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Banner: From Colony to Country: A Reader's Guide to Canadian Military History


Canadian Military History: An Overview
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First World War
Art, Music and Literature

Art and the War

As did the other major participants in the war, the Canadian government recruited artists and photographers as part of the national war effort. The first initiatives came from Sir Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook, Canadian-born newspaper baron in Britain, who was the choice of Sir Sam Hughes as the government's recorder of Canadian actions overseas. The Canadian War Memorials Fund, officially a war charity, which grew out of Aitken's Canadian War Records Office, commissioned both Canadian and British artists to document the Canadian Expeditionary Force and the impact of the war at home. The use of both established and emerging artists, from a variety of schools of art, resulted in the creation of a powerful and evocative body of war art -- paintings, sculpture and photography. This story is told in a very fine volume of cultural history, Maria Tippett's Art at the service of war.

Exhibition catalogues are important in documenting and illustrating this body of war art, from the catalogues produced for the earliest showings to the recent millennium exhibition of Canadian war art at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, which was the occasion for the publication of the outstanding catalogue Canvas of war, compiled by Dean F. Oliver and Laura Brandon.

War art is also bound up with the postwar construction of war memorials. The reader should also consult the section Memorials, Monuments and Graves.

Canada in action : a souvenir of the Canadian War Memorials Exhibition : containing reproductions of some of the principal mural decorations, battle pictures, portraits, etc., which are to constitute Canada's permanent war memorial. -- [S.l.] : Canadian War Memorials Fund, 1919. -- 1 vol., chiefly ill.

Canadian War Memorials painting exhibition, 1920 : new series : the last phase. --[S.l. : s.n., s.d.]. -- 25 p.

Canadian War Records Office. -- Art and war : Canadian War memorials : a selection of the works executed for the Canadian War Memorials Fund to form a record of Canada's part in the Great War and a memorial to those Canadians who have made the great sacrifice. -- London : [s.n.], 1919. -- 1 vol., unpaged

____. -- Canadian War Memorials exhibition. -- [New York : s.n.], 1919. -- 48 p.

Halliday, H.A. -- Tragic victory = Une victoire tragique. -- Ottawa : National Museum of Man, National Museums of Canada, 1978. -- 61 p.

  • Exhibition catalogue.

Military Munnings : the Canadian war art of an equestrian painter from the Art Collection of the Canadian War Museum, 1917-1918 = Munnings, artiste militaire : les oeuvres canadiennes d'un peintre équestre provenant de la Collection d'art du Musée canadien de la guerre, 1917-1918. -- [S.l.] : Canadian War Museum ; Canadian Museum of Civilization, 1993. -- 56 p.

No man's land : the battlefield paintings of Mary Riter Hamilton, 1919-1922, University of Winnipeg Gallery November 5 - December 8, 1989 = Tableaux des champs de bataille de Mary Riter Hamilton, 1919-1922, Galerie de l'Université de Winnipeg du 5 novembre au 8 décembre 1989. -- Organized by Angela E. Davis and Sarah M. McKinnon. -- Winnipeg : Univ. of Winnipeg, 1989. -- 39 p.

* Oliver, Dean F. ; Brandon, Laura. -- Canvas of war : painting the Canadian experience, 1914 to 1945. -- Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre ; Ottawa : Canadian War Museum; Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, 2000. -- 178 p. -- Also published in French under the title: Tableaux de guerre : reflets de l'expérience canadienne, 1914 à 1945

Robertson, Heather, [comp.] -- A terrible beauty : the art of Canada at war. -- Toronto : J. Lorimer, 1977. -- 239 p.

Tippett, Maria. -- Art at the service of war : Canada, art, and the Great War. -- Toronto : Univ. of Toronto Press, 1984. -- 136 p.

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