January 16 - VAH2272

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Visual Arts History
Visual Arts History 2272F/G
Sarah Bassnett

January 16, 2014 – Lecture Two 20 Century Canadian Art – European Modernism in Canada (1890s-1930s) -Lucius O’Brien, Northern Head of Grand Manan, (1879) • Ideas about nationality that lead through to the European modernism • Adaptation of an international style (James Whistler) • Exploring Canadian subject matter through European styles (impressionism) • Develops own romantic, atmospheric landscapes commenting on new country, united Canada • Quebec from Point Levi, 1881. Quebec as growing urban center (rich in resources, prized for this -Overview >Historical and artistic context • Social and political conditions • The Canadian art world >European modernism in Canada • Oziaz Leduc – symbolism and French Canadian identity • The Canadian art club (1907-15) French Barbizon School, Tonalism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism >Artists: Leduc, Walker, Morris, Brymner, Cullen, Suzor-Cote, Morrice -Turn of the century: Montreal largest city and held onto this for sometime, Toronto also well populated 24000, 5 million total Canadian population; immigration was important way people came to Canada and settled and contributed to population growth; England, Scotland, Ireland mostly; Jews and Italians came as well before the war; working class people; may settle or work and then leave; immigration debates important in political policies; industrializing country; class divisions unequal distribution of wealth; poor health conditions; anxiety around slums and spread of health problems (small pox/cholera) -Indigenous: question of assimilation; 1876 Indian Act official federal policy to assimilate people into mainstream Canadian culture (reserves/status); land acquisition (illegal); moving people; residential school systems very damaging to First Nations culture; affects very serious for people of this time; outlawing traditional celebrations; strong set of policies trying to eliminate the First Nations groups • Charles Edenshaw, argillite carving, Haida artist, Chest with Raven Transforming (1880-1900) • Mid 1825-1865 Haida culture flourishing, interaction with Western settlers and new cultural objects, new trade, traditional and adaptive towards Western settlers interests • 1862 small pox epidemic 9000-1200 population decrease, totally devastated this culture thus impacts cultural material (people aren’t making things anymore), struggle to maintain basic life • Charles and Isabella Edenshaw, Clan Hat (late 19 ) – hats important for celebrations with family crests (Potlatch) • George Dawson, Skidegate postcard, Haida Gwaii, 1878 • 1865-1920s “transition period” Edenshaw important artist during this period; fewer materials being made • Limited material during this period, cultural museums collecting these objects; period of collecting First Nations material as cultural objects with idea that they were buying the material of a dying culture -The Canadian Art World • William Notman photo of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1913) designed by architects W.S Sutherland and Edward Maxwell (1911-12) • Ontario Society Members at the Opening of the Art Museum of Toronto, April 4 1918 (Toronto Star): white middle aged men, two women, demographic of artists • Art world pretty small at this time; isolation from major urban centers (ON and QB) • 3 main exhibiting groups 1860-1880: Royal Canadian Academy, Ontario Society of Artists and the Art Association of Montréal • Difficult for artists to find resources here, HAD to go to Europe to train for a period of time; no specialized art magazines until 1940s • *Discussion around art limited; study of art just beginning • Canadian artists adapting to Canadian conditions (snow) • Influence of European -Ozias Leduc, Three Apples, 1887 & Boy with Bread, 1892-99 • Earned living by decorating churches in Quebec (many artists did this as well) • Catholic churches dominated – embellishment essential to church planning • Training artists through ecclesiastical • Slightly outside art world; kept to himself; did exhibit though with Artists Association of Montreal; not part of a group important • Three Apples, first known easel painting, still life, ordinary subject matter, natural with human created bowl and table; interpreted in terms of labour (nature and artist/craftsman); interested in creating sense of wonder through simple objects; mystical quality through use of light • Boy with Bread/The Little Musician, 7 years speaks to careful attention paid, colour/texture really carefully worked up, oil paint, *sense of the everyday, convey about French Canadian life leading a simple life; emphasis on modesty of the scene, modest means; sustenance = food, music, spiritual in simplicity of life, “much in little” • Idea that French Canadians were spiritually rich and materially poor • Influenced by European movement Symbolism: -Symbolism • Popular from 1880s-1905, emphasized the expression of ideas, rather than the representation of life, • Anti-modern, a reaction against industrialization and a romanticized return to a mythical past; • A belief in the moral and ethical imperative art • Art as expression of essential truths • Allegory, metaphors, mythological imagery • Gustave Moreau, Apparition, 1876 • Ozias Leduc, Erato, Muse in the Forest, 1906 – tribute to new wife, illumination technique, nude as allegory • Ozias Leduc, Blue Cumulus, 1913 – landscape popular among symbolists, first of series of landscapes, allegory of natural and human forces, split tree (lightning/natural force), interplay between na
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