In 1907 the Reverend Lawrence Skey (1867–1948) and other members of the Building Committee of St. Anne's Anglican Church in Toronto voted to replace their overcrowded Gothic Revival building with a neo-Byzantine structure. The design, by local architect William Ford Howland (1874–1948), included a centralized plan in the shape of a Greek cross, a plain brick exterior, a central dome sixty feet high resting on pendentives, and a raised chancel set in a semi-domed apse in the west arm of the cross. Thus the first church in Canada to adopt salient features of Byzantine architecture was erected in Toronto in 1908.
Grâce aux archives du comité du monument aux Patriotes qui ont été versées et sont toujours conservées à la Société historique de Montréal, nous sommes particulièrement bien renseignés sur ce monument, une œuvre importante du sculpteur Alfred Laliberté (1877–1953), inaugurée à Montréal le 24 juin 1926. Il nous est donné, de même, de cerner d'assez près le contexte dans lequel l'œuvre fut à la fois produite et reçue; contexte, qui, comme le note Raymond Montpetit, «est le lieu à partir duquel parle l'œuvre de Laliberté et, en même temps, l'espace où elle se diffuse pour atteindre la collectivité qu'elle cherche à interpeler».
Alfred Laliberté's Monument aux Patriotes
On June 24, 1926, the Monument aux Patriotes, an important work by Alfred Laliberté, was unveiled in Montreal. Thanks to the archives of the Committee for the Monument to the Patriotes discovered at the Montreal Historical Society, the context in which the work was produced and received can now be understood. During a special meeting of the Montreal Municipal Council, held on February 28, 1923, it was resolved that "the triangle formed by Notre-Dame and Craig Streets and Delorimier Avenue, in front of the Quebec Liquor Board building, where twelve of the Patriotes of the 1837–38 Rebellion died, would henceforth carry the name 'Place des Patriotes'." On the initiative of George A. Simard and Arthur Saint-Pierre, President and publicist respectively, of the Quebec Liquor Board, the Committee for the Monument to the Patriotes was established in the fall of 1923, with a membership that included among others the President of the Executive Committee of the City of Montreal and the presidents of the principal "interested National Societies." The Committee organized a huge public fundraising campaign, the results of which were periodically published in the newspapers. In spite of a contribution of $1,000 from the City of Montreal, by the spring of 1924 the Committee had collected barely $6,000 of the original objective of $20,000. It was therefore decided to request funding for the Monument from the Premier of the Province of Quebec, and $5,000 was received from the Government in December 1924.
Lors de la rédaction d'un texte sur la critique d'art pour le catalogue de l'exposition Peindre à Montréal, 1915–1930, j'ai été souvent amusée, parfois consternée et quelquefois surprise par les commentaires des critiques sur le rôle des femmes dans la diffusion de l'art ou par les réactions de ces mêmes critiques sur la production de femmes artistes. Le nombre de pages qui m'était imparti pour le texte de ce catalogue étant limité, je n'ai pu véritablement, sauf à l'occasion, traiter de cet aspect particulier de la reconnaissance de la présence des femmes dans le milieu de l'art. Sans prétendre d'aucune manière à l'exhaustivité, bien au contraire, le présent texte veut tout au moins attirer l'attention sur certains des éléments soulevés par le discours critique sur cette question du rapport des femmes à l'art.
Women, Art and the French Press in Montreal from 1915 to 1930
This text studies the manner in which French art criticism in Montreal treated the connection between women and art from 1915 to 1930. The function taken on by criticism with respect to women and art depends on the social class to which the women belong, with critics referring to three distinct social categories.
The first category is made up of factory workers, country-dwellers or lower-middle-class women labouring in the workforce. In the aftermath of World War I, there was growing concern about the presence of women in the workforce and whether they would return to the home after the War. While blaming "surrounding materialism" and the attraction of "high" salaries, critics nevertheless recognized that the "rising cost of living" might require women to continue to earn salaries. In this context some critics, those from the newspaper Le Devoir in particular, saw an opportunity for women's work in the development of the decorative arts, which would also "encourage local artists and nationalism in art."
Notes and Commentary
During the Victorian period architectural journals became increasingly important vehicles for the dissemination of ideas and styles. In this article I shall demonstrate the way in which Canadian trade journals, in particular Canadian Architect and Builder (CAB), helped to spread the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement and its offshoot, the "Queen Anne" style. The effect on small towns and cities in Canada was particularly interesting because it was here that architects tended to rely most heavily on periodicals for their understanding of new styles and techniques. I shall discuss three late-Victorian examples of Arts-and-Crafts-influenced houses in Kingston. Although it was a prosperous city in the late-nineteenth century, Kingston no longer had the political importance it enjoyed at mid-century, and does not have the grand and comparatively avant-garde houses found in Toronto and Montreal. Most or all of the local architects at this time had begun as builders or masons and lacked professional training or the experience of extensive travel. This tended to lead to interpretations of new styles that are often quite different from those in larger cities.
Rosemarie Tovell's catalogue, A New Class of Art: The Artist's Print in Canada 1877–1920 closes a significant gap in our knowledge of Canadian prints by bridging the void between Mary Allodi's groundbreaking Printmaking in Canada: The Earliest Views and Portraits, which deals with the period up to 1850, and my own Images of the Land: Canadian Block Prints 1919–1945. Tovell's book is comprehensive and detailed and she has established the foundation upon which all 20th-century Canadian printmaking rests. This is a prodigious work which has resulted from over two decades researching Canadian print history. Tovell has provided a pioneer study by ferreting out these rare prints, many long forgotten. In the process she has both built and augmented the National Gallery of Canada's permanent collection. This is particularly important for the 19th century prints which were printed in very limited editions and often discarded in their day due to their lack of success and public indifference. The National Gallery collection has supplied 86 of the 132 prints in the book and the associated exhibition. This demonstrates both Tovell's dedication and the initiative of previous Gallery curators and associates who in 1909 began the national print collection with such foresight. It is now the premier collection of Canadian prints.
In October 1952, the Canadian Abstract Exhibition was mounted at the YWCA in Oshawa, Ontario. The exhibition was not the first to show Canadian abstract work but it was the first such presentation with a national scope and it travelled to other Canadian centres. It was organized by a woman who had long been a defender of abstract art. Almost twenty years earlier, in 1933, she had written a vehement letter to the Oshawa press challenging the President of the Royal Canadian Academy, Wyly Grier, on his negative attitude to abstraction. The woman who accomplished this was the Canadian artist Alexandra Luke.