Exploration of Canada's northern limits attracted attention in Europe as early as 1576–78 when Martin Frobisher carried out his expeditions to the Arctic. He brought back to England an Inuit man and woman, and the drawings of them by John White are among the earliest visual evidence of these native peoples of Canada. Adventurers continued to explore the Arctic in search of a trade route to the South Seas by way of a northern passage. Among the numerous published accounts of these voyages is the book by Henry Ellis entitled A Voyage to Hudson's Bay by the Dobbs Galley and California in the Years 1746 and 1747. This book, published in 1748, is of particular interest because it contains two of the very few illustrations of the Canadian Inuit in seventeenth-and eighteenth-century accounts of North America.
Not until the nineteenth century was it usual to include a professional artist among the crew on a voyage. In the eighteenth century, the illustrations accompanying written travel accounts were provided by a trained artist at home who had never seen the subjects with his own eyes. The picturesque and decorative aspects of the illustrations were more important to the publisher than their anthropological accuracy. An examination of the engravings included in Ellis' book shows how the eighteenth-century European, and more specifically the English, chose to view the Inuit. The way the artist portrayed these people reflected the condescending attitude of the English. They regarded the Inuit as an uncivilized people whose habits and customs nevertheless provided much interest and often amusement.
Harold Kalman's lively text and John Roaf's commendable photographs will certainly attract those with an interest in architecture to an "active participation" in the city-scape of Vancouver. The striking front cover, illustrating the Hudson's Bay Company Store ("Chicagoan," begun 1913) and Sears Tower (tame post-Modernism, 1974) reflected in the smoked glass skin of the Pacific Centre ("Mieseian," 1969), a roll-call of the major commercial styles to be found in Vancouver, straightway whets the appetite and, as Kalman rightly exhorts in the "Introduction," reminds the pedestrian to "remain alert" for the myriad visual experiences of the city. On the back cover are schematic maps holding out the promise of many such sights, supported by the considerable variety of architectural designs obvious from a brisk march through the generously illustrated pages of the book.
During recent years, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in Kingston has sponsored a series of one-man exhibitions of deceased Canadian artists. This ambitious programme has embraced such men as J. Harlow White, J.P. Cockburn, George Heriot and William Brymner; more are proposed for the future. Recently Daniel Fowler's name was added to the ever-growing list. This latest exhibition, organized by Frances K. Smith of the gallery staff, is a more mature version of a Fowler show held some years ago. Her reexamination is accompanied by a most ambitious and commendable catalogue which incorporates significant research material unearthed as a background to the presentation. Similar publications have accompanied all of the exhibitions and cumulatively provide a sizeable and important body of Canadian art literature. The Agnes Etherington's record of achievement in historical Canadian exhibitions and catalogues must surpass that of any other comparable gallery during a similar period, and indeed be the envy of the nation's largest institutions.
This 1978–1979 travelling exhibition and its accompanying catalogue is the first of its kind since the 1958 FitzGerald retrospective organized by the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada two years after the artist's death. Ann Davis and Patricia Bovey are to be commended for the research in the catalogue, especially for their investigations into FitzGerald's various stylistic sources. Charles Hill's work on the artist for his 1975 Canadian Painting in the Thirties exhibition and catalogue was a major step forward in creating interest and enthusiasm for FitzGerald's work. This most recent exhibition has given Canadians a further opportunity to view the art of this Winnipeg painter, the last member to join the expanded Group of Seven.
Modern Painting in Canada is an important book, the significance of which lies in its treatment of twentieth-century Canadian painting using the method of modernist analysis, in which "the new" is seen as a pivotal attribute. Because this is the first important example of formalist analysis brought to bear on modern Canadian art, its contribution to the development of more rigorous and intelligent art writing in Canada is unquestionable. The book's structure is a series of seven short essays: five by Terry Fenton and two by Karen Wilkin. The sequence of the essays (or statements) is determined by the authors' adherence to the theory of the inevitable, dialectical evolution of art as advocated by Clement Greenberg. This explains why, by necessity, there is no mention of the less influential painters or groups who were active during the past eighty years. Because of their exclusion, the authors avoid the question of the integration of the successive stages in the development of Canadian art.
The first three of a projected twenty-eight volume index to illustrations in the Canadian Illustrated News has recently been published. The index volumes correspond in numbering with those of the original which was bound in two volumes each year. Each volume of the index is made up of three sections. The first is an index to engravings as given in the original publication, the second a comprehensive list of engravings in order of appearance, and the third section is made up of topical indices to section two. Some of the topical categories are: "Artists," "Current Events," "Fashions," "Photographers," "Portraits" and "Topography." Also in the comprehensive list of engravings (section two) the dimensions, the date of the issue with pagination and, whenever possible, the name of the artist, are given.