Walter Abell in Canada, 1928–1944
Contribution of an American Art Critic Towards the Social Integration of Art
Walter Abell, art teacher, aesthetician and critic, may be considered one of the major figures in the Canadian art world of the thirties and forties. Born in the United States, he received a grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York to teach at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Throughout his sixteen years in Canada, Abell was an active participant in the promotion of the visual arts and art education, first in the Maritimes, then in Quebec and Ontario. In 1935, he co-founded the Maritime Art Association, a co-operative enterprise of local associations for the support of the arts. In 1940, he became involved in the publication of Maritime Art; the first Canadian magazine devoted exclusively to the visual arts. From this regional experiment Canadian Art was born in 1943; its mandate was henceforth national. Abell was active on the editorial boards of both magazines and presented, in some twenty feature articles, his views on the situation and the development of the arts in Canada.