glimmerings of an argument, but these will be obscured by faulty logic, syntax, incoherent presentation, etc. Papers which require the reader to guess at the writer’s meaning belong in the F range. So do papers which bear little or no relation to the topic. Other possibilities: slapdash last- minute efforts, pseudo-arguments that are little more than a string of quotations, and impressionistic imitations of the manner of certain topics — for example, dadaistic blathers or surrealistic fantasies instead of disciplined considerations of Dada and Surrealism.
b. COMMENTS ON ESSAYS
Depend on the marker’s advice for all matters from spelling to thesis. Effective marking — which is a teaching and learning tool in itself, not a punishment — requires an edited text, marginal commentary and a set of concluding remarks summarizing the marker’s reasons for a particular grade. This is especially important when a carrot is dangling on a stick. Frequently, markers simplify matters by briefly identifying common stylistic lapses — say, squinting modifiers, tense shifts, or sentence fragments — or by using standard editorial symbols like those in the section below. If the editing of a text becomes overwhelming because of a student’s poor grasp of the basics, a marker will sometimes edit one or two pages thoroughly and add in the margin: “style marked in detail only to this point.” If your markers are not giving you this type of feedback, you are within your rights to ask for it. Nevertheless, you should always do your own thorough proofreading before submitting an assignment.
c. SOME STANDARD EDITORIAL AND PROOFREADING SYMBOLS
The format of this list is:
abbreviation or mark in margin (in bold)
Identification of the problem
Example of the problem (in italics)
[explanation] (in brackets)
The arch was built about 313 a.c.
[“a.c.” should, of course, read “a.d.”]
The arch was built about 313 a.d.
Her lithographs is startling.
[Subject and verb should agree in number.]
Her lithographs are startling.
…Arp and Dali. He chose to pick up the brush….
[Who chose to pick up the brush?]
…Arp and Dali. Arp chose to pick up the brush….
apos or ‘/ or ‘
…the artists brush was coated with….
[An apostrophe indicates a possessive, with certain exceptions, the most notoriously misspelled of which is “it’s,” which means “it is”.]
…the artist’s brush was coated with….
Jacques-Louis David were an interesting man.
[Any clumsy wording or grammar.]
Jacques-Louis David was an interesting man.
[/] or /
He said, “I worship Pisacco sic.”
[Certain situations, such as remarks added into a quotation, require square brackets. Here, for example, “sic” is added to indicate that Picasso was misspelled in the source from which the quotation was taken.]
He said, “I worship Pisacco [sic].”
cap or caps
…the art of the french court….
[Certain words — like the nationality in this example, are capitalized by convention.]
…the art of the French court….
Geniuses are few and far between.
[This phrase contains two cliches: “few and far between” is an overworked phrase, and “geniuses” is an overworked concept.]
Only a very few artists are recognized by posterity, giving them the appearance of timelessness.
…Andy War hol’s new haircut….
[There is an unwanted space in the text.]
…Andy Warhol’s new haircut….
I enjoyed watching David Salle do the painting. Most painters are a tremendous inspiration. I read to him as he worked on the left half.
[The writer is jumping around from remarks specific to an individual to general information which belongs in another paragraph.]
I enjoyed watching David Salle do the painting, and I read to him….
This performance bites.
[Choose a vocabulary appropriate for your intended audience.]
This performance was uninspiring.
colon or :/ or :
He flattered the sitter thus he….
[One of many punctuation problems. Here, the absence of a colon produces a run-on sentence.]
He flattered the sitter: thus he….
comma or ,/ or ,
…the air light and atmosphere were….
[One of many punctuation problems. Here, the items in a list should be separated by commas.]
…the air, light and atmosphere….
Their act, was great.
[No comma needed.]
Their act was great.
dm or dg
Looking on, the image took shape.
[The subject of the sentence must be that which performs the action in the preceding phrase. Here, for example, “the image” seems to be that which is “looking on,” which clearly doesn’t make sense.]
The image took shape while I watched.
dash or –/ or —
The Pope an artist too watched him.
[Certain interruptions which clarify a point should be set off from the sentence between dashes.]
The Pope — an artist too — watched him.
del or a line with a little loop on the end
Sherri Levine coppies the work of others.
[Points out unnecessary components in the text. Here, for example, there would probably just be a line through the second “p” in “coppies.”]
Sherri Levine copies the work of others.
D or d or dict
This sculpture sucks, or Botticelli hung out with the Neoplatonists.
[Same as colloq.]
This is a poor sculpture, or Botticelli frequented the same places as the Neoplatonists.
“I can’t get no satisfaction.”
[One negative cancels out the other.]
I can’t get any satisfaction.
[Saying something in terms that are more disagreeable than are really necessary.]
ell or …/ or …
“O Canada, the true north strong and free. We stand on guard for thee.”
[Any missing portions in a quotation must be indicated by ellipses.]
“O Canada, the true north strong and free. We stand on guard…for thee.”
err or X
Error of fact
The Eiffel Tower is well over 200 stories high.
[Indicates an error in information.]
The Eiffel Tower reaches a height of 300 metres (about 984 feet).
Pollock passed on after a car wreck.
[Saying something in terms that try to make something less disagreeable (which rarely works).]
Pollock was killed in a car accident.
excl or !/ or !
Exclamation mark needed
“…but oh, what an eye.”
[Punctuation for emphasis.]
“…but oh, what an eye!”
All dolphins are mammals; all printmakers are mammals; therefore, all printmakers are dolphins.
[Any of several types of faulty reasoning. This example is a type of invalid syllogism.]
This statement cannot be repaired because the idea is fundamentally flawed.
An important picture, admired by all.
[Same as incomplete sentence.]
It was an important picture, admired by all.
They is here.
[Any error of grammar or usage. Here, there is a flawed number agreement between subject and verb.]
They are here.
hyph or -/ or –
He was copyediting.
[Basically a spelling problem.]
He was copy-editing.
An important picture, admired by all.
[The verb is missing.]
It was an important picture, admired by all.
ind or a little arrow pointing to the right
This is a new paragraph, where these words are aligned with the left margin.
[Indicates a need for a new paragraph.]
ins or / preceded by whatever is missing
Paul Gaugin was a bit….
[Indicates a missing element.]
Paul Gauguin was a bit….
Ins sp or /
VitoAcconci’s Red Tapes were in the VCR when….
[Indicates a need for a space.]
Vito Acconci’s Red Tapes were in the VCR when….
Delacroix called it flochetage.
‘ [Foreign words and titles of books and works of art are conventionally printed in italics. Prior to the widespread use of computers, the convention for italics in typescript was underlining.]
Delacroix called it flochetage.
[See colloq and dict. Technical jargon is fine in an appropriate context.]
Lower case needed
David Salle’s Odd Mixture of object and design….
[Do not use capitals where they are not required by convention.]
David Salle’s odd mixture of object and design.
An article describes the way artists handle gesso in Arts Magazine.
[Consider the ambiguity: does the article (which describes gesso-handling) appear in Arts, or does the article describe gesso-handling which appears in Arts?]
An article in Arts Magazine describes the way artists handle gesso.
Gentileschi only had the courage to go to court to sue her attacker.
[Consider the ambiguity: is it that Gentileschi was the only one who had the courage to do such and such, or is it that Gentileschi was unable to do anything other than have the courage to do such and such?]
Only Gentileschi had the courage….
Taken from their proper religious environment and placed on view in a secular museum are among the many injustices of the Elgin marbles.
[The meaning of the sentence is garbled.]
It was unjust that the Elgin marbles should suffer so many injustices, including their removal from their proper religious environment and their placement in a secular museum.
Caravaggio smelled a rat, but he nipped it in the bud.
[Only Shakespeare had the subtlety to get away with something like this.]
This statement cannot be repaired because the idea is fundamentally flawed.
move or a little arrow pointing to the left
Miriam Schapiro’s femmage…., where the phrase occurs as if at the beginning of a new paragraph.
[No new paragraph needed.]
Miriam Schapiro’s femmage….
no ital or rom
The Pope paid for the painting but he would not pay for the lunch.
[Certain words do not really need to be highlighted through such things as italics.]
The Pope paid for the painting but he would not pay for the lunch.
Non-sequitur (faulty reasoning or faulty sequence)
Kennedy wasn’t killed by a single bullet. Emily Carr had a gun….
[One of a number of types of faulty reasoning. Make sure that each sentence logically flows from the preceding one.]
This statement cannot be repaired because the idea is fundamentally flawed.
parallel or //
Mapplethorpe first decided to enter the exhibition and then that he would sell the works.
[Keep formal constructions parallel.]
Mapplethorpe first decided to enter the exhibition and then to sell the works.
paren or (/) or ()
It the lecture was unsuccessful.
[Set interruptions from the flow in parentheses.]
It (the lecture) was unsuccessful.
Passive voice overused
The photograph was made by Rodchenko, who was taught by participants in the Revolution, which was started by….
[State what people or things do, rather than what is done to people or things.]
Trained by participants in the Revolution, Rodchenko made this photograph….
per or ./ or .
The lecture was unsuccessful
[Indicates a missing period.]
The lecture was unsuccessful.
A cire-perdue casting is when you melt wax out of a hollow mold.
[Avoid “is when” constructions.]
The cire-perdue process involves melting wax out of….
The ludic dimensions of the endeavour evaporated before the perspicuously sceptical essentialism of the critical eye.
[Use plain language where plain language will do.]
Critics maintained that the work was less playful than it seemed.
Daumier disliked the legal profession. He accused them of….
[Faulty agreement between number of pronoun and referent.]
Daumier disliked lawyers. He accused them of….
?/, when preceded by something, as in “fell?/”
Query to author
The speaker ill while on stage.
[Inquires whether something is missing.]
The speaker fell ill while on stage.
?/ or ?
Question mark needed
What happened during the lecture.
[Indicates missing question mark.]
What happened during the lecture?
“”/ or “”
Quotation marks needed
She said, I will be a great painter.
[Indicates missing quotation marks.]
She said, “I will be a great painter.”
Quotations strung together with little or no individual thought
He said that “X….” In contrast, she insisted that “Y….” However, somebody else always maintained that “Z….”
[Use resources to provoke thought, not as a source of material for textual collages.]
She painted the painting in a painterly manner.
[Eliminate repeated words and phrases.]
Her brushwork was free and painterly.
Napoleon III paved the streets of Paris the populace couldn’t throw the cobblestones.
[Make grammatical sense of the components. In this sentence, is it that the people couldn’t throw stones because Napoleon III paved the streets?]
Napoleon III paved the streets of Paris so that the people would not be able to….
Scare quotes are unnecessary
The image is really “painterly.”
[Scare quotes are quotation marks misused to identify words about which the writer has some doubt or skepticism. Here, the writer evidently thinks the word “painterly” is jargon. However, it is no more peculiar a word than “flannel,” and you would never write “I have a ‘flannel’ shirt.”]
The image is very painterly.
semicolon or ;/ or ;
…such and such is bad, thus, in some cases….
[Indicates a need for a semicolon.]
…such and such is bad; thus, in some cases….
Modern man has an odd attitude to art.
[Fails to use gender-neutral language.]
Modern people have an odd attitude to art.
She painted there for 5 more years.
[Spell the word out. This isn’t necessary for numbers of three digits or more.]
She painted there for five more years.
Kruger’s aforisms appeared….
Kruger’s aphorisms appeared….
She really wanted to passionately paint.
[Infinitive verbs (i.e., verbs preceded by “to”) shouldn’t be separated by adverbs.]
She really wanted to paint passionately.
The Pope Michelangelo met in the Chapel sometimes performed Mass.
[Consider the ambiguity: did the Pope sometimes perform Mass, or did Michelangelo sometimes meet the Pope in the Chapel?]
The Pope, whom Michelangelo sometimes met in the Chapel, performed Mass.
Let it stand (you were right)
[Indicates that a correction made by a marker or editor should not have been made after all.]
Mix the powdered pigment with H2O.
[The “2” should be smaller and lower.]
10 x 10 is the same as 102.
[The “2” should be smaller and higher.]
Due to advances in art reproduction technology, there has been an increased opinion among gallery-goers that such advancements bring as new styles are easier to understand, resulting in a greater popularity.
[Meaning is unclear. Straighten the sentence out.]
Changes in technology can change the audience of art.
t or t shift
Her art is celebrated and she was too.
[Keep tense consistent.]
Her art was celebrated and she was too.
Her video slickly was edited.
[Words are out of order.]
Her video was slickly edited.
Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa….
[Indicates need for underlining. In most cases, given the prevalence of computer technology, this has been replaced by a need for one of the italic fonts.]
Gericault’s Raft of the Medusa….
o’keeffe’s famous flowers….
[Capitals are needed.]
O’Keeffee’s famous flowers….
Purple the colour of royalty.
[Where is the verb?} Purple is the colour of royalty.
It is a matter of the gravest possible importance to the reputation of anyone who claims to be an artist that he or she should cultivate a circle of friends that includes the rich and politically powerful.
[State things clearly and simply whenever possible.]
Artists should have friends in high places.
Art Index. This is the most basic reference guide to periodical literature in English. It can be found on the second range of reference tables directly opposite the entrance of the North Campus library, and it is available online to qualified persons through Simon Fraser University.
Chilvers, Ian and H. Osborne, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.
REF N 33 .O93 Brief biographies and definitions.
Cirlot, J.E. A Dictionary of Symbols. 2nd ed. New York: Philosophical Library, 1971.
REF BF 1623 .S9 C513 Short, alphabetically organized essays on symbols from all parts of the world and all eras.
Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1987.
REF PN 41 .B4 A general introduction to world literature organized alphabetically by the names of major writers, novels, poems, plays, characters and literary genres.
Dunford, Penny, ed. A Biographical Dictionary of Women Artists in Europe and America Since 1850. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1990.
REF N 6757 .D86 1990 Self-explanatory.
Encyclopedia of World Art. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1959-68. 15 vols. and 2 suppl.
REF N 31 .E4833 Detailed articles on artists, works and genres. Includes many black and white and some colour illustrations and plates. Index in volume 15. Bibliographies are no longer up to date.
Hall, James, ed. Dictionary of Subjects and Symbols in Art. Rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
REF N 7560 .H34 1797b Explanations of common religious, mythological, folkloric and other iconography.
Heller, Jules, and Nancy Heller, eds. North American Women Artists of the Twentieth Century: A Biographical Dictionary. New York: Garland, 1995.
Huyghe, Rene. Larousse Encyclopedia of Modern Art from 1899 to the Present Day. New York: Prometheus, 1961.
REF N 6450 .H813 Outdated research, but still useful for general chronological and geographical discussion of 19th and 20th century art, placing artists and artistic developments in social context.
Lerner, Loren, and Mary Williamson, eds. Art and Architecture in Canada: A Bibliography and Guide to the Literature to 1981. Toronto: Univeristy of Toronto, 1991.
REF N 6540 .C47 1991 V.1-2 Very thorough annotated bibliography, with entries on painters, sculptors, architects, and virtually all the other visual arts, including that of aboriginal cultures.
Magnusson, Magnus, ed. Cambridge Biographical Dictionary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
REF CT 103 .C4 Brief biographical information about more than 19,000 famous people from eras. Organized alphabetically. Formerly called Chamber’s Biographical Dictionary.
Marks, Claude, ed. World Artists 1950-1980. New York: Wilson, 1984.
REF N 6489 .M37 1984 Biographical and critical information on late modern artists.
Marks, Claude, ed. World Artists 1980-1990. New York: Wilson, 1991.
REF N 6489 .W67 1991 Biographical and critical information on contemporary artists.
Mercatante, Anthony S. The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend. New York: Facts on File, 1988.
REF BL 303 .M45 An alphabetical list of myths, fables and legends from all countries and all time periods. Includes many gods, heroes and mythological creatures.
Naylor, Colin, ed. Contemporary Artists. 3rd ed. Chicago: St. James, 1989.
REF N 6490 .C6567 1989 Brief biographies, but useful for more recent figures.
Opie, Iona and M. Tatem, eds. A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
REF BF 1775 .D53 An alphabetical list of seasonal customs and a wide range of popular and less well known superstitions.
Osborne, Harold, ed. The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Art. Oxford: Oxford, 1981.
REF N 6490 .O94 1988 Brief, but useful, entries on artists, countries and movements of this century.
Palmer, Alan. The Penguin Dictionary of Twentieth-Century History. 3rd. ed. London: Penguin, 1990.
REF D 419 .P29 An alphabetical dictionary of political, diplomatic, social and economic events in the twentieth century.
Placzek, Adolph K., ed. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects. London: Collier Macmillan, 1982.
REF NA 40 .M25 1982 V.1-4 Lengthy entries on individual architects, with up-to- date bibliographies and indices of buildings by place and name.
Trager, J., ed. The People’s Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979.
REF D 11 .T83 A review of key world events. Includes landmarks in politics, medicine, sports, technology, education, and many other fields.
Wetterau, Bruce, comp. Macmillan Concise Dictionary of World History. New York: Macmillan, 1983.
REF D 9 .W47 Short descriptions of important political and historical events, wars, people, etc. Organized alphabetically.
Wiener, Philip P. Dictionary of the History of Ideas. New York: Scribners, 1973.
REF CB 5 .D52 V.1-5 Substantial articles on philosophical, social, cultural and political terms such as “death,” “conservation,” “mind/body problem” and “evil.” Begin with the detailed index in volume 5.
William, Raymond. Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. New York: Oxford, 1985.
REF PE 1580 .W58 Definition and discussion of over 150 English words of cultural significance. Words such as “democracy,” “race,” “unconscious” and “status” are included in alphabetical order.
Barnet, Sylvan. A Short Guide to Writing about Art. 4th ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.
Derrida, Jacques. The Truth in Painting. Trans. G. Bennington and I. MacLeod. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.
Gibaldi, Joseph, and Walter S. Achtert. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 2nd ed. New York: Modern Languages Association, 1984.
Holt, Nancy, ed. The Writings of Robert Smithson. New York: New York University Press, 1979.
Norman, Colin. Writing Essays. Kingston: Department of English, Queen’s University, 1985.
Northey, Margot. Making Sense: A Student’s Guide to Writing and Style. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1983.
Important Moments in Canadian History
Compiled by Dr. Robert Belton
Note: Dates before 1497 are approximate.
Native peoples are living along the Eramosa River near what is now Guelph, Ontario.
The Sto:lo people are living alongside the Fraser River near what is now Mission, B.C. (Some say they may have been as early as 9000 B.C.)
Native peoples have spread into what is now Northern Ontario and Southeastern Québec.
Inuit peoples begin to move into what is now the Northwest Territories.
Northwest Coast native peoples begin to flourish.
Leif (the Lucky) Ericsson visits Labrador and L’Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland.
During a voyage underwritten by Bristol merchants, John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto) claims Cape Breton Island or Newfoundland or Labrador for Henry VII of England (June 24).
Cabot makes a second voyage to North America.
Jacques Cartier visits the Strait of Belle Isle (Newfoundland), and charts the Gulf of St. Lawrence (landing in Gaspé, July 14). He takes two native Indians with him back to France.
Cartier sails up the St. Lawrence River to Stadacona (Québec) and Hochelaga (Montréal).
At the mouth of the Cap Rouge River, Cartier founds Charlesbourg-Royal, the first French settlement in America.
Charlesbourg-Royal is abandoned. Cartier meets the sieur de Roberval, who was officially part of the same expedition, in Newfoundland.
Martin Frobisher of England makes the first of three attempts to find a Northwest Passage, sailing as far as Hudson Strait. What he thought was gold discovered on his journey was later proven worthless.
King Henry IV of France grants a fur-trading monopoly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to a group of French merchants.
Samuel de Champlain and the sieur de Poutrincourt found Port Royal (Annapolis, N.S.).
Champlain founds Québec (July 3), creating in effect the first permanent European settlement.
Champlain supports the Algonquins against the Iroquois at Lake Champlain.
Etienne Brûlé goes to live among the Huron and eventually becomes the first European to see Lakes Ontario, Huron and Superior. Henry Hudson explores Hudson Bay in spite of a mutinous crew.
Louis Hébert, an apothecary who had stayed at Port Royal twice, brings his wife and children to Québec, thus becoming the first true habitant (permanent settler supporting his family from the soil).
Jesuits begin missionary work among the Indians in the Québec area. Jean de Brébeuf founds missions in Huronia, near Georgian Bay.
The Company of One Hundred Associates (a.k.a. the Company of New France) is given a fur monopoly and title to all lands claimed by New France (April 29). In exchange, they are to establish a French colony of 4000 by 1643, which they fail to do.
The adventurer David Kirke takes Québec for Britain (July 19).
The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye returns Québec to France.
Kirke is knighted.
The Huron nation is reduced by half from European diseases (smallpox epidemic, 1639).
Kirke is named first governor of Newfoundland.
The sieur de Maisonneuve founds Montréal (May 18).
The Iroquois disperse the Huron nation.
The Jesuit father Jean de Brébeuf is martyred during Iroquois raids on the Hurons at St-Ignace (March 16).
François de Laval arrives in Québec as vicar general of the pope (June).
Adam Dollard des Ormeaux and about sixty others withstand an attack by over 500 Iroquois at Long Sault (May). It is traditionally said that the small party fights so well that the Iroquois decide not to attack Montréal.
Québec becomes a royal province. Laval organizes the Séminaire du Québec, a college of theology which eventually becomes Université Laval (1852).
Hans Bernhardt is the first recorded German immigrant.
Jean Talon becomes Québec’s first intendant (administrative officer overseeing agriculture, education, justice, trade, and the like). The Carignan-Salières regiment is sent from France to Québec to deal with the Iroquois.
The Carignan-Salières regiment destroys five Mohawk villages, eventually leading to peace between the Iroquois and the French.
The result of Canada’s first census is 3215 non-native inhabitants.
The Carignan-Salières regiment is recalled to France, but several hundred choose to remain behind, many in return for local seigneuries.
The Hudson’s Bay Company is founded by royal charter and, underwritten by a group of English merchants, is granted trade rights over Rupert’s Land — i.e., all territory draining into Hudson Bay (May 2).
Comte de Frontenac becomes governor general of New France, later quarrelling frequently with the intendant and the bishop.
Frontenac sends Marquette and Jolliet to explore the Missippi.
Laval becomes the first bishop of Québec.
De Troyes and D’Iberville capture three English posts on James Bay (June-July).
The Iroquois kill many French settlers at Lachine.
Sent by Massachusetts, Sir William Phips captures Port Royal (May 11). Frontenac repels Phips’ attack on Québec (October). These events are part of what is sometimes called King William’s War.
The Treaty of Ryswick assures that all captured territories in the struggle between England and France are returned.
Having begun in Europe in 1701, The War of the Spanish Succession spreads to North America (Queen Anne’s War) in Acadia and New England.
Francis Nicholson captures Port Royal for England.
The Treaty of Utrecht ends Queen Anne’s War, confirming British possession of Hudson Bay, Newfoundland and Acadia (except l’Ile- Royale [Cape Breton Island]). France starts building Fort Louisbourg near the eastern tip of l’Ile-Royale.
The Mississauga drive the Seneca Iroquois south of Lake Erie.
The La Vérendrye family organize expeditions beyond Lake Winnipeg and direct fur trade toward the east.
The Mandan Indians west of the Great Lakes begin to trade in horses descended from those brought to Texas by the Spanish. Itinerant Assiniboine Indians bring them from Mandan settlements to their own territories southwest of Lake Winnipeg.
Having begun in Europe in 1770, The War of the Austrian Succession spreads to North America (King George’s War).
Massachusetts Governor William Shirley takes the French fortress of Louisbourg.
Louisbourg and l’Ile-Royale are returned to France by the Treaty of Aix-La-Chapelle.
Britain founds Halifax to counter the French presence at Louisbourg.
The Ojibwa begin to emerge as a distinct tribal amalgamation of smaller independent bands. German immigrants begin to arrive in numbers at Halifax.
Canada’s first newspaper, the weekly Halifax Gazette, appears (March 23).
Beginning of the French and Indian War in America, though not officially declared for another two years.
Britain scatters the Nova Scotia Acadians throughout other North American colonies. The first post office opens in Halifax.
The Marquis de Montcalm assumes a troubled command of French troops in North America. (The Seven Year’s War between Britain and France begins in Europe).
Generals Jeffrey Amherst and James Wolfe take Louisbourg.
Wolfe takes Québec by defeating Montcalm on the Plains of Abraham (Sept. 13), but both generals are killed.
The British Conquest. General James Murray is appointed first British military governor of Québec.
France cedes its North American possessions to Britain by the Treaty of Paris. A royal proclamation imposes British institutions on Québec (Oct.). Western Cree and Assiniboine traders who had benefited from agreements with the French begin to lose profits to the British.
Murray becomes civil governor of Québec, but his attempts to appease French Canadians are disliked by British merchants.
Guy Carleton succeeds Murray as governor of Québec.
The Hudson’s Bay Company opens Cumberland House on the Saskatchewan.
Carleton’s recommendations are instituted in the Québec Act, which introduces British criminal law but retains French civil law and guarantees religious freedom for Roman Catholics. The Act’s geographical claims were so great that it helped precipitate the American Revolution.
The American Revolution begins. Americans under Richard Montgomery capture Montréal (Nov. 13) and attack Québec (Dec. 31), where Montgomery is killed.
Under Carleton, Québec withstands an American siege until the appearance of a British fleet (May 6). Carleton is later knighted.
On the last of three voyages to the west coast, Captain James Cook travels as far north as the Bering Strait and claims Nootka Sound, Vancouver Island for the British (Mar. 29-Apr.26).
In Montréal and Grand Portage (in present-day Minnesota), the North West Company is formed by a group of trading partners. The American revolutionary war ends. The border between Canada and the U.S. is accepted from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake of the Woods. In the area around the mouth of the Saint John River in Nova Scotia, thousands of United Empire Loyalists arrive to settle, with some heading on to Quebec. Loyalists are identified as those American colonists of British, Dutch, Irish, Scottish and other origins, and others who had remained loyal to their King during the American Revolution and were behind British lines by 1783. (Those who arrive after 1783 are called Late Loyalists.) Pennsylvania Germans begin moving into modern-day southwestern Ontario, then southwestern Québec. [Corrections here and below on the Loyalists were submitted by Bill Daverne, March 1999].
With the Loyalists swelling the northern Nova Scotia population, Nova Scotia is partitioned and the the province of New Brunswick is created. Thousands of Loyalists land in modern-day Ontario — then part of Québec — along the St. Lawrence River, the Bay of Quinte and at Niagara, establishing permanent settlements and the multicultural roots of modern-day Ontario.
The city of Saint John, N.B. is incorporated. Fredericton opens a Provincial Academy of Arts and Sciences, the germ of the University of New Brunswick (1859).
At the behest of the North West Company, Alexander Mackenzie journeys to the Beaufort Sea, following what would later be named the Mackenzie River.
With western Québec filling with English-speaking Loyalists, the Constitutional Act of 1791 divides Québec into Upper and Lower Canada (modern-day Ontario and Quebec).
George Vancouver begins exploration of the Pacific coast.
Mackenzie reaches the Pacific at Dean Channel.
An American diplomat, John Jay, oversees the signing of Jay’s Treaty (Nov. 19) between the U.S. and Britain. It promises British evacuation of the Ohio Valley forts and marks the beginning of international arbitration to settle boundary disputes.
York becomes the capital of Upper Canada.
Having worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company since 1784, David Thompson joins the North West Company as a surveyor and mapmaker, eventually surveying hundreds of thousands of square miles of western North America.
A new fur-trading company is formed to compete with the North West Company. Confusingly called the New North West Company, it is nicknamed the XY Company from the way it differentiates its bales from those of its competitor.
Mackenzie is knighted and becomes a member of the XY Company.
The XY Company is reorganized under Mackenzie’s name.
The XY Company is absorbed by the North West Company. The earliest Fraktur paintings appear in Lincoln county, Ontario.
Le canadien, a Québec nationalist newspaper, is founded.
Slavery is abolished in British colonies.
The U.S. declares war on Britain (June 18), beginning the War of 1812. Americans under General William Hull invade Canada from Detroit (July 11). Canadians are victorious at the Battle of Queenston Heights (Oct. 13). The Red River settlement is begun in Canada’s northwest (Aug.-Oct.) on lands granted to Lord Selkirk by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Americans burn York (Apr. 27). The Battles of Stoney Creek (June 5) and Beaver Dam (June 23) are Canadian victories, the latter in part due to Laura Secord’s famous 32 km. walk to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon, who had already been warned by Indians. The Battles of Put-in-Bay, Lake Erie (Sept. 10) and Moraviantown (Oct. 5) are both American victories. At the latter, which is also known as the Battle of the Thames, British supporter and Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh is killed. The Battles of Chateauguay (Oct. 25) — with mostly French-Canadian soldiers — and Crysler’s Farm (Nov. 11) — with English-Canadian soldiers — are Canadian both victories over larger American troops.
Victories alternate between U.S. and British forces until the Treaty of Ghent ends the war (Dec. 24).
After several years of harassment by agents of the North West Company, Métis and Indians under Cuthbert Grant kill Robert Semple, governor of the Red River settlement, and twenty others at Seven Oaks (June 19).
The Rush-Bagot agreement limits the number of battleships on the Great Lakes to a total of eight.
Canada’s border is defined as the 49th Parallel from Lake of the Woods to the Rocky Mountains.
The Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company amalgamate, creating unemployment for a substantial proportion of their Métis workforce.
The Lachine Canal is completed.
Louis-Joseph Papineau, a member of the legislative assembly since 1814, travels from Montréal to England to oppose an Act of Union identifying the French Canadians as a minority without language rights. The act is not passed in the British Parliament.
The first Welland Canal is completed, partly in response to American initiatives in the Erie Canal.
Royal engineer Col. John By builds the Rideau Canal.
York is renamed Toronto.
William Lyon Mackenzie becomes the first mayor of Toronto.
Joseph Howe, a Halifax printer and owner since 1828 of the weekly Novascotian, is arrested for libel but successfully argues his own case for freedom of the press. A local hero, he begins advocating the kind of responsible government that is only established in 1848.
Opening of Canada’s first railway line, from St. Johns, Québec, to La Prairie, Québec.
Along with a general feeling that the government was not democratic, the failure of the executive committee to maintain the confidence of the elected officials leads to violent but unsuccessful rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada. The leaders, W.L. Mackenzie (Reformers) and Louis-Joseph Papineau (Patriotes), both escape to the U.S.
As governor general and high commissioner of British North America, Lord Durham arrives to investigate the circumstances behind the Rebellion of 1837.
Lord Durham’s report recommends the establishment of responsible government and the union of Upper and Lower Canada to speed the assimilation of French-speaking Canadians. Territorial disputes between lumbermen from Maine and New Brunswick lead to armed conflict in the Aroostook River valley (the Aroostook War).
An Act of Union unites Upper and Lower Canada (Feb. 10) as the Province of Canada.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows breaks from the Manchester Unity, soon opening lodges in Montréal and Halifax.
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty ends the Aroostook War, settling once and for all the Maine-New Brunswick border dispute (Aug.).
Britain’s claim to Vancouver Island is assured by Fort Victoria.
Amnesty in Montréal provides for Papineau’s return.
The so-called Great Ministry of Robert Baldwin and Louis-H. Lafontaine outlines the principles of responsible government in the Canadas. The Maritimes are brought into the plan by Howe, then a reform-minded member of the House of Assembly.
The boundary of the 49th Parallel is extended to the Pacific Ocean. An Act of Amnesty provides for W.L. Mackenzie’s return from exile in the U.S.
The site of By’s headquarters during the construction of the Rideau Canal is incorporated as Bytown. Plains Indian culture is at its height, sustained by the use of horses and the exploitation of large game.
Britain transfers control of the colonial postal system to Canada.
Laval’s Séminaire du Québec founds Université Laval, North America’s oldest French Language university.
The Grand Trunk Railway receives its charter.
Canada and the U.S. sign a Reciprocity Treaty, ensuring reduction of customs duties (June 6).
Bytown is renamed Ottawa.
The Grand Trunk Railway opens its Toronto-Montréal line.
Queen Victoria designates Ottawa as capital of the Province of Canada.
The Halifax-Truro line begins rail service. Chinese immigrants from California arrive in British Columbia, attracted by the Fraser River Gold Rush.
The cornerstone of the Parliament buildings is laid (Sept. 1).
Howe becomes Premier of Nova Scotia.
Mount Allison University accepts the first woman student in Sackville, N.B.
Originally designed to discuss Maritime union, the Charlottetown Conference (Sept. 1-9) takes the first steps toward Confederation. The Québec Conference (Oct. 10-27) identifies the seventy-two resolutions that set out the basis for union.
The Fenians, a group of radical Irish-Americans organized in New York in 1859 to oppose British presence in Ireland, begin a series of raids on Canadian territory in the hopes of diverting British troops from the homeland. The most serious of these was the Battle of Ridgeway (June 2), which lent a special urgency to the Confederation movement. The London Conference (Dec. 4) passes resolutions which are redrafted as the British North America Act.
Confederation. Britain’s North American colonies are united by means of the BNA Act to become the Dominion of Canada (July 1). Sir John A. Macdonald is Canada’s first Prime Minister. Ottawa offically becomes capital of the Dominion.
Thomas D’Arcy McGee, one of the fathers of Confederation and an outspoken enemy of the Fenians, becomes Canada’s first assassination victim at the hands of a Fenian (Apr. 7).
Canada purchases Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company. Threatened by Canadian purchases of Hudson’s Bay territories, Louis Riel leads the Métis in occupying Fort Garry on the site of Winnipeg (Nov.).
Demand for leather goods leads to the destruction of northen bison herds, which in turn leads to the collapse of the western native economy.
The Red River Rebellion continues to resist Canadian authority in the northwest. A provisional government is declared (Jan.) but they were driven out by General Wolseley (Aug.) The Manitoba Act creates the province of Manitoba and quells the rebellion.
British Columbia joins confederation (July 20).
Prince Edward Island joins Confederation. A period of economic depression begins. The North-West Mounted Police are formed. Macdonald resigns over the Pacific Scandal (Nov. 5), which brought attention to huge campaign contributions made by Sir Hugh Allan in exchange for a charter to build the Canadian Pacific Railway. Alexander Mackenzie, a Liberal, becomes Canada’s second prime minister.
Riel is elected to the House of Commons but cannot take the seat (Feb.). Alexander Graham Bell discloses the invention of the telephone to his father at the family home on the outskirts of Brantford, Ontario (July 26). Anabaptists (Russian Mennonites) start to arrive in Manitoba from various Russian colonies.
Riel is granted amnesty with the condition that he be banished for five years. The Supreme Court of Canada is established. Bell’s first functioning telephone is demonstrated in Boston (June). Jennie Trout becomes the first woman licensed to practice medicine in Canada, although Emily Stowe has been doing so without a license in Toronto since 1867. Grace Lockhart receives from Mount Allison University the first Bachelor of Arts degree awarded to a woman.
The Intercolonial Railway, growing out of the Halifax-Truro line, links central Canada and the Maritimes (July 1). The world’s first long-distance phone call connects the Bell residence with a shoe and boot store in nearby Paris, Ontario (Aug. 10). The Toronto Women’s Literary CLub is founded as a front for the suffrage movement.
The provincial legislature creates the University of Manitoba, the oldest University in western Canada.
The Conservatives under Macdonald win federal election. Anti- Chinese sentiment in British Columbia reaches a high point as the government bans Chinese workers from public works.
Macdonald introduces protective tariffs, a transcontinental railway, and immigration to the west in his National Policy (Mar. 12).
Emily Stowe is finally granted a license to practice medicine in Toronto.
The Canadian Pacific Railway recruits thousands of underpaid Chinese Labourers.
Augusta Stowe, daughter of Emily, is the first woman to graduate from the Toronto Medical School. The Toronto Women’s Suffrage Association replaces the Literary Club of 1876.
Riel, who had become an American citizen in Montana in 1883 only to return to Canada in 1884, leads the North West Rebellion. The Métis are defeated at Batoche (May 2-9) and Riel is hanged in Regina (Nov. 16). The last spike of the transcontinental railway is put in place in the Eagle Pass, B.C. (Nov. 7).
The Liberals choose Wilfred Laurier as leader. The first provincial Premiers’ conference takes place in Québec City.
Manitoba Liberals under Thomas Greenway halt public finding of Catholic schools (Mar.). Isaac Shupe invents a curious sheet-metal clothing scrubber that automatically releases soap.
The National Council of Women of Canada is founded.
The Yukon is made into a provisional district separate from the Northwest territories.
The economic depression ends. Liberals under Laurier (the first French Canadian prime minister) win federal election partly on the Manitoba Schools Question, though his compromises are not instituted until 1897. Gold is discovered in the Klondike (Aug. 16).
L.T. Snow patents a simple mechanical meat grinder.
The Klondike Gold Rush is fully under way. The Yukon provisional district is identified as a Territory separate from the Northwest Territories. Doukhobours begin to settle in Saskatchewan.
The first Canadian troops sent overseas participate in the Boer War in South Africa (Oct. 30). Canada’s first woman lawyer is Clara Brett Martin.
Canadian-born Reginald Fessenden makes the first wireless radio broadcast near Washington, D.C. (Dec. 23), narrowly beating Marconi, who receives the first transatlantic radio message at St. John’s, Newfoundland, in the following year.
Canada loses the Alaska boundary dispute when British tribunal representative Lord Alverstone sides with the U.S. (Oct. 20). Silver is discovered in Northern Ontario. The first nude demonstrations of the Doukhobours take place near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, to protest governmental policy regarding individual ownership.
The Provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan are formed.
Sir Adam Beck creates the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario (May 7), the largest such company in Canada.
Peter Verigin, leader of the Doukhobours since his arrival in Canada in 1902, leads the extremist Sons of Freedom to British Columbia.
The Department of External Affairs is formed. The first Grey Cup is played. Canada’s first powered air flight takes place at Baddeck, N.S.
Laurier creates a Canadian navy the Naval Service Bill.
Robert Borden and the Conservatives win federal election, defeating Laurier on the issue of Reciprocity.
A botanist, Carrie Derrick, is Canada’s first woman professor, at McGill University.
The C.P. ship Empress of Ireland sinks in the St. Lawrence within fifteen minutes of a collision in dense fog. Over one thousand lives are lost (May 29). With nearly four hundred passengers on board, the Komagata Maru drops anchor in Burrard Inlet, sparking political manoeuvres intended to exclude unwanted Sikh immigrants (May-July). Britain declares war on Germany (Aug. 4), automatically drawing Canada into the conflict. The first Canadian troops leave for England (Oct. 3). Parliament passes the War Measures Act, allowing suspension of civil rights during periods of emergency.
In their first battle, the 1st Canadian Division face one of the first recorded chlorine gas attacks at Ypres, Belgium (Apr. 22). John McCrae writes “In Flanders’ Fields.” National Transcontinental, the eastern division of the Grand Trunk Railway, consolidates a line from Moncton to Winnipeg.
The Parliament buildings are destroyed by fire (Feb. 3). The 1st Canadian Division discovers that the Canadian-made Ross rifle (controversial since 1905) is unreliable in combat conditions. It is withdrawn from service and replaced by the British-made Lee- Enfield (Aug.). The National Research Council is established to promote scientific and industrial research. Female suffrage is first granted in Canada in Manitoba.
Income tax is introduced as a temporary wartime measure. Borden sits as a member of the Imperial War Cabinet (Feb. 23), giving Canada a voice in international war policy. The military service bill is introduced (June 11), leading to a conscription crisis dividing French and English Canada. A Union Government (a coalition of Liberals and Tories) under Borden wins in a federal election, in which all women of British origin are allowed to vote for the first time. Canadians capture Vimy Ridge, France (Apr. 9-12) and Passchendaele, Belgium (Nov. 6), in two of the war’s worst battles. The explosion of a munitions ship in Halifax harbour wipes out two square miles of Halifax, killing almost 2000 and injuring 9000 (Dec. 6). In Alberta, Louise McKinney becomes the first woman elected to a legislature in the British Commonwealth.
Canadians break through the German trenches at Amiens, France (Aug. 8), beginning “Canada’s Hundred Days.” Armistice ends the war (Nov. 11). Imprisoned in South Dakota for pacificism, Hutterites flee northward into the Prairie provinces.
Grand Trunk Pacific, the western division of the Grand Trunk Railway, consolidates a line from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert. The Canadian National Railways is created as a crown corporation to acquire and further consolidate these smaller lines. The first successful transatlanctic flight leaves St. John’s, Nfld. (June 14). Beginning in the metals and buildings trades as a call for union recognition, a general strike expands until it paralyzes Winnipeg (May 19-June 26). An armed charge by the RCMP on Bloody Saturday kills one and injures thirty (June 21). James Shaver Woodsworth and others were charged with seditious conspiracy. The federal government passes a Technical Education act.
Canada joins the League of Nations at its inception. The Progressive Party is formed by T. A. Crerar to obtain law tariffs for western farmers.
Mackenzie King and the Liberals win federal election. Agnes Macphail becomes the first woman elected to Parliament, then representing the Progressive Party (which came in second and held the balance of power despite refusals to form an official opposition). Woodsworth becomes the first socialist elected to the House of Commons. The Bluenose is launched at Lunenburg, N.S. (Mar. 26). Colonial Motors of Walkerville, Ontario manufactures an automobile called the Canadian.
The Canadian Northern and Canadian Transcontinental Railways merge to form the Canadian National Railways. Canada’s reveals a growing independence by not going to Britain’s aid in the Chanak crisis in Turkey. Banting, Best, MacLeod, and Collip share the Nobel Prize for the discovery of insulin. Foster Hewitt makes the first hockey broadcast. A Provincial Franchise Committee is organized in Québec to work towards female suffrage in the province. Of the other provinces, only Newfoundland has not yet given women the vote.
A feeling of independence continues to grow. Canada signs the Halibut Treaty with the U.S. without the traditional British signature. Mackenzie King leads the opposition to a common imperial policy at the Imperial Conference in London. Always heavily subsidized, the Grand Trunk Railway is finally taken over by the government. The federal government more or less forbids Chinese immigration on Dominion Day, soon to be called “Humiliation Day” by Chinese-Canadians.
Newfoundland women receive the right to vote.
The Balfour Report defines British dominions as autonomous and equal in status (Nov. 18).
Britain’s Privy Council awards Labrador to Newfoundland instead of Québec (Mar. 1). The first coast-to-coast radio network broadcast celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Confederation.
The Supreme Court of Canada rules that the BNA Act does not define women as “persons” and are therefore not eligible to hold public office.
The British Privy Council reverses the Supreme Court decision of 1928, and women are legally declared “persons” (Oct. 18). The Great Depression begins. the Workers’ Unity League is formed.
The Conservatives under R.B. Bennett win federal election. Jean de Brébeuf and other Jesuit martyrs are officially canonized. Canada’s first woman senator is Cairine Wilson.
The Statute of Westminster (Dec. 11) authorizes the Balfour Report (1926), granting Canada full legislative authority in both internal and external affairs. The Governor General becomes a representative of the Crown.
The Ottawa Agreements provide for preferential trade between Canada and other Commonwealth nations. Woodsworth plays a role in forming a democratic socialist political party, the Co-Operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Calgary. Bennett’s government establishes militaristic and repressive Relief Camps to cope with the problem of unemployed single men. Doukhobours add the burning of farm buildings to their protest techniques.
The Bank of Canada is formed. The birth of the Dionne quintuplets attracts international media attention.
Inspired in part by the Workers’ Unity League, about one thousand unemployed and disillusioned men from all over the western provinces begin a mass march, usually called the On-to-Ottawa trek, to confront Bennett over the Relief Camps (June 3-July 1). In an attempt to remove a corrupt Liberal administration, Maurice Duplessis, a Québec Conservative, allies with a splinter group of Liberals under Paul Gouin to form the Union nationale.
Driven by the reformist Union nationale, Duplessis manages to oust Gouin and becomes Premier of Québec.
The Rowell-Sirois Commission is appointed to investigate the financial relationship between the federal government and the provinces. Trans Canada Air Lines begins regular flights (Sept. 1).
Meeting Mackenzie King in Kingston, Franklin D. Roosevelt is the first U.S. president to make an official visit to Canada. The Workers’ Unity League helps to organize the Vancouver Sit-ins in which Relief Camp workers and others occupied the Vancouver Post Office and some other public buildings. The protest was peaceful until the police extracted the men by force on Bloody Sunday (June 19), when 35 people were wounded.
Canada declares war on Germany (Sept. 10) after remaining neutral for a week following the British declaration. Premier Duplessis opposes Québec’s participation but is defeated by the Liberals on the issue (Oct. 26).
The Unemployment Insurance Commission is introduced. Canada and the U.S. form a Permanent Joint Defense Board. Parliament passes the controversial National Resources Mobilization Act (June), which allows conscription for military service only within Canada. Despite provincial disagreement, some of the financial recommendations of the Rowell-Sirois commission — especially those relating to a minimum national standard of services — are implicitly and unilaterally adopted by Ottawa. Idola Saint-Jean and other early feminists finally succeed in obtaining the vote for Québecois women.
Hong Kong falls to the Japanese and Canadians are taken as POW’s. The U.S. enters the war due to Japanese aggression. Together, the incidents lead to racial intolerance in Canada.
About 22000 Canadians of Japanese descent are stripped of non- portable possessions, interned and evacuated as security risks (Feb. 26). A national plebiscite approves amendment of the National Resources Mobilization Act to permit sending conscripts overseas (Apr. 27), once again revealing deep divisions between Québec and English Canada. The Dieppe raid (Aug. 19), Canada’s first participation in the European theatre, is a disaster.
Canadians participate in the invasion of Sicily (July 10) and win the Battle of Ortona, a German stronghold on the Adriatic (Dec. 20- 28).
Canadian troops push further than other allied units on D-Day (June 6). Canadian forces fight as a separate army (July 23). The Family Allowance Act is passed (Aug.). The CCF under Tommy Douglas wins the provincial election in Saskatchewan, forming the first socialist government in North America.
European hostilities end (May 5). The first family allowance (“baby-bonus”) payments are made (June 20). Canada joins the United Nations (June 26). Hostilities in the Pacific basin end (Sep. 2). Igor Gouzenko defects from the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa (Sept. 5) and reveals the existence in Canada of a Soviet spy network. Canada’s first nuclear reactor goes on line in Chalk River, Ontario.
1948 Louis St. Laurent succeeds Mackenzie King as prime minister (November 15).
1949 Joey Smallwood brings Newfoundland into Confederation (March 31). Canada joins NATO. Canada’s Supreme Court replaces Britain’s judicial committee as the final court of appeal.
1950 Volunteers in the Canadian Army Special Force join the United Nations forces in the Korean War.
1951 Census shows Canada’s population as just over fourteen million. The Massey Royal Commission reports that Canadian cultural life is dominated by American influences. Recommendations include improving grants to universities and the eventual establishment of the Canada Council (1957).
1952 Vincent Massey becomes the first Native born governor general. Canada’s first television stations begin part time broadcasts in Montréal and Toronto (September).
1953 The National Library is established in Ottawa (January 1). The Stratford Festival opens (July 13). The Korean War ends (July 27).
1954 The post war boom is briefly interrupted by an economic slump. The first Canadian subway opens in Toronto (March 30). Viewers of the British Empire games in Vancouver see two runners break the four-minute mile in the same race. Marilyn Bell is the first person to swim across Lake Ontario (September 9). Hurricane Hazel kills eighty-three people in Ontario (October 15).
1955 The Canadian Labour Congress is formed. Riots in Montréal are caused by the suspension of hockey star Rocket Richard (March 17).
1956 The Liberals use closure to limit the Pipeline Debate, which begins with concern over the funding of the natural gas industry and ends in controversy over proper parliamentary procedure (May 8–June 6). The action contributes directly to their electoral defeat (after twenty-two years in power) the following year.
1957 John Diefenbaker and the Conservatives win a minority government (June 10). Ellen Fairclough becomes the first female federal cabinet minister. The Canada Council is formed to foster Canadian cultural uniqueness. Lester B. Pearson wins the Nobel Peace Prize for helping resolve the Suez Crisis (October 12).
1958 Diefenbaker’s minority becomes the largest majority ever obtained in a federal election (March 31). A coal mine disaster at Springhill, Nova Scotia kills seventy-four miners.
1959 Diefenbaker cancels the Avro Arrow project (CF 105 aircraft) to public outcry. Almost 14,000 jobs are lost (February 20). The St. Lawrence Seaway opens (June 26).
1960 Liberals under Jean Lesage win the provincial election in Québec (June 22), inaugurating the Quiet Revolution, which pressed for special status for Québec within Confederation. A Canadian Bill of Rights is approved. Native people win the right to vote in federal elections.
1961 The New Democratic Party replaces the CCF.
1962 The Conservatives are returned to minority status in a federal election (June 18). Socialized medicine is introduced in Saskatchewan (July 1), leading to a doctors’ strike. The Trans Canada Highway opens (September 3). Canada becomes the third nation in space with the launch of the satellite Alouette I (September 29). Canada’s last executions take place in Toronto (December 11).
1963 The Liberals under Lester B. Pearson win a minority government (April 8). The separatist Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) sets off bombs in Montréal (April–May). A TCA flight crashes in Québec, killing 118 (November 29).
1964 Canadians get social insurance cards (April) Northern Dancer is the first Canadian horse to win the Kentucky Derby.
1965 Canada and the United States sign the Auto Pact (January). The new flag is inaugurated (February 15). Roman Catholic churches begin to celebrate masses in English (March 7). The Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario inadvertently causes a major power blackout in North America (November 9).
1966 The Munsinger affair (in which the associate minister of national defence, Pierre Sévigny, had a liaison with a German divorcée suspected by the RCMP of being a prostitute and a security risk) becomes Canada’s first political sex scandal (March 4). The Canada Pension Plan is established. The CBC introduces some colour broadcasts (October 1).
1967 The air force, army, and navy are unified as the Canadian Armed Forces (April 25). World attention turns to Expo 67 in Montréal (April 27). Centennial celebrations officially begin (July 1). French President Charles de Gaulle says “Vive le Québec libre” in Montréal (July 24).
Pierre Trudeau succeeds Pearson as leader of the Liberals and wins a majority in a federal election (June 25) in an atmosphere like a media circus. A Royal Commission on the Status of Women is appointed. Canadian divorce laws are reformed.
Postal reforms end Saturday deliveries (Feb. 1). Abortion laws are liberalized (May). English and French are both recognized as offical languages by the federal government (July 9). The breathalizer is put into use to test for drunken drivers (Dec. 1).
British trade commissioner James Cross is kidnapped by the FLQ (Oct. 5), precipitating the October Crisis. Québec’s labour and immigration minister Pierre Laporte is kidnapped (Oct. 10) and later found murdered. The War Measures Act is invoked (Oct. 16), banning the FLQ and leading eventually to nearly 500 arrests.
The federal government officially adopts a policy of multiculturalism. Gerhard Herzberg of the National Research Council wins the Nobel Prize in chemistry for studies of smog.
Canada wins the first hockey challenge against the Soviets. Trudeau’s Liberals win a minority government by only two seats.
The House of Commons criticizes U.S. bombing of North Vietnam (Jan. 5). Henry Morgentaler is acquitted of illegal abortion charges in Montréal (Nov. 13). The separatist Parti Québecois becomes the official opposition in a provincial election.
The Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario changes its name to Ontario Hydro and begins to update its image (Mar. 4). Mikhail Baryshnikov defects in Montréal (June 29). Trudeau’s Liberals win a majority government (July 8).
Toronto’s CN Tower becomes the world’s tallest free-standing structure (Apr. 2). The Foreign Investment Review Agency intends to screen foreign investment in Canada (July 18). TV cameras are allowed in the House of Commons for the first time. Trudeau institutes wage and price controls to fight inflation (Oct. 14).
Canada announces a 200-mile coastal fishing zone (June 4). The death penalty is abolished (July 14). The Olympic games are held in Montréal (July 17-31) under tight security. Team Canada wins the first Canada Cup (Sept. 15). René Lévesque and the Parti Québecois win a provincial election (Nov. 15). The Eaton Company discontinues catalogue sales after 92 continuous years.
Québec passes Bill 101, restricting English schooling to children of parents who had been educated in English schools (Aug. 26). Highway signs are changed to the metric system (Sept. 6).
The remains of a Soviet nuclear-powered satellite crash in Canada’s north (Jan. 24). Manufacturers of birth control pills are required to provide labels of health risks for smokers and women over forty. Sun Life Assurance acknowledges that it moved its head office to Toronto because of Montréal’s language laws and political instability.
Conservatives under Joe Clark win a federal election (May 22). The first uniquely Canadian gold bullion coin, stamped with a Maple Leaf, goes on sale (Sept. 5). Most of Mississauga, Ontario is evacuated to avoid derailed train cars containing chemicals (Nov. 10). The Supreme Court of Canada declares unconstitutional the creation of officially unlilingual legislatures in Manitoba and Québec (Dec. 13). Clark’s Conservatives lose a non-confidence vote on the budget (Dec. 13), forcing their resignation.
Ken Taylor, Canadian ambassador to Iran, becomes an international celebrity for helping six Americans escape Tehran (Jan. 28). Canada boycotts Moscow’s Olympic games due to the invasion of Afghanistan. A Québec referendum rejects sovereignty-association (May 22). “O Canada” is offically adopted as Canada’s national anthem (June 27). The Supreme Court recognizes the equal distribution of assets in failed common-law relationships.
Terry Fox dies of cancer in the middle of his cross-Canada Marathon of Hope (June 29). His example eventually raises about 25 million dollars. Québec bans public signs in English (Sept. 23). The federal and provincial governments (except Québec) agree on a method to repatriate Canada’s constitution (Nov. 5).
The offshore oil rig Ocean Ranger sinks, killing 84 (Feb. 15). Bertha Wilson is the first woman appointed as a Justice of the Supreme Court (Mar. 4). The Québec government demand for a veto over constitutional change is rejected (Apr. 7). Canada gains a new Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Apr. 17). The worst recession since the Great Depression begins.
Pay TV begins operation (Feb. 1). Public outcry opposes the government’s approval of U.S. cruise missile testing in the west. Jeanne Sauvé is appointed the first female Governor General (Dec. 23).
John Turner succeeds Trudeau as Liberal prime minister (June 30) but is soon defeated by Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives with an even larger majority than that achieved by Diefenbaker in 1958 (Sept. 4). The Pope visits Canada (Sept. 9-20). Hitching a ride on the U.S. shuttle Challenger, Marc Garneau becomes the first Canadian in space (Oct. 5).
U.S. ice-breaker Polar Sea challenges Canada’s Arctic sovereignty by travelling through the Northwest Passage. Mulroney and U.S. president Ronald Reagan declare mutual support for orbital Strategic Defense Initiatives (Star Wars) and Free Trade at the Shamrock Summit (so-named for their ethnic backgrounds) in Québec City (Dec. 2). Ontario Liberals under David Peterson end forty years of Conservative Premiership. Lincoln Alexander becomes Ontario’s first black lieutenant-governor.
The Canadian dollar hits an all-time low of 70.2 U.S. cents on international money markets (Jan. 31). Expo ’86 opens in Vancouver (May 2-Oct. 13). The U.S. imposes tariffs on some imported Canadian wood products (May 22). Canada adopts sanctions against South Africa for its apartheid policies (Aug. 5). Tamil refugees are found drifting off the coast of Newfoundland (Aug. 11). Canada receives a United Nations award for sheltering world refugees (Oct. 6). Canadian John Polanyi shares the Nobel prize for chemistry.
Mulroney and the provincial Premiers agree in principle to the Meech Lake Accord designed to bring Québec into the new Constitution (Apr. 30). A tornado rips through Edmonton, killing 26 and injuring hundreds (July 20). Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson sets a new world record (Aug. 30) for the 100-metre dash. The Canada- U.S. Free Trade agreement is reached (Oct. 3), but still requires ratification. Stock prices tumble throughout the world (Oct. 19).
The Supreme Court strikes down existing legislation against abortion as unconstitutional (Jan. 28). The Winter Olympics open in Calgary (Feb. 13). David See-Chai Lam, born in Hong Kong, becomes British Columbia’s lieutenant-governor (Sept. 9). Ben Johnson sets a world record and wins the gold medal at the Seoul Olympics in Korea (Sept. 24). Testing positive for steroids, he is stripped of his medal two days later. The Supreme Court strikes down Québec’s French-only sign law (Dec. 15). Finding a loophole (the “notwithstanding” clause) in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the province reinstates the law (Dec. 21). Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon slows the ratification of the Meech Lake Accord in reaction to Québec’s move. Free Trade legislation passes the House of Commons and the Senate (Dec.).
Free Trade goes into effect (Jan 1). Heather Erxleben becomes Canada’s first acknowledged female combat soldier. One-dollar bills are replaced by the one-dollar coin, popularly called the “loonie.” The government announces cuts in the funding of VIA Rail, to much public outcry (June 5). The first woman to lead a federal political party, Audrey McLaughlin replaces Ed Broadbent as head of the NDP (Dec. 2). Fourteen female engineering students are separated from their male colleagues and murdered by a gunman at the University of Montréal (Dec. 6).
Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells further slows down the signing of the Meech Lake Accord, but a native member of the Manitoba legislative, Elijah Harper, deals it the fatal blow with his absolute refusal to accept Québec as Canada’s principal, if not only, “distinct society” (June 22). One of the many responses is the formation of the Bloc Québecois by a handful of disenchanted politicians (July 25). Bob Rae upsets David Peterson and, with a surprising majority, becomes Ontario’s first NDP Premier (Sept.). Despite the Liberals’ sometimes peculiar stalling tactics, the Senate passes the unpopular Goods and Services Tax (Dec.). A recession is officially announced.
The unpopular Goods and Services Tax comes into effect (Jan. 1). Canadian forces join the multinational forces in the battle to drive Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi troops from Kuwait (Jan. 15). British Columbia premier Bill Van Der Zalm resigns in the midst of a real estate scandal. George Erasmus, leader of the Assembly of First Nations, resigns at the end of his second term (May); he is succeeded by Ovide Mercredi, whose popularity earns him the nickname of “eleventh premier.” Yet another committee crosses the country soliciting citizens’ opinions on proposed constitutional reforms. David Schindler of the University of Alberta wins the first international Stockholm Water Prize for environmental research. In a Brantford, Ontario courtroom, a Six Nations man is the first to be allowed to make a traditional native oath instead of swearing on the Bible (Nov.). The Tungavik sign an agreement with Ottawa to create a new, quasi-independent Inuit territory in the eastern Arctic.
The Miss Canada pageant is scrapped. Roberta Bondar is Canada’s first female astronaut in orbit. Ontario lawyers vote no longer to swear an oath to the Queen (Jan.). Canada is the first country to sign the international bio-diversity convention at the Earth Summit in Brazil (June). Although the players are all American, the Toronto Blue Jays become the first nominally Canadian team to win baseball’s World Series. Canadians vote “no” in a referendum seeking popular support for the Charlottetown Agreement, intended as a corrective to the Canadian Constitution in the wake of the failed Meech Lake Accord (Oct. 26).
Catherine Callbeck becomes the first woman Premier, in Prince Edward Island. Environmental activists cause minor damage to government buildings in Victoria, B.C., during a demonstration (Mar.). Kim Campbell replaces Brian Mulroney as the head of the Progressive Conservatives, becoming Canada’s first woman Prime Minister (June). Part of northwest B.C. is set aside as a world heritage conservation site. Protesters block loggers’ access to ancient forests near Clayoquot Sound (July-Aug.). The Toronto Blue Jays win the World Series for the second year in a row (Oct. 23). Liberal leader Jean Chrétien is elected in a landslide victory, with Lucien Bouchard’s Bloc Québecois and Preston Manning’s Reform Party only one seat apart in distant second and third places (Oct. 25). The Progressive Conservatives, in power for nine years, are reduced to a mere two seats — less than is required to be considered an official party.
The Canadian pilot of a Korean airliner that crashed is arrested for endangering the lives of his passengers. Cigarette taxes are lowered in an attempt to reduce smuggling. Trade barriers between provinces are reduced. The Inuit of Northern Québec arrange for self-government. The Parti Québecois win a narrow majority.
The Canadian Airborne Regiment is disbanded in the midst of public outcries over hazing. The East is embroiled in fishing disputes. The provincial government of Newfoundland takes control of its schools from the church. Premier Jacques Parizeau explains the narrow failure of a Québec sovereignty referendum with some ill-advised remarks regarding non-francophones; he is soon replaced by Lucien Bouchard. The Québec Cree and Inuit peoples hold their own referenda and reject separation from Canada. Alexa McDonough is elected leader of the federal NDP (Oct.) An intruder breaks into the Prime Minister’s residence (Nov.).
Huge spending cuts are initiated in most provinces. A major land-claim agreement is made with the Nisg’a of B.C. The two-dollar coin is unveiled (Feb.). Mike Harcourt, plagued by allegations that fundraisers diverted charity funds to the NDP, is succeeded by Glen Clark as Premier of B.C. The Somalia inquiry is underway. Federal legislation attempts to ban discrimination against homosexuals. The Chicoutimi region of Québec is hit by major flooding. A major international AIDS conference is held in Vancouver (July).
A thirteen kilometre bridge connecting Prince Edward Island to the mainland is opened. Massive flooding approaches Winnipeg (May). Disputes over salmon fishing lead to tension between the U.S. and Canada in the Pacific Northwest. Ontario teachers stage a huge walkout to protest unpopular policies of the Mike Harris government. A murder in Victoria draws attention to growing violence among teenaged girls (Nov.). The Supreme Court rules that natives’ oral history is legitimate in making land claims in B.C. (Dec.).
A powerful ice storm paralyzes huge portions of Québec and Ontario. The federal government issues a formal apology to native peoples for past injustices like the residential school system (Jan.). Native loggers protest restrictions in the forests of New Brunswick (Apr.). Controversy surrounds the Nisga’a treaty, including some measure of self-government. A Human Rights Tribunal concludes that the Public Service Alliance of Canada has a right to call for pay equity (Jul.). The value of the Canadian dollar declines precipitously (Aug.). A Swissair MD-11 crashes into the sea off Peggy’s Cove, N.S., killing 229 people (Sep.).
Several successive waves of illegal immigrants arrive on the shores of B.C. (Aug.) In the B.C. interior, native peoples log in defiance of government authorities; on the east coast, native peoples fish in defiance of government authorities (Sep.).
Controversy rages about financial mismanagement of billions of dollars of public grants (Feb.).
Important Moments in Canadian Art History
Complied by Dr. Robert J. Belton
Note: Dates before 1497 are approximate.
Unknown natives make petroglyphs in what is now the northwest portion of Ontario.
A Sto:lo pit house is erected alongside the Fraser River near what is now Mission, B.C.
Unknown natives carve a human face into the surface of a rock at Coteau-du-lac in what is now the southwest corner of Québec.
A Pre-Dorset Inuit people moves through the Bering Strait into what is now the Northwest Territories, bringing a visual culture of simple projectile points and the like.
Ancestors of the Northwest Coast Indians begin to develop totem poles. The Marpole Indian culture flourishes in the vicinity of what is now the Fraser River Delta, producing a wide variety of ceremonial craft objects.
The Sechelt image is made by prehistoric inhabitants of British Columbia (possibly as late as 500 A.D.).
The Dorset Inuit culture begins to produce a distinct visual culture (although the Tyara maskette from Sugluk Island may have been made as early as 700 B.C.).
Ancestors of the Iroquoian people produce decorated pottery, pipes, and other artifacts.
The first European architecture in what later becomes Canada consists of crude constructions in stone, earth and timber at l’Anse-aux-Meadows.
The Thule Inuit culture spreads across most of the Canadian Arctic, producing many decorated utensils influenced by Alaskan cultures.
In Venice, Giovanni Ramusio publishes the earliest illustration of Canada.
John White makes some paintings of the Inuit encountered on Frobisher’s expeditions.
Champlain makes occasional drawings, some of which are later interpreted as prints for his collected works (published 1922- 36).
Champlain’s residence in Québec illustrates how the form of early buildings is determined jointly by environmental conditions and dependency on French vernacular building.
Nova Scotia is granted its first official coat of arms (superseded in 1868 and 1929).
In Nova Scotia, Sir William Alexander, earl of Stirling, is the first to use the beaver as a visual emblem.
Newfoundland’s coat of arms is officially granted.
The Iroquois are the first Canadian natives to use wampum belts for messages — a practice first recorded among the Susquehannock in Pennsylvania in 1620 — and European glass beads on patterned clothing, instead of the traditional natural materials.
The Ursuline convent in Québec (established in 1639, but without a building until now) may have initiated the exchange of decorative techniques with Indian craftswomen.
The sieur de Maisonneuve’s Point-à-Callières fort, Montréal.
The earliest French-Canadian pottery is built in Québec.
The first coins struck for use in Canada are produced in Paris.
Frère Luc brings some aspects of French Baroque to Canada.
Intendant Jean Talon commissions sculptures for a ship under construction, initiating a steady stream of visits by French sculptors. The soon-to-be abbé Jean Guyon begins painting, making him probably the first native-born painter. La Mère des Anges, soon to be known as a maker of bas-reliefs for altars, arrives in Québec.
Claude Baillif’s Notre-Dame in Québec is one of the earliest examples of a provincial Baroque building style.
Tradition has it that Bishop Laval established the first school of arts and crafts at St Joachim. The current consensus insists this is apocryphal.
The first non-native public art, a bust of Louis XIV, appears in Québec.
Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Chapel provides a focal point for Québec’s growing commercial quarter, mostly designed by civil engineers Claude Baillif, Chaussegros de Léry, and Levasseur de Léry.
The Kebeca Liberata medal is minted to celebrate Frontenac’s defence of Québec, marking the first French-Canadian use of the beaver as a visual emblem. It represents a wild, but industrious Canada at the feet of an allegory of France. Carvers begin what is now the oldest extant sculptural ensemble in Canada, a baldachin originally designed for monsignor Saint-Vallier but now in Neuville, Québec.
Louis Hennepin publishes Nouveau voyage d’un pais plus grand que l’Europe, illustrating it with the first image of Niagara Falls. As a representation, it is considerably more trustworthy than any of the preceding illustrated books (Ramusio , Lescarbot , Cornut [1635-62], Du Creux , Nicolas ).
Pierre Le Ber assists in founding an alms-house in Montréal, possibly offering early art instruction.
Jean-Francois de Verville builds the huge fortress of Louisbourg along lines suggested by Sebastien Le Prestre de Vauban’s French fortifications.
Producing decorated drums and pipes of peace and war, the Abenaki Indians along the lower St. Lawrence begin to practice the Calumet Dance ritual (begun around 1660 by the Pawnee in what is now the American midwest).
Noël Levasseur’s altarpiece in Québec’s Ursuline Chapel intitiates a lengthy period of family success in sculpture.
The Naskapi Indians in northern Labrador begin to produce painted skins with ceremonial abstractions.
The James Bay Cree adopt a European fashion by slicing their parkas vertically up the front.
Jean Ferment produces the first locally-manufactured silver liturgical implements for an Acadian church.
Posted to the garrison in Halifax, Thomas Davies is one of the earliest topographic artists.
Although there had been a small printing press in Halifax since 1751, the first Canadian print actually produced for consumption as an image is Anthon Henrich’s vista of Halifax, published in the Nova Scotia Calendar.
The first print made without plans for publication in contemporary newspapers is James Peachey’s view of Montmorency Falls.
European textiles are incorporated into Algonkin and Huron sashes produced by the traditional finger-weaving technique, itself practiced well before the arrival of the French settlers. By now, eastern native peoples have adopted European architectural forms.
Upon his return from three years of study in France, François Baillargé sets up a studio in Québec, initiating a second great family dynasty of French-Canadian carvers.
Although Iroquoians have been in Canada since at least 1676, when they were in Caughnawaga, they now begin to settle in the Six Nations Lands set aside for them along the Grand River. There they continue to produce wampum belts and they begin to produce their famous False Faces.
Louis-Chrétien de Herr offers the earliest lessons in landscape painting in Montréal. The Halifax Chess, Pencil and Brush Club, the first Canadian organization to direct at least some of its energies to visual arts, is formed, operating until around 1817. Laurent Amiot, returning from studies in Paris, introduces neoclassical elements to Québec silversmithy. The first Ontario silver is produced by Jordan Post, a Loyalist in York.
American and British settlers begin to make distinctive Canadian quilts.
The publishers of the Quebec Magazine, Samuel and John Neilson, make the first wholehearted effort to establish an intaglio press in Canada.
English Canada’s earliest pottery is established. William Berczy settles near Markham, Ontario.
In Montréal, Jeanne-Charlotte Allamand is one of the first women on record as a teacher of art, among other things.
Pennsylvania Germans settling in Waterloo County in southwestern Ontario begin to produce regional variations of traditional Fraktur illuminations.
Robe and Hall’s Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, Québec is one of the earliest examples of a simplified Palladian architectural vocabulary.
The ritualistic visual cultures of the Thule Inuit in the Arctic and the Northwest Coast Indians in British Columbia are gradually eroded by souvenir exchanges with the white man.
George Heriot’s Travels Through the Canadas appears. An M. Smith opens an early art school in Halifax.
Robert Field arrives in Halifax. The Montagnais natives of Québec are among the first to replace traditional skins — increasingly rare because of the decimation of moose and caribou herds — with European textiles in clothing.
The first locally minted coins with Canadian designs begin to appear in Upper Canada, with a halfpenny commemorating Sir Isaac Brock.
Charles Torbett’s intaglio press in Halifax becomes popular enough to displace that of the Neilsons (1792).
In Québec, Joseph Légaré buys many of the European works brought to Canada by the abbé L.-J. Desjardins the previous year.
A Montréal newspaper, L’Abeille canadienne, is possibly the first Canadian publication to include commentaries on visual art.
The Red River Métis are so identified with their floral decorative style that the western Sioux tribes call them “Flower Beadwork People.” The Haida turn to European themes in their argillite carvings. Mary Love is one of the earliest Canadian-born artists to study abroad.
Swiss-born Peter Rindisbacher paints detailed watercolours of local life in the Red River Settlement.
Irish architect James O’Donnell introduces the Gothic Revival to Canada in his designs for Notre-Dame, Montréal.
Lithography is apparently available in Québec, but it was not successful until Tazewell (1831) and Scobie (1843). Other reproductive techniques begin to spell the doom of wood sculpture, for plaster statuary becomes increasingly popular when an Italian named Donati makes plaster copies of works by François Baillargé.
Military officers and civilians with interests in the liberal arts meet in Québec to found the Society for the Encouragement of Art and Science in Canada.
A stone monument is erected in Québec to commemorate Montcalm and Wolfe. The first coherent public decor — i.e., designed specifically for a given architectural setting — in begun in the interior of Notre-Dame, Montréal. The Society for the Encouragement of Science and Art gives Joseph Légaré the title of Canada’s first history painter. William Harris Jones begins to teach painting and drawing at Dalhousie College.
The Society for the Encouragement of Art and Science in Canada merges with the Literary and Historical Society of Québec. Elza Thrasher is recorded as an art teacher in Charlottetown.
A vernacular building technique based on balloon framing, the Red River Frame becomes an expedient system in lower Fort Garry. The Ojibwa Indians north of Lake Huron begin to practice the Calumet Dance, accompanying it with their own ritual artifacts. Having cultivated a taste for European silver as early as 1740, native groups find the supply dwindle with the deterioration of the fur trade. A few silversmiths in Montréal continue to produce items for the native market, and a few tribes south of the Great Lakes produce their own, but among Canadian tribes only the Ottawa take up silversmithy.
Canada’s first art exhibition is held in a garrison in Halifax. For her two views of New Brunswick, Mary Love is apparently the first artist in North America to draw directly onto a lithograph stone.
Samuel Tazewell introduces lithography without much success in Kingston. Thomas Barnett opens the first autonomous museum in Canada, a commercial collection of curiosities in Niagara falls. James Cooper’s St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Niagara-on- the-Lake is one of the earliest examples of Neoclassical building.
The Halifax Mechanics Institute, dedicated to the self-education of the working class, fosters some local interest in art.
Maria Morris Miller opens a drawing academy in Halifax.
The Society of Artists and Amateurs of Toronto is founded and holds a single exhibition. The Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste uses the maple leaf and an emblem.
In Saint John, Mary Hall issues her Views of British America, a set of lithographs paid for by subscription.
John George Howard builds Colborne Lodge in High Park, Toronto, an early example of the fashionable Picturesque style.
Anna Jameson travels in Upper Canada.
Légaré shows his collection in Québec.
Newspapers in Halifax, Québec and Toronto announce the invention of the daguerrotype in Europe.
The first photography studios are opened by Americans in Montréal and Québec. Capotes — coats made from striped Hudson’s Bay blankets — begin to replace skin coats.
Perhaps Canada’s first female photographer, a Mrs. Fletcher opens a portrait studio in Montréal.
Dr. Abraham Gesner opens a museum in Saint John, N.B. Coke Smyth’s Sketches in the Canadas and N.P. Willis’s Canadian Scenery from Drawings by W.H. Bartlett are both published in England. The Provincial Museum of New Brunswick opens in Saint John. The shop now known as the Roberts Gallery opens in Toronto.
Hugh Scobie introduces lithography in Toronto, with greater success than Tazewell (1831).
Andrew Morris designs allegories of Agriculture and Commerce for the legislative buildings in Montréal.
Toronto holds the first Upper Canada Provincial Exhibition.
Paul Kane travels as far west as Fort Vancouver, producing the many images that illustrate his later Wanderings…(1859), quite likely with the collaboration of his artist-wife Harriet Clench. Other artists and photographers will follow his lead into the landscape (F.G. Claudet, 1859; Hind, 1862; Gentile, 1864; Baltzly, 1871; Verner, 1872; etc.).
British architects Frank Wills and William Butterfield design Christ Church Cathedral for Fredericton, N.B., in a rationalizing variant of the Gothic revival style associated with the Ecclesiologists.
The Toronto Society of Arts and the Montréal Society of Arts are founded independently. Like many early organizations, these are intended principally as a means of generating commissions for artists.
In Toronto, Kane holds one of the first public solo exhibitions.
Cornelius Krieghoff settles in Québec. J.B. Walker publishes Canada’s first satirical newspaper, Punch in Canada, in Montréal. True stoneware is produced in Canada for the first time at Brantford, Ontario, although the raw materials used were purchased in the U.S.
Prefabricated cast-iron storefronts are manufactured in the U.S. and used in Canada for the first time on the commercial buildings along Granville St. in Halifax. Among the Métis and Plains Ojibwa, traditional quillwork is phased out in favour of beadwork and embroidery.
Sir Sandford Fleming revives the beaver emblem with his design for the first Canadian postage stamp. It is also the first such pictorial stamp in the world.
The first formal academic museums are opened at Université Laval in Montréal and the Canadian Institute in Toronto. In Toronto, John Allanson publishes the Anglo-American Magazine and Canadian Journal with views of nearby cities reproduced as woodcuts (a technique introduced there in 1849). The Upper Canada Provincial Exhibition established a special category for painters.
The Reverend G. C. Irving delivers a lecture on the principles of stereoscopy in Toronto.
The Weslayan Academy in Sackville, N.B., introduces its first classes in art and music especially for women.
T.C. Doane and E.J. Palmer receive honourable mentions for their daguerrotypes at the Paris Exposition. Two French sculptors bring plaster copies of academic sculpture to their short-lived ad hoc Académie des beaux-arts in Québec.
In Montréal, William Notman opens the first of his many influential photography studios. The firm of Hopkins, Lawford and Nelson, begun designs for the Kingston Customs House and the Kingston Post Office in a style called Italianate.
Egerton Ryerson opens his Canadian Educational Museum, filled with plaster casts and copies of European works of art, in the Toronto Normal School.
In Toronto, Sir Sandford Fleming and Sir Collingwood Schreiber build a conservatory-type building along the lines of Sir Joseph Paxton’s famous Crystal Palace. (It is moved to Exhibition Park in 1879.) Photographic Portfolio is published in Québec.
Kane’s Wanderings of an Artist Among the Indians of North America is published in England.
One of Canada’s earliest galleries, William Scott and Son., is founded in Toronto.
Fuller and Jones build the Library of Parliament, Ottawa, in the High Victorian Gothic style.
The Montréal Society of Arts is redeveloped into the Art Association of Montréal, but the majority of the early members are collectors interesting in displaying their possessions, rather than professional artists.
Hannah Maynard establishes a photography studio in Victoria, producing some unprecedented, fanciful images.
Beaux-arts appears briefly in Montréal.
A short-lived Canadian Journal of Photography appears in Toronto.
In Montréal, William Leggo patents Leggotype, a photoengraving process for image reproduction.
The main portion of the Parliament Buildings is completed in Ottawa. Susanna Moodie pays her bills by selling small flower paintings.
A short-lived Society of Canadian Artists is formed in Montréal.
The Nova Scotia Museum is opened in Halifax. Agnes Dunbar Chamberlain illustrates Catherine Parr Trail’s Canadian Wildflowers. The coats of arms of New Brunswick, Ontario, and Québec are officially granted (later revised in 1984, 1909, and 1939 respectively). Nova Scotia’s original coat of arms (1626) is replaced.
Editorial cartoons start to appear in the sister publications l’Opinion publique and Canadian Illustrated News. Some are reproduced in Leggotype (1865).
The gradual spread of mail-order catalogues initiates a decline in locally-produced pottery and crafts. Western native craftspeople, devastated by the extermination of bison, an economic mainstay, replace some traditional components in their artifacts with mass-produced materials (copper kettles, steel hatchets, etc.).
Joseph Chabert founds the Institut nationale in Montréal to offer instruction in arts and crafts. Frances Anne Hopkins shows sixteen works at the Art Association of Montréal, the largest showing of one woman’s work to date.
The first issue of the Canadian Eclectic Magazine of Foreign Literature, Science and Art appears in Toronto.
Henry Langley’s Toronto Post Office is one of the earliest examples of Second Empire style in Canadian building.
Montréal’s Society of Canadian Artists holds its last exhibition, even as a group of seven Toronto painters forms the Ontario Society of Artists. Perhaps the longest continously active such organization in Canada, the OSA adopts a more professional, artist-oriented attitude than that of the organizations of a generation or two earlier. However, the organization makes a point of excluding women. Canadian Monthly (later Canadian Magazine) begins its run (to 1939). Canadian Antiquarian and Numismatic Journal begins its run in Montréal (to 1933).
John Fraser organizes the first exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists in space owned by the Toronto Notman studio. J.W. Bengough begins publishing Grip, accompanying his own articles with editorial cartoons. Henri Julien, Canada’s first native-born cartoonist of note, starts submitting editorial cartoons to l’Opinion publique. Frederick Brigden Sr. opens the Toronto Engraving Company. The Governor General Awards, designed to recognize excellence in academic achievement, are the first such medallions to be produced on a regular basis.
Russian Mennonites bring their traditional visual culture to Manitoba.
The Ontario Society of Artists offers sporadic courses of instruction to both men and women. These eventually coalesce in the Ontario College of Art in 1911.
Belford’s Monthly Magazine of literature and art first appears in Toronto.
The first business block with elevator service (invented 1856), the five-story Equity Chambers is erected in Toronto.
The Art Association of Montréal begins annual exhibitions in the manner of the academic Parisian salons. It also begins to offer some courses of instruction.
The Massey-Harris factories in Toronto show the growing influence of vernacular industrial building.
Princess Louise and the marquis of Lorne create the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in Ottawa. Painter Lucius O’Brien becomes the first president. Artists donated a work as one of the conditions of membership, and the resulting collection was the beginning of the The National Gallery of Canada. The Arion, a journal of art, music, literature and drama, appears monthly in Toronto for one year.
Elizabeth Armstrong Forbes begins etching at Pont-Aven, France.
George Munroe Grant’s Picturesque Canada appears, with illustrations by art director Lucius O’Brien and other important artists of the day.
Robert Harris is commissioned to paint the Fathers of Confederation. Napoléon Bourassa becomes the first celebrated muralist with the decorations of his Notre-Dame-de- Lourdes.
The Québec Amateur Photographers’ Association is formed. Monde illustré first appears in Montréal. The Associated Artists’ School of Art and Design operates in Toronto.
William Cruikshank and others form the short-lived Association of Canadian Etchers. Captain James Peters implicitly opens the era of photojournaliam with pictures of the North West Rebellion.
The Toronto Art Students’ League is formed, both as a school and as a meeting place for working artists until 1904. It is not to be confused with the famous New York Art Students’ League (which does, however, have an impact on certain later Canadian artists, like Edmund Morris of the Canadian Art Club ). The Boorne and May photography studio opens in Calgary (but closes within seven years). The Québec Amateur Photographers’ Association disbands. The Montréal Amateur Photographic Club is formed. The Royal British Columbia Museum opens. Zwicker’s Gallery opens in Halifax.
The firm of Babb, Cook and Willard build Montréal’s first skyscraper (eight stories), the New York Life Insurance Co. on the Place d’armes. Canadian Architect and Builder begins its run (to 1895). Saturday Night begins publication. The Québec Camera Club is formed. The first meeting of the Photographic Section of the Canadian Institute takes place in Toronto. Anna Leonowens organizes an exhibition in Halifax which eventually leads to the creation of the Victoria School of Art and Design. A Women’s Art Club opens in Toronto.
William Van Horne becomes president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, distributing free passes to artists in exchange for promotional pictures of scenery visible from the trains. Boston based architect Bruce Price initiates the influential Château style with the Banff Springs Hotel designed for the CPR. The Toronto Amateur Photographic Association is organised (the same year that George Eastman starts to market the modern hand camera in the U.S.). Dominion Illustrated appears in Montréal.
The Ontario Association of Architects is founded. The first advertising agency to use graphic art on a regular basis is established in Montréal. Two American designers, James and James, use a structural steel skeleton in Canada for the first time in the old Board of Trade Building, Toronto. The Montréal Amateur Photographic Club disbands.
The Women’s Art Club of Toronto develops into the Women’s Art Association. The Women’s Art Society opens in Montréal. Paul Peel’s Venetian Bather is the first publicly exhibited nude in Toronto, and his well-known After the Bath wins a bronze medal at the Paris Salon. Louis-Philippe Hébert adds sculptural ornament with Canadian historical motifs to the facade of the Québec legislature. The first architectural professorship is created in the School of Practical Science in Toronto. The Province of Québec Association of Architects is founded (other such provincial organizations follow). The Ontario School of Art is reorganized as the Central Ontario School of Art and Design. The Montréal Camera Club is formed. E.J. Lennox begins his Romanesque revival with designs for the (Old) City Hall and the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. Canadian Queen: A Magazine of Fashion, Art, Literature, Etc. begins a two-year run in Toronto.
The Toronto Amateur Photographic Association is renamed the Toronto Camera Club and begins to hold exhibitions. Brigden’s Toronto Litho Co. produces the first colour lithographs for an election campaign. (Paul Kane had done one as early as 1856, but Brigden systematized the process.) Marmaduke Matthews, a watercolourist and photographic retoucher, turns a small farm on the edge of Toronto into an early artists’ co-op called Wychwood Park.
Members of the Toronto Art Students’ League begin publication of annual calendars with original Canadian drawings (until 1904). The Photographic Section of the Hamilton Scientific Association is formed. The Winnipeg Camera Club is formed (only to be reformed in 1898 and/or 1902). The arts journal Arcadia appears for a year in Montréal. A Women’s Art Club opens in London.
The Saint John Camera Club is formed. The Canadian Lantern Slide Exchange, emulating the American one founded in 1885, links photographers in Hamilton, Toronto, and Montréal. The Canadian Magazine of Politics, Science, Art and Literature and the Canadian Photographic Standard appear in Toronto.
Francis Mawson Rattenbury begins the B.C. Legislature Building in what he characterizes as a free classical style (completed 1912- 16).
The Owens Museum of Fine Arts in Sackville finds its first permanent headquarters. The Ottawa Camera Club is formed. Impressionist painter Laura Muntz Lyall is probably the first Canadian woman artist to be recognized in France with her participation in the exhibitions of the Société des artistes français.
The Robert Simpson Co. store opens in Toronto in 1894 but is destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1895 with a fireproofed frame of concrete-clad steel.
George W. Gouinlock’s Temple Building in Toronto is one of the last tall office buildings with a cast iron frame. The Bulletin des recherches historiques begins publication. The Revue de l’art publishes a single issue in Montréal. The Toronto Camera Club debates the admission of women as members, finally agreeing to a practice taken for granted by all other Canadian Camera Clubs. The Crescent Camera Club competes with the Saint John Camera Club, but ceases activity in less than a year.
The first full architecture department is created at McGill University. One of the very few such organizations in Canada, the Council of the Guild of Sculptors is formed. In Montréal, motion pictures are shown for the first time in Canada. The Québec Camera Club disbands. Tarot, an illustrated magazine dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement, fails after two issues. Our Monthly: A Magazine of Canadian Literature, Science and Art makes a brief appearance in Toronto. Mary Dignam arranges for sixteen women artists to hand-paint the Canadian State Dinner Service.
At his own expense, George Reid offers to paint murals — designed but rejected for economic reasons — for Toronto City Hall. Hannah Maynard becomes an official photographer for the Victoria Police Department. The Vancouver Camera Club is formed. The first Canadian motion pictures are James Freer’s films of Prairie farmers, initiating several years of successful productions aimed at encouraging immigration.
The Toronto Guild of Civic Art is established. The Little Billee Sketch Club is formed.
The Montréal Sketching Club is formed. The Mahlstick Club is formed. Henry Birks distributes silver works in an expanding commercial network across Canada. Victoria’s Sophie Pemberton is the first Canadian to receive the Prix Julian from Paris’s Académie Julian for her portraiture.
The Art Museum of Toronto is incorporated. The first reinforced concrete building in Toronto is erected at 60 Front St. W. Samuel Maclure beguns a thirty year series of domestic buildings in the Picturesque Tudor style.
Predating the Canada Council by half a century, Josephine Dandurand’s “Two Systems of Art” unsuccessfully proposes governmental funding of the arts.
The Winnipeg Art Society is formed. The Women’s Art Association opens a shop in Montréal to sell craft articles largely inspired by international art nouveau. The first Canadian comic strip, Raoul Barré’s “Pour un dîner de Noël,” appears in Montréal’s La Presse. Four members of the Toronto Art Students’ League found Carlton Studios, an innovative advertising and publishing firm, in England. The Toronto Camera Club exhibition marks the advent of pictorialism in Canada. In Toronto, John Stanley Plaskett delivers a lecture on colour photography.
The Vancouver Photographic Society is formed and joins the American Lantern Slide Exchange. Hiawatha becomes the first dramatic short subject film produced in Canada. Neith: A Magazine of Literature, Science, Art, Philosophy, Jurisprudence, Criticism, History, Reform, Economics first appears in St. John. Etincelle, a weekly journal with arts coverage, is as short-lived as its name.
The Ottawa Camera Club is reformed as the Photographic Art Club of Ottawa. Torontonian Sidney Carter is elected an Associate of Alfred Stieglitz’s influential Photo-Secession in New York. C.W. Jefferys and others form the Graphic Arts Club.
In emulation of the British pictorialist group called the Linked Ring (founded 1892), Sidney Carter forms the Toronto Studio Club to foster interest in pictorialist photography. Vie artistique appears briefly in Montréal. Manitoba and Prince Edward Island are officially granted their coats of arms.
The Canadian Pacific Railway constructs Canada’s largest railway viaduct over the Oldman River near Lethbridge.
The Montréal shop of the Women’s Art Association receives a charter as the Canadian Handicrafts Guild. The first art book published in Canada is a study of Dutch landscape painting by Montréal collector E.B. Greenshields. British Columbia and Sasketchewan are officially granted their coats of arms (excluding their current supporters and crests [1987 and 1986 respectively]).Canadian Guild of Crafts of Québec is formed in Montréal.
Edmond Morris and some of the more influential artists of his generation — Homer Watson, Horatio Walker, etc. — form the Canadian Art Club in Toronto. The National Gallery of Canada finds its first permanent headquarters. Alberta is officially granted its coat of arms (excluding its current supporters and crest ). North America’s first luxury cinema, the Ouimetoscope of L. Ernest Ouimet, opens in Montréal. The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada is founded in Ottawa. The Brandon Art Club is formed in Manitoba.
The Arts and Letters Club is founded in Toronto. C.W. Jeffreys illustrates David Boyle’s Uncle Jim’s Canadian Nursery Rhymes. It would have been the country’s first children’s book illustrated in colour, but it was printed in England and never distributed here. The Toronto Camera Club begins annual exhibitions at the Toronto Industrial Exhibition. The Art Association of Montréal gives the first Jessie Dow award to Helen G. McNicoll.
William and Edward Maxwell build the Saskatchewan Legislature Building in what is sometimes described as a Beaux-arts variation on English Baroque style.
The provincial architectural associations merge to become the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. The British Columbia Society of Artists is formed. An exhibition of recent French art is held at the Art Association of Montréal. The Nova Scotia Museum of Fine Arts finds its first permanent headquarters. Laura Muntz Lyall is the first woman asked to exhibit with the Canadian Art Club.
The Medalta Pottery is established at Medicine Hat. The National Gallery of Canada pays a then-astronomical $10,000 for Horatio Walker’s Oxen Drinking. Harold Mortimer-Lamb wins a plaque for a photograph submitted to the British Colonial Competition and is elected to the Royal Photographic Society of England. The Arts and Letters Club publishes Lamps sporadically until 1939.
Sir Henry Pellatt’s High Gothic fantasy Casa Loma begins its troubled history in Toronto. The core members of the later Group of Seven meet at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. A journal entitled Art and Photography is published in Toronto. The Ontario College of Art is formed in premises near the Art Gallery of Toronto.
The Art Gallery of Hamilton is founded. Emily Carr shows canvases inspired by French expressionism (Fauvism) in British Columbia. The Arts Club of Montréal is formed. David K. Brown and Hugh Vallance begin the University of Sasketchewan buildings in the Beaux-arts style. American sculptor Frances Loring moves from the U.S. to Toronto. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts finds its first permanent headquarters. The Winnipeg Art Gallery opens.
J.E.H.MacDonald and Lawren Harris are inspired by an exhibition of Scandinavian painting in Buffalo, N.Y. American sculptor Florence Wyle joins Loring in Toronto. Francis Sullivan’s Banff Pavilion (demolished 1939) capitalizes on the Prairie School style initiated by Frank Lloyd Wright. Works of two Canadian artists, the well-known David Milne and the relatively obscure Arthur Crisp, appear in the influential (and infamous) Armory Show in New York. Canadian expatriate James Wilson Morrice encounters Henri Matisse (whom he had known from c. 1909) in Tangier. The Arts Club of Montréal holds its first annual show. The Toronto Camera Club associates itself with the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. The rules preventing women members of the Royal Canadian Academy from attending business meetings and serving on the council are relaxed. The first Canadian feature film, Evangeline, is produced in Halifax.
For Lawren Harris and opthalmologist Dr. James MacCallum, Eden Smith designs the Studio Building in Toronto, which becomes the centre of Group of Seven activities. The facilities of the Art Museum of Toronto are made available to the Toronto Camera Club (perhaps marking the first institutional recognition of photography as an art form). The Kodak Canada Limited starts to publish Canadian Kodakery, directed at amateur photographers, but with precious little Canadian content. Ad-Viser is the first magazine in Toronto devoted to printing and advertising. The Architectural Institute of British Columbia opens in Vancouver. The Edmonton Art Association is founded. Emily Coonan receives the first National Gallery Travel Grant to study in Europe, but she is prevented from going for six years by the Great War and its aftermath.
Arthur Keillor produces many distinguished images for the War Poster Service.
The Association of Canadian Etchers, never a success, is succeeded by the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers. Lord Beaverbrook establishes the Canadian War Records Office, one of the mandates of which is to collect battle paintings and photographs. More than 80 international artists are so employed. William Ivor Castle is one of the first modern war photojournalists (although some of his images are fabrications). The Arts Club of Montréal holds an exhibition of recent French art. The Société des artistes du Québec is founded. The Art Gallery of Toronto finds its first permanent headquarters. Mary Hiester Reid becomes the first woman to serve on the executive council of the Ontario Society of Artists.
Tom Thomson drowns in Algonquin Park. The Ontario government opens a motion picture bureau.
The end of the war sees the beginning of a period of growth for commemorative monuments. Le Nigog, a journal of literature and art, begins a twelve-month run in Montréal. Terroir appears in Québec until 1940. Hutterites moving into the Prairie provinces bring a distinctive traditional visual culture.
War art is first publicly shown at the Canadian War Memorials Exhibition. Revue moderne begins its run (to 1960). The federal government’s Technical Education Act leads indirectly to the expansion of art education.
The first exhibition of the nationalistic Group of Seven takes place at the Art Gallery of Toronto. The British Columbia Art League is formed. The Outport Nursing Committee is founded in Newfoundland, enabling local women to exchange handicrafts for medical services. Henry Ivan Neilson forms the Québec Society of Artists. Provincial Secretary Athanase David helps found an Ecole des beaux-arts in Québec, which begins to offer systematic art instruction. Loring and Wyle join the Ontario Society of Artists. Marjorie Hill receives a Bachelor of Applied Science, making her the first female graduate of an architectural school in Ontario. (She actually made the front page of the Toronto Star, June 5th.) Associated Screen News is founded in Montréal to supply news footage for the growing film audience. Canadian Forum is first published, with plans to cover the visual arts.
Montréal’s Beaver Hall Hill Group pioneers recognition of female artists.
King George V officially recognizes Canada’s armorial bearings, which had been in limbo since 1868, when the arms of the Dominion were first used — unofficially.
Mary Riter Hamilton is named Officier de l’Académie Française and receives the purple ribbon of Les Palmes Académiques for her paintings of war-torn France. The Calgary Art Club is founded, only to be expelled from the library meeting room for daring to draw from the figure. Mary Hiester Reid is the first woman to have a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto, albeit posthumously. Elizabeth Styring Nutt organizes an unprecedented “Art Week” in Halifax.
The Ecole des beaux-arts in Montréal offers art instruction. The Royal Canadian Academy organizes a competition to foster mural painting. The first woman to earn the Bachelor of Architecture degree in Canada is Jean Hall. Queen’s University biology professor Alfred Brooker Klugh begins contributing a monthly photography column to American Photography. The federal government opens a motion picture bureau. The Royal Ontario Museum publishes its first Bulletin.
Ernest Cormier’s fuses functionalism and art deco in his innovative designs for the main buildings of the Université de Montréal.
The Graphic Arts Club holds its first public exhibition. Mary E. Wrinch becomes the first woman Vice-President of the Ontario Society of Artists. The Group of Seven come to international attention in the Canadian section of the British Empire Exhibition in Wembley, England. Thirty Canadian women artists are largely overshadowed by the Group’s rhetoric. Architecture Canada Newmagazine begins a forty-nine-year run (including changes of name).
Walter J. Phillips and others found the Manitoba Society of Artists. The Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour is formed. The Vancouver School of Decorative and Applied Arts is founded. The first Canadian building designed by a woman architect (see 1923) is erected in Toronto.
The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art offers its first art courses in Calgary. F. B. Housser publishes the first monograph on the Group of Seven. Frederick Varley is appointed head of the Department of Painting and Drawing at the Vancouver School of Art. Paintbox appears briefly in Vancouver. St. John’s Vocational School offers some art training.
Carr becomes the first Canadian woman artist to achieve national recognition when her work is included in Marius Barbeau and Eric Brown’s exhibition of Canadian West Coast Art, Native and Modern, in the National Gallery. The National Museum of Canada is founded on the collections of William Logan, a geologist. Bertram Brooker becomes the first acknowledged abstract artist in Canada with a show of works at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. He may have been inspired by a Toronto show of a selection from the so-called Société Anonyme, Inc., an American avant-garde collection of modern works established by Katherine Dreier and Marcel Duchamp. An Art Students’ League forms in Toronto. A group of British Columbia photographers organizes the first exhibition of Pictorialist photography in Vancouver.
Frances Loring, Florence Wyle, Elizabeth Wyn Wood and others form the Sculptors’ Society of Canada.
John Lyle becomes a pioneer in the use of specifically Canadian ornament on his otherwise Neoclassical temple-style Bank of Nova Scotia in Halifax. Nova Scotia’s original coat of arms (1626) is reinstated to replace a second one proclaimed in 1868, and its use on the provincial flag is approved. The Museum of the Province of Québec is opened. Prudence Heward receives the first Willingdon Prize for painting from the Governor General.
McCarter and Nairne’s Marine Building in Vancouver is one of the first public buildings to exploit art deco.
Darling and Pearson’s Romanesque-flavoured Canadian Bank of Commerce in Toronto becomes the tallest building in the Commonwealth for a time.
The Toronto Camera Club starts to publish Focus. The Canadian Handicrafts Guild fosters interest in native art with an exhibition of Inuit crafts in Montréal. Etcetera begins a three- year run in Toronto.
Ernest Cormier’s own house at 1418, avenue des Pins, Montréal, features an innovative use of art deco for domestic use.
The last official exhibition of the Group of Seven takes place at the Art Gallery of Toronto. John Lyman returns to Canada from an 18-year stay abroad, founding the Atelier school of art with four others. The Edmonton Museum of Fine Arts organizes an exhibition of Women Artists. The Women Painters of Western Canada and the Alberta Society of Artists are formed. The Vancouver Art Gallery is founded. Kodak announces a major photographic competition with a special Canadian section. The Toronto Camera Club begins to award a trophy cup. Alfred Brigden demonstrates the use of paper negatives to the Toronto Camera Club. Clifford Johnston wins silver medals in photographic exhibitions in Japan and England. Johnston also calls for a photography that can match the Group of Seven’s portrayal of the Canadian landscape.
Yousef Karsh opens his popular portrait studio in Ottawa. Canadian Kodakery ceases publication. The Dominion Drama Festival arranges a series of annual competitions for stage and costume design. The Alberta Society of Artists is founded. A number of disenfranchised artists charge that the National Gallery’s criteria for its exhibitions are too narrow.
Twenty-eight artists from across the country form the Canadian Group of Painters to succeed the defunct Group of Seven. Although centred in Toronto, the CGP’s first show of “art with a national character” is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. An experimental School of Fine Arts is founded in Banff, Alta., evolving into the influential Banff Centre for Continuing Education. Frederick Varley and Jock Macdonald found the British Columbia College of Arts in Vancouver. The Graphic Arts Club changes its name to the Canadian Society of Graphic Art. Some members of the Sculptors’ Society of Canada — especially the influential women Loring, Wyle, and Wyn Wood — resign from the Ontario Society of Artists, which they felt gave insufficient support to sculpture. The Canadian Handicrafts Guild forms an Indian Committee to support traditional Indian crafts. Lester D. Longman is appointed Special Carnegie Lecturer in the history and appreciation of art at McMaster University in Hamilton, making his the first such university appointment in Canada. Negotiations for a similar appointment begin at Queen’s University in Kingston. Edith Hallett Bethune wins a Diploma for Exceptional Photographic Art at the Chicago World’s Fair.
The National Gallery arranges the first Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art. The Hamilton Camera Club holds its first Canadian Salon of Photography, travelling shortly after to the Vancouver Camera Club. Responding to the growing popularity of miniature cameras, the Toronto Camera Club creates a new competitive category for enlargements. Montréal’s Ecole du meuble, a prominent school of art and design, is founded. Lawren Harris and Bess Housser move to Hanover, New Hampshire, where Harris teaches at Dartmouth College.
The Maritime Art Association is founded, as is the Hamilton Art Association. The British Columbia College of Arts closes.
Douglas Duncan creates the Picture Loan Society in Toronto. Augustus Kenderdine moves from Saskatoon to Regina and starts a summer school for the arts in Emma Lake. The first Western Ontario Salon of Photography is held. John Lyman starts writing a monthly column on art for The Montrealer (to 1940). Norman Bethune’s social conscience leads Fritz Brandtner to initiate a Children’s Art Centre for the underprivileged of Montréal and to hold an exhibition for the benefit of the Canadian League Against War and Fascism. Other artists, like Paraskeva Clark, are attracted to Bethune’s Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy.
Paul-Emile Borduas joins the faculty of the Ecole du meuble. The Canadian Interchange Print Circuit (Eastern Division) is formed, linking camera clubs in southern Ontario and Québec.
The Manitoba Arts Review begins a run lasting until 1965. The Eastern Group of Painters is founded in Montréal to counter the nationalism of the Canadian Group of Painters. Florence Wyle is the first female sculptor to become a fully-accredited member of the Royal Canadian Academy. Toronto expatriate Joseph Shuster creates the Superman comic-book character in New York. Phyllis Jacobine Jones sculpts architectural reliefs for Ottawa’s Bank of Canada building. The Canada Pacific Exhibition starts to show photography. Harold Kells wins an award from the Royal Photographic Society. Lawren Harris joins the Transcendental Painting Movement in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Cormier adds château-style roofs to his design for the Supreme Court in Ottawa at the insistence of Mackenzie King.
Lyman founds the Contemporary Arts Society in Montréal to promote greater awareness of international modernism. The first Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is awarded at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B. John Grierson initiates the National Film Board of Canada. The Art Association of Montréal changes its name to the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. Québec’s original coat of arms (1868) is revised. Isabel McLaughlin becomes the first woman President of the Canadian Group of Painters.
Harry Mayerovitch produces many posters to sell Victory Bonds for the National War Financing Board.
The Wartime Housing Corp. introduces plans for inexpensive, standardized housing. Alfred Pellan returns to Québec from a 15- year study in Paris. The Maritime Arts Association begins publishing Maritime Art (to 1943). Lawren Harris moves to Vancouver. Painter B.C. Binning designs his own home in West Vancouver along the sharply geometrical lines of the International style. John Parkin and others begin to introduce the International style and Bauhaus modernism into Canadian architecture schools. Wartime restrictions force the cancellation of the Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art.
Carr publishes Klee Wyck and wins the Governor General award for literature. The first Conference of Canadian Artists is held in Kingston. American comic-books are banned for economic, not moral reasons, enabling the development of some short-lived Canadian characters. The most famous of these is Leo Bachle’s Johnny Canuck, who is intended to represent the typical Canadian character.
The Canadian Review of Music and Art begins publication. Montréal opens an Ecole des arts graphiques. The Québec government opens its Service de ciné-photographie to promote the production of educational films. Pegi Nicol MacLeod and Lucy Jarvis open the Observatory Art Centre in association with the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.
Canadian Art begins to appear. H.O.McCurry assists in the establishment of the Canadian War Art Programme, hiring 30 artists. School of Paris painter Fernand Léger delivers a lecture in Montréal.
Although she has had at least four solo shows in public institutions, only now does Emily Carr have her first solo show in a commercial establishment, the Dominion Gallery in Montréal. Alex Colville is appointed an official War Artist, and his experiences will forever affect the character of his work. The Province of Québec begins a series of Artistic Competitions. The Canadian Jewish Congress publishes Jewish War Heroes, a series of comic books combatting anti-semitism.
Pellan quarrels with Charles Maillard, director of the Ecole des beaux-arts.
Wartime Housing Corp. is replaced by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. Wartime restrictions on imported comic-books are eased, effectively killing uniquely Canadian products. Discussions take place at the National Gallery to revive the Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art, but it never takes place again. At the behest of C.D. Howe, Donald Buchanan organizes a travelling exhibition of industrial design for the Canadian Manufacturer’s Association conference. The Affiliation of Canadian Industrial Designers is formed. Alex Colville begins teaching at Mount Allison University in Sackville. Architecture concept (a.k.a. Architecture, bâtiment, construction) first appears in Montréal.
A group of artists gathered around Borduas becomes famous as les Automatistes. The Calgary Group promotes non-objective art in the west. Buchanan begins to investigate the role of industrial design in Canada. The Association of Canadian Industrial Designers replaces the Affiliation of 1946. Hundreds of artists submit work for an exhibition of Canadian Women Artists to take place at the Riverside Museum in New York (April). The federal government’s modest support of the show is effectively the first such governmental patronage in Canada. The Alberta Society of Artists publishes Highlights. Liaison first appears in Montréal.
Borduas publishes the collective manifesto Refus global, overshadowing Pellan’s generally opposed Prisme d’yeux group. Borduas is dismissed from his teaching position at the Ecole du meuble. The Income Tax War Act of 1917, introduced to foster private donations to institutions like hospitals and universities, is revamped as the Income Tax Act, setting up the conditions that gradually enrich public collections of art. Asked in 1940 to include Inuit art in their scope, the Canadian Handicrafts Guild designates Toronto designer and arts administrator James Houston their Arctic representative. He brings some soapstone carvings from the Hudson Bay region to Montréal, greatly stimulating renewed interest. The Ontario Potters Association is founded. George Weber introduces art serigraphy — used in Toronto for commercial reasons since the 1920s — to Edmonton.
Max Stern of Montréal’s Dominion Gallery is the first Canadian dealer to offer an artist (Goodridge Roberts) a contract, instead of percentage and consignment sales. The Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences — a.k.a. the Massey Commission — begins its deliberations. A private member’s bill is introduced to ban comic-books for moral, rather than economic reasons. The arts journal Qui? appears in Montréal for a five-year run. The first Canadian National Newspaper Award for Political Cartooning is given to Jack Boothe. Saskatchewan establishes the first public arts foundation in North America.
In Montréal, Agnes Lefort opens the first gallery devoted to printmaking. Although it has taken just over two years to works out the details, Québec’s provincial flag is officially adopted. Yorkton, Saskatchewan introduces the first Canadian film festival, dedicated at first to documentary films. Perspective, a Winnipeg journal covering architecture, begins a sixteen-year run.
The Massey Commission delivers its report (June), leading directly to the establishment of governmental programmes like the National Library (1953) and the Canada Council (1957). Ross Lort’s alterations to Sharp and Thompson’s original building for the Vancouver Art Gallery are officially unveiled (Sept.). Arts et pensées appears in Montréal.
Alexandra Luke organizes a touring exhibition of Canadian Abstract Art. Norman McLaren wins an academy award for his pixilated short film Neighbours. The New Brunswick Museum publishes its first Art Bulletin (later known as Memo and Journal).
William Ronald organizes the “Abstracts at Home” show at the Robert Simpson Co., gathering around him the nucleus of Painters Eleven. Tanya Moiseiwitsch and Tyrone Guthrie design the stage of the Festival Theatre for the Stratford Festival (incorporated in 1952), attracting national attention to theatrical design as an art for perhaps the first time. (I am grateful for the correction supplied by Robert Fulford.)
Parkin and Associates design a new headquarters for the Ontario Assoc. of Architects. The firm is one of the earliest to adopt the strategy of offering an exhaustive professional service for all aspects of architectural need. Canadian Photographer begins publication in Toronto.
Painters Eleven open up unprecedented possibilities for abstract artists in a series of exhibitions.
Avrom Isaacs opens the Greenwich Gallery and framing shop in Toronto. Jauran (a.k.a. Rodolphe de Repentigny) publishes the manifesto of les Plasticiens, gathering about him a number of other artists interested in a more controlled abstraction than that of les Automatistes. Kenneth Lochhead and Arthur McKay add professional artists’ workshops to the programme of the Emma Lake school, eventually initiating a very influential series of international exchanges. Painter Guido Molinari opens l’Actuelle, a short-lived Montréal gallery (to 1957). Canadian Architect begins its run.
Painters Eleven participate in the 20th annual exhibition of American Abstract Artists in New York, generating considerable national attention. Fernand Leduc becomes first president of the Association des artistes non-figuratifs de Montréal. Vie des arts begins publication. The Society of Typographic Designers is formed. The Northwest Territories and the Yukon are officially granted their coats of arms. The National Film Board’s move from Ottawa to Montréal boosts production of French language films.
Despite some resentment, Ronald arranges for the powerful New York art critic Clement Greenberg to visit some members of Painters Eleven in Toronto. Ronald becomes one of the youngest members of the stable of artists attached to New York’s Kootz Gallery. A Society of Co-Operative Artists is founded in Toronto. The Art Gallery of Toronto’s first News and Notes appears. The Canadian Conference on the Arts addresses but does not resolve issues of importance to visual artists, ranging from tax reform to copyright. The Canada Council for the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is formed to stimulate cultural production. Houston begins teaching print-making techniques (some of which he would later develop in Japan) to native artists in the Cape Dorset area, taking them into unexplored, but immensely successful territory. Krieghoff’s Merrymaking (1860) attains celebrity when the popular press announces its sale to Lord Beaverbrook for a surprising $25,000.
Duncan Macpherson, one of the first editorial cartoonists to enjoy wide celebrity as an artist, joins the Toronto Star. Bill Reid and Douglas Cranmer initiate a Northwest Coast cultural revival when the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia asks them to make copies of totem poles and other artifacts. Canada artistique et littéraire appears in Montréal. Gambit begins a five-year run in Toronto.
Isaacs changes the Greenwich gallery to the Issacs Gallery and begins to gather around him some of the most creative, if anarchic, individuals in Toronto. Influential New York painter Barnett Newman is visiting artist at Emma Lake. Dorothy Cameron opens the Here and Now Gallery in Toronto. Molinari and others found a short-lived magazine in Montréal, Situations, and some of the group surrounding it become known as the Nouveaux plasticiens. The Royal Ontario Museum’s Annual supersedes its Bulletin. The Brandon Art Club (founded 1907) is transformed into the Brandon Allied Arts Council.
Crafts and traditional handiwork enjoy a resurgence of popularity with the expansion of many community colleges.
Saskatchewan sculptor Robert Murray moves to New York. Although approved for use as early as 1906, the crest of British Columbia is only now made an official part of the provincial flag. The first Canadian film festival to include fiction features is initiated in Montréal. The Structurist first appears in Saskatoon.
Ronald Bloore arranges a show of five Regina painters affected by international encounters at the Emma Lake summer school. They soon exhibit across Canada together as the Regina Five. The Provincial Institute of Technology and Art is renamed the Alberta College of Art. The Association des sculpteurs du Québec begins its activities. Buchanan plays a role in the formation of the Industrial Design Council. The Canadian Eskimo Art Committee is established. Region first appears in London, Ontario.
Greg Curnoe attracts attention to the vigorous regional art centre of London, Ontario, with the first happening, the first artist-run gallery (the Region Gallery), and the founding of the Nihilist Party, among other things. Clement Greenberg has considerable impact at the Emma Lake summer workshops. Art dealer Jack Pollock gives Ojibwa artist Norval Morrisseau a solo exhibition in Toronto, opening more perspectives to contemporary native artists. Michael Snow and Joyce Wieland begin to make names for themselves in New York.
David Mirvish opens his influential modernist gallery in Toronto. The largest of the provincial arts funding organizations, the Ontario Arts Council, is founded. artmagazine (sic) begins publication. Cartoonist Robert LaPalme arranges a show of caricatures in Montréal that eventually evolves into the International Salon of Caricature and Cartoon. American modernist Kenneth Noland visits Emma Lake. Though he has been teaching since 1946, Alex Colville’s first one-man show is only now held in the Banfer Gallery in New York. Ronald takes out American citizenship; ironically, his New York dealer gives him his last show. Manitoba’s provincial flag is approved.
Arthur Erickson and Geoffrey Massey are given a modernist carte blanche in their plans for Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C.
Yves Robillard, Richard Lacroix and others form Fusion des arts, Montréal, French Canada’s first alternative (artist-run) exhibition centre. Greenberg organizes a show of Post-Painterly Abstraction for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, including works by Lochhead, McKay and Jack Bush. American colour-field painter Jules Olitski visits Emma Lake. L’Atelier libre de recherches graphiques, the first Montréal printshop specializing in contemporary art, opens its doors. Prince Edward Island’s provinical flag is formally adopted.
Parkin, Bregman and Hamann collaborate with consulting architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe on the corporate International style Toronto Dominion Centre, Toronto. Affleck, Desbarats, et al. initiate the widespread Canadian phenomenon of indoor “cities” with Place Bonaventure, Montréal.
The Department of Public Works establishes a policy that 1% of the budget of all government buildings must be spent on art.
Finnish architect Viljo Revell collaborates with Parkin and Associates on the new Toronto City Hall. Queen Elizabeth II officially recognizes the new Canadian flag. (The old Red Ensign was never actually authorized as the national flag, although it had been approved for use on federal buildings outside Canada since 1924 and within Canada since 1945. Similarly, the maple leaf was never an official Canadian emblem, although it had been used in more or less that capacity since at least 1834.) Ontario’s provincial flag, a variation on the Red Ensign, is officially approved within two months. The Associated Designers of Canada is formed to promote recognition of theatrical design. An exhibition entitled “The Responsive Eye,” now generally associated with the origins of Op Art, opens in New York’s Museum of Modern Art, including works by Molinari. In Regina, the Mackenzie Art Gallery publishes its first Newsletter.
Rankin Inlet Pottery is one of the few native ceramic studios to meet with success.
Canadian Collector first appears in Toronto. Twenty Cents magazine appears London, Ontario. The Musée du Québec publishes its first Bulletin. Iain and Ingrid Baxter form N.E. Thing Co. in British Columbia. The Professional Art Dealers Association is formed. The Art Gallery of Toronto is renamed the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Société des artistes professionels du Québec is formed. The first book illustrated by a native artist is Christie Harris’s Raven’s Cry, with designs by Bill Reid. Manitoba’s provincial flag is officially proclaimed. The Ontario Folk Arts Council and the Professional Art Dealers Association are formed in Toronto.
Alex Colville’s designs appear on the special Centennial coinage. Moshe Safdie attracts international attention when his Master’s thesis is realized as the innovative prefabrication experiment at Habitat, Montréal. The Baxters and others form Intermedia in Vancouver, opening up the new fields of performance, installation and video art. Canadian Art is renamed artscanada (sic). The Society of Co-Operative Artists reforms as the Society of Canadian Artists. Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, and other artists loosely affiliated with the regional developments in London initiate Canadian Artists Representation/Front des artistes canadiens (CAR/FAC), a decentralized union, as it were, to ensure artists’ rights, exhibition fees, and the like. The Robert McLaughlin Gallery opens in Oshawa. Carl Dair designs Canada’s first domestic typeface. James Borcoman begins a collection of contemporary international photography for the National Gallery of Canada. Foto Canadabegins a short-lived run in Montréal, and another photography publication, Image, appears in Ottawa. The Department of National Defence initiates a Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artist Program, with over twenty participants eventually travelling to Vietnam and the Middle East. Ronald’s painted output slows as he becomes a radio and television personality, first for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and later for Toronto’s CITY-TV. The Vancouver Art Gallery’s “Arts of the Raven” show celebrates Northwest Coast Indian art as “art, high art, not ethnology.” The Yukon adopts an official territorial flag. The Canadian Film Development Corporation is founded. The Canadian Eskimo Arts Council replaces the Canadian Eskimo Art Committee (1961).
General Idea — Jorge Zontal, A.A. Bronson, and Felix Partz (all pseudonyms) — begins planning its performances and other non- traditional art activities. Paterson Ewen moves to London, Ontario. Bill Lobchuk opens the Grand Western Canadian Screen Shop in Winnipeg. Greg Curnoe’s huge mural for the Montréal International Airport is removed for alleged anti-Americanism. Douglas Cardinal’s unconventionally organic and expressive St. Mary’s Church appears in Red Deer, Alberta. Alberta’s provincial flag is officially approved. Fashion/Canada is established to promote Canadian clothing design. The National Association for Photographic Art is founded in Scarborough. Dimensions, an arts quarterly, appears in Fredericton. Rotunda is first published by the Royal Ontario Museum.
The Baxters incorporate N.E. Thing Co. The Professional Artists of Canada is founded to unite seven pre-existing associations. A Stamp Advisory Committee is formed to approve artists’ designs for postage stamps. The Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan adopt official flags. Document, Image Nation, and Camera Canada begin their runs in Toronto, and Canadian Art News appears in Ottawa. Five Cent Review appears for one issue in Montréal. The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts first publishes its quarterly review entitled M.
Parks Canada initiates the Canadian Inventory of Historic Building. Richard Sewell opens Toronto’s Open Studio, an influential printshop for contemporary artists. The Toronto alternative gallery A Space organizes workshops to introduce video to contemporary artists. Similar activities are begun at Vidéographe in Montréal and in Halifax at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Communiqué appears in Ottawa, and O (a.k.a. Echo), Impressions and Canadian Photography appear in Toronto. OVO Photo and Photography North are first published in Montréal and Québec, respectively.
Bill Vazan’s World Line conceptually links twenty five locations on the face of the earth. The Association des graveurs du Québec is formed. Wieland’s National Gallery show, “True Patriot Love,” attracts attention for its nationalism, its feminist reclamation of traditional techniques like quilting, and its technical innovations. Sylvia Spring becomes the first Canadian woman to direct a fictional feature film, Madeleine Is… (sic). The Winnipeg Art Gallery moves to new quarters. The Canadian Association of Professional Conservators is founded in Ottawa. Impulse magazine first appears in Toronto, Médiart appears in Montréal, and B.C. Photographer appears in Vancouver.
A new phase of technologically expressive architecture is initiated with the designs of Zeidler, et al. for the McMaster Health Sciences Centre in Hamilton. The Canada Council establishes its Art Bank programme. Video Inn is formed in Vancouver to promote video art. The Société des graphistes du Québec is founded. The Newfoundland and Labrador Crafts Development Association is formed in St. John’s. The short-lived Beaux-arts and the hardier Ateliers appear in Montréal. The influential vehicle of General Idea, File, first appears in Toronto. The influential Vanguard begins its run as a broadsheet published by the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Heritage Canada is established. The alternative gallery Western Front is formed in Vancouver, immediately helping to organize the Matrix International Video Conference. Forest City Gallery opens in London, Ontario. Interface magazine appears in Victoria. Mix jointly appears in Wolfville and Saskatoon. Only Paper Today, Queen StreeT [sic] Magazine, Re-Visions, and Canadian Photo Annual begin their runs in Toronto. The Canadian Conference of The Arts begins printing a Bulletin. In a rented apartment in Montréal, several women artists organize a temporary exhibition which evolves into the Powerhouse Gallery, an influential feminist alternative. Université Laval first publishes a Revue annuelle de photographie. The Embroiderers’ Association of Canada is formed in Vancouver. The Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council is formed in Halifax.
The Council for Business and the Arts is developed to encourage corporate sponsorship of museums, galleries, and other arts institutions. Vincent Trasov runs for mayor of Vancouver as Mr. Peanut. Two academic journals, Racar (Revue d’art canadien/Canadian Art Review) and the Journal of Canadian Art History, begin publication in Toronto and Montréal, respectively. More freewheeling are Review, published in London, Ontario by the Association for the Documentation of Neglected Aspects of Culture in Canada, and Carot, a trade paper published by CAR/FAC. Canadian Indian Artcrafts begins appearing in Ottawa, and Criteria appears in Vancouver. The Society of Graphic Designers of Canada is formed (receiving its charter two years later). The National Film Board opens a women’s studio. The Fashion Designers Association of Canada is formed. The Association for Native Development in the Performing and Visual Arts is formed. The Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada and the Canadian Crafts Council are formed in Ottawa.
The Ceramic Masters organization is established to replace regional associations with a national one. Artswest first appears in Calgary, and Artviews, Photographic Canadiana and Onion first appear in Toronto. The influential arts journal Parachute, not to be confused with a newspaper of the same name from Peterborough (founded 1974), begins its run in Montréal. CAR/FAC News begins its run in Winnipeg. Images and Information appears in Calgary. The Society for the Study of Architecture in Canada publishes its first News/nouvelles in Ottawa. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria publishes its first Arts Victoria. Canada’s first graphic art and design conference takes place at the University of Alberta. The Canadian contribution to the Prague Quadrennial of theatrical design wins the first of several honourable mentions. Michael Snow finds applications for conceptual art in bookmaking (Cover to Cover) and music recording (Musics for Piano, Whistling…). F. R. Crawley wins an Oscar for his film The Man Who Skied Down Everest. The National Gallery of Canada holds a major exhibition of seven contemporary women artists. The Surrey Art Gallery opens.
Webb, Zerafa, Menkes, and Housden becomes the country’s largest practice and designs the ostentatious Royal Bank Plaza, Toronto. Montréal’s retrospective “Corridart,” organized by Melvin Charney and others, is ordered destroyed by mayor Jean Drapeau. The Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers merges with the Canadian Society of Graphic Art to form the Print and Drawing Council of Canada. Toronto’s Artists in Stained Glass becomes the first Canadian organization specifically fostering glass art. Michael Snow is the first Canadian to have a major exhibition of avant-garde artist’s film at the influential Museum of Modern Art, New York. Ned Baldwin completes the designs for the CN Tower in Toronto (usually attributed to John Andrews), making it the tallest free-standing structure in the world. (I am grateful for the correction supplied by Robert Fulford.) The Association of National Non-Profit Artists’ Centres is formed in Toronto. The Ontario Crafts Council is founded in Toronto. Photo Life appears in Vancouver, Cairn appears in Banff, Centrefold appears in Calgary, Bridge City Review is published in Saskatoon, Touch/touche appears in Winnipeg, Parallelogramme begins its run in Vancouver and Toronto, and Photographers in Nova Scotia appears in Halifax. The Centre for Experimental Art and Communication in Toronto publishes a newspaper entitled Strike, almost immediately changing its name to Art Communication Edition. The Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, dedicated to preservation of regional heritage, begins publishing a journal called Acorn. The Review of Architecture/Landscape Architecture first appears in Toronto under the name Griffin. Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum publishes its first Museum Bulletin.
Postmodernism starts to appear in buildings like Peter Rose’s Bradley House, North Hatley, P.Q. Zeidler et al. give a new twist to the Crystal Palace theme of the nineteenth century in their Eaton Centre, Toronto. Raymond Moriyama’s interior of the Metro Toronto Library is organically fluid. Co Hoedeman wins an Oscar for The Sand Castle, an animated film featuring creatures made of sand. The Association des architectes en pratique privée du Québec opens in Montréal. The Canadian Art Therapy Association is formed in Toronto. Artists Reviewand Photo Canada first appear in Toronto, Imprint appears in Peterborough, Virus appears in Montréal, and Popular Illusion appears in Vancouver. The Architectural Institute of British Columbia publishes AIBC Forum. The Confederation Centre’s one-year-old Museum Bulletinevolves into the influential ArtsAtlantic.
The Conseil de la sculpture and Conseil de la gravure are organized in Québec. The Canada Council splits into two sections, one responsible for artistic production and another, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, chiefly supporting academic research. The Center for Art Tapes is founded in Halifax. The Canadian Craft and Hobby Association is formed in Calgary. The Manitoba Crafts Council is formed in Winnipeg. Missing in Action appears in Toronto, and a critical broadsheet entitled Rude appears in London.
Philanthropist, collector, designer, and scholar, Phyllis Lambert founds the Canadian Centre for Architecture. Photo Communiqué begins publication. Paul Wong and others organize in Vancouver the Living Art Performance Festival.
Brian Dyson founds Syntax (the Calgary International Artists’ Contact Centre). Ottawa’s Department of Communications takes responsibility for federal arts funding from the Department of the Secretary of State. Ydessa Handeles opens the influential Ydessa Gallery in Toronto. Alberta is officially granted the crest and supporters of its coat of arms. Newfoundland officially adopts its provincial flag.
The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts mounts a provocative exhibition on art and feminism. The National Film Board’s Not a Love Story attains notoriety. The International Phototherapy Association is founded in Vancouver. The Canadian Society of Decorative Arts is formed in Toronto.
J. Michael Kirkland and Edward Jones win the competition for the new City Hall in Mississauga with a Postmodern design of historic eclecticism.
artmagazine and artscanada cease publication. The Canadian Film Development Corporation changes its name to Telefilm Canada. The National Art Therapy Council of Canada is founded in Ottawa.
A new version of Canadian Art and C (a.k.a. C Magazine) begin publication from radically different points of view. While the former is directed at the general reader, the latter is specifically aimed at the intellectual art community. Manitoba’s coat of arms officially receives its crest and supporters. The Saskatchewan Arts Alliance is formed in Regina.
The National Gallery of Canada is affiliated with a new Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Vancouver Art Gallery hosts a show of neo-expressionist entitled “Young Romantics.” An important symposium on Feminism and Art takes place in Toronto. Brigitte Berman wins an Oscar for her documentary film Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got.
Auction prices for Canadian art works reach an all-time high with a Lawren Harris reaching nearly half a million dollars. A governmental committee reviews federal arts funding, recommending annual increases to the year 2000. The Corporation des métiers d’art du Québec begins a series of important annual exhibitions of craft art. Saskatchewan’s coat of arms receives an official crest and supporters. An association called Arts and the Cities is formed in Toronto. Applied Arts Magazine begins publication.
The funding programmes of the National Museums Corporation cease and are replaced by those of the Department of Communications. British Columbia’s coat of arms receives an official crest and supporters. Andrew Danson exhibits a series of experimental portraits of Canadian politicians photographing themselves. Arthur Erickson designs a new building for the Robert McLaughlin Art Gallery in Oshawa.
With Phyllis Lambert, Peter Rose designs the new building housing the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal. The Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba opens in Brandon.
The London Regional Art Gallery amalgamates with the local historical board to become the London Regional Art and Historical Museum. Arthur Erickson closes his Toronto offices. A certain amount of controversy greets Moshe Safdie’s new National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa and Douglas Cardinal’s new Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull. The Federation of Canadian Artists is founded in Vancouver. The University of Western Ontario and Georgian College initiate a joint summer school, the Canadian Centre for the Arts, in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Rick Gibson provokes the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by proposing to crush Sniffy the Rat as part of a Vancouver performance (Jan.). The City of Vancouver gives its Heritage Award to Princeton Developments Ltd. and Confederation Life for its restorations of McCarter and Nairne’s Marine Building (Feb.). The National Gallery comes under prolonged attack for spending 1.76 million dollars on a painting by American Barnett Newman (Mar.). The Royal Ontario Museum is attacked as racist on the occasion of an exhibition of African artifacts collected by colonial interests. Graduates of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design hold an exhibition in four Halifax laundromats. The Corporate Art Collectors Association is founded in Montréal. The federal government amends the Income Tax Act, giving the Cultural Property Review Board the power to set the value of donations to museums and galleries and thus to control the tax benefits of such gifts.
Jana Sterbak’s exhibition of a dress of raw meat at the National Gallery draws media attention and is accused of wastefulness in an era of food banks. Gallery staff receive telephone threats and mail smeared with excrement. Arthur Erickson consolidates his architectural operations in Vancouver, abruptly closing his Los Angeles offices because of financial problems. The Canada Council releases a report entitled The Politics of Inclusion/Exclusion: Contemporary Native Art and Museums (Mar.). The local vice squad closes an exhibition of posters about AIDS prevention at the University of Western Ontario (Apr.). The London Regional Art and Historical Museum is plagued by complaints regarding the lack of a curator of contemporary art and its allegedly unprofessional handling of archaeological artifacts in an adjacent excavation. An exhibition at Toronto’s Power Plant draws criticism for including a large scale statue of Lenin, even as similar works are being torn down in Russia. A statue of Louis Riel in front of the Winnipeg Legislature is defaced as an insult to Metis dignity. A sculpture of 1919, depicting the unconfirmed crucifixion of a Canadian soldier in World War I, is put on display for the first time in over seventy years at the Canadian War Museum. The Canadian Art Foundation is formed in Toronto.
The Assembly of First Nations and the Canadian Museums Association produce a joint Task Force Report on Museums and First Peoples. The already notorious Pisschrist (1989) of American Andreas Serrano raises community hackles at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Jan.). A gallery in Kelowna, B.C. shows Julie Oakes’ paintings about deforestation, aggravating timber workers already suffering from the effects of recession (Mar.). Student works are excluded from an exhibition at Concordia University in Montréal because of putatively racist stereotypes. Gerald R. McMaster’s and Lee-Ann Martin’s long-awaited “Indigena,” a major traveling exhibition of contemporary Native Canadian art commenting on the Columbian Quincentenary, opens at the Canadian Museum of Civilization (Apr.). “Nuances,” a collaboration between photographers in Québec and Newfoundland, intends to contribute to Canadian unity by showing how much people are alike (May). The Royal Ontario Museum mounts its first popular culture show, choosing teenage lifestyles in Toronto. A show of paintings by Wanda Koop and two others, destined for the World’s Fair in Sevilla, Spain, is cancelled due to unexpected costs. The Art Gallery of Ontario announces layoffs of 224 employees and a closure of seven months (Jul.). Parliament Hill buzzes over Barbara Woodley’s decision to publish a two year old photograph of Justice Minister Kim Campbell with bare shoulders. Greg Curnoe is killed in a cycling accident. A billboard showing two women kissing and the caption “Lesbian is not a dirty word” raises community hackles in Winnipeg (Dec.). Renovations, expansions and/or new facilities are undertaken by the McCord Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, and Montréal Museum of Fine Arts in Montréal; the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography on Ottawa.
Readers of the Vancouver Sun are upset over an editorial cartoon of Justice Minister Kim Campbell as a female warrior à la Madonna (Mar. 3). Douglas Cardinal is awarded the Molson Lifetime Achievement Award by the Canada Council (Mar. 8). The Canada Council announces serious funding cutbacks (Mar. 13). The Art Gallery of Hamilton announces layoffs and a four-day work week due to deteriorating funding (Apr.). The Art Gallery of Ontario sues the Cultural Property Review Board over the valuation of donated works of art. Newly created Jean A. Chalmers Awards are given to Jeff Wall and Francois Houdé for visual arts and crafts, respectively (May 19). There is heated debate in Vancouver over the proposed inscription for a public monument to “all the women murdered by men,” although Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg already have similar commemorations (July). In Edmonton, an inukchuk is erected as a memorial to an Inuit hero of two decades before, David Kootook (Aug.). London, Ontario’s Forest City Gallery hosts a month-long neighbourhood project called “A Cup for A Cup,” in which nearly sixty artists and small-business operators collaborate as equal partners outside the gallery walls (Sept.-Oct.). For the October election, Preston Manning’s Reform Party capitalizes on popular sentiment by targeting recent, controversial acquisitions by the National Gallery as examples of government waste and deficit building. Canadian Pacific adds the American flag to its logo. Air Canada’s planes get new tail decorations, designed by an American firm. Vancouver artist Gideon Flitt shows paintings describing the oppression of white males. Artist Eli Langer is charged under new child pornography laws for his show of explicit drawings at Mercer Union in Toronto (Dec.). The Art Gallery of Windsor moves into a local shopping mall and, counter to expectations, attendance figures go up.
The deputy prime minister of Alberta questions the Alberta Foundation for the Arts’ support of an Edmonton forum on gender roles which included demonstrations of body-piercing, cross- dressing, and tattooing (Mar.). Christopher Leffler, a gay activist graduate art student in Saskatchewan, creates a disturbance by outing a suspected lesbian public official. Metro Toronto Council refuses to grant cultural funding for a gay and lesbian video and film festival. Toronto photographer Jim Allan raises funds for the Hospital for Sick Children with photographs of famous Canadians making faces at the camera (Oct.) Dinosaur illustrator Ely Kish receives the Order of Canada (Nov.)
A series of murals in Chemainus, B.C., initiated by Karl Schutz, wins the American division of the British Airways Tourism for Tomorrow award. An unprecedented touring exhibition of works by women artists on the theme of breast cancer opens at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Native groups pressure Robert Crosby to return aboriginal artifacts and sacred objects collected by his grandfather, legendary Christian missionary Thomas Crosby, to the Tsimshian, Haida, Coast Salish and others (Feb.). An exhibition of classic sportscars at the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts angers some members of the art establishment (May). The National Gallery cancels a show of works by political artist Dennis Tourbin. The National Gallery’s Anne Maheux wins the Rome Prize National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and Historic Preservation from the American Academy in Rome. A string of art robberies plagues the Lower Mainland of British Columbia (Aug.). A David Blackwood etching sells for a record price of $20,900 in an auction at Ritchie’s in Toronto (Oct.).
Art Business, an eight-page newsletter founded in 1995, is transformed into Canada’s first on-line Art Business Magazine by editor Heather Fraser. It soon changes its name to The Arts Business Exchange. Jubal Brown, an art student at the Ontario College of Art, raises hackles by vomiting (in primary colours, no less) on a Mondrian (in New York’s MoMA) and a Dufy (in Toronto’s AGO). Topographies, the first major exhibition of emerging artists in British Columbia in a decade, opens at the Vancouver Art Gallery with much fanfare. Ratings of television violence levels are adopted. McMaster University receives a multimillion-dollar legacy from Herman Levy, including funds for the acquisition of non-North American art.
To raise money for AIDS research, Sherbrooke painter Eric Waugh begins what he hopes will be, at about 7200 square metres, the world’s largest painting (Apr.). The Canadian Conference of the Arts establishes a Working Group on Cultural Policy for the 21st Century. The town of Coaticook, Québec, hosts an innovative municipal artist-in-residence program (Jun.). Misunderstanding of foreshortening leads many to see a six-toed foot in a photograph of Ontario Premier Mike Harris. Ottawa artist Rob Thompson runs a contest to hire two non-artists to live in a cage for a week to protest the treatment of farm animals. Edmontonian Barbara Paterson is chosen to make a public monument to honour women’s rights pioneers (Oct.).
Atom Egoyan is nominated for a 1997 American Academy award for his film The Sweet Hereafter. The American College Art Association holds its annual meeting in Toronto, raising a few hackles for failing to consult with the Universities Art Association of Canada. In an age of postmodern irony, abstract art is rethought in an exhibition in Montréal.
Haligonians protest a risqué billboard advertising a love goddess. Another Prairie politician complains about art, this time about a “musical silo” project underwritten by the Millennium Arts Fund (Jul.). Some Londoners find it offensive that artist Jamelie Hassan displays in a gallery animal artifacts like elephant’s-foot umbrella stands which are ostensibly inoffensive in their “proper” home, historic Eldon House. An animal rights activist protests the use of rabbit skins in a Diana Thorneycroft installation in St. Norbert, Manitoba (Sep). Some Torontonians find the works of American Cindy Sherman objectionable in the Art Gallery of Ontario (Oct.).
Foreign Minister Lloyd Axworthy defends Nadine Norman’s Call Girl, a self-explanatory, performance-based exhibit at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, from charges of indecency and mismanagement of funds (Feb.).