Cover image for Canadian art in the twentieth century
Canadian art in the twentieth century
Murray, Joan, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Dundurn Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
272 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 33 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N6545 .M868 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order



Canadian Art in the Twentieth Century is a survey of the richest, most controversial and perhaps most thoroughly confusing centuries in the whole history of the visual arts in Canada - the period from 1900 to the present. Murray shows how, beginning with Tonalism at the start of the century, new directions in art emerged - starting with our early Modernists, among them Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven. Today, Modernism has lost its dominance. Artists, critics, and the public alike are confronted by a scene of unprecedented variety and complexity. Murray discusses the social and political events of the century in combination with the cultural context; movements, ideas, attitudes, and styles; the important groups in Canadian art, and major and minor artists and their works. Fully documented, well researched and written with clarity and over four hundred illustrations in both black-and-white and colour, Murray's book is essential for understanding Canadian art of this century. As an introduction, it is excellent in both its scope and intelligence.

Author Notes

Joan Murray is an eloquent spokesperson for the twentieth century in Canada, combining a critical eye with a historian's insight into wider trends. She is well known for her numerous books on Canadian art, which include her recent biography of Tom Thomson, Tom Thomson: Design for a Canadian Hero . As executive director of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, she has organized numerous exhibitions.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Murray has made a distinguished contribution to the study and discussion of Canadian art as curator and now director of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, Ontario. In this attractively produced and finely illustrated book she extends her expertise and knowledge of the major figures and movements in 20th- century visual culture in Canada. These publications range from her recent work Tom Thomson: Design for a Canadian Hero (Toronto, 1998) to her exhibition catalog Pilgrims in the Wilderness: The Struggle of the Canadian Group of Painters, 1933-1969 (McLaughlin Gallery, 1993). If historiographically conservative, the text is readable, informative, and remarkably comprehensive. Murray also combines intelligent assessment of individual and group artistic intention with summaries of the social and critical context. Equally judicious is the balance between the representative and the significant in the selection of illustrations interspersed throughout. These include archival photographs of the major art alliances of the century, and are supplemented by a concise chronology and useful bibliography. Murray has provided a reliable overview of modern Canadian painting and sculpture that will assist all levels of undergraduates and will interest general readers. R. W. Liscombe; University of British Columbia