Abstract Painting in Canada

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Douglas & McIntyre, 2008 - Art - 432 pages
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In the tradition of the distinguished Douglas & McIntyre art program, this lavishly illustrated and superbly printed book is a rich, readable history of abstract painting in Canada.

The story begins in the 1920s with the sometimes eccentric but remarkable work, rooted in symbolism and theosophy, of pioneers such as Kathleen Munn, Bertram Brooker and Lawren Harris. Two decades later the Automatistes-Canada's first truly independent avant-garde art movement-burst onto the scene in Montreal.
After the Second World War, the urge to abstraction spread across Canada, manifesting itself in significant regional movements. Vancouver painters retained a British flavour, while in Toronto, the Painters Eleven looked south to New York. Montreal's Plasticiens launched their own razor-edged interpretation of the European tradition of geometric abstraction. In the sixties and seventies, the Prairies were influenced by Clement Greenberg's post-painterly abstraction, while Halifax became a hub of conceptual art and concrete painting.

The book continues through the eighties and nineties, during which critics largely denounced painting, and concludes in the twenty-first century, with abstract painting alive and well again in the studios of Canada's young artists. A monumental tome containing 200 color reproductions, it mines a rich vein of art history ripe for international discovery.
 

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Contents

Acknowledgements
7
Rediscovering Abstraction
9
Pioneers of Canadian Abstraction 1920s
17
Later Pioneers 1930s and 1940s
31
The Automatistes 1940s and 1950s
53
Painters Eleven 1950s
91
Lyrical Abstraction 1950s
127
Emma Lake and the Regina Five 1960s
143
Exotic Modernism after 1970
247
Chapter n Saskatoon and Edmonton after 1970
287
PostPlasticien Painting after 1970
319
Conceptual Painting after 1970
337
Into the 1980s and 1990s
357
Chapter is At the Turn of the Millennium
375
Notes
404
Photograph Credits
420

The Plasticiens 1950s and 1960s
165
Geometric Hardedge 1960s
211
The Second Generation 1960s
231

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About the author (2008)

Roald Nasgaard, art historian and former chief curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, is the author of the critically acclaimed books The Mystic North, Abstract Painting in Canada, and The Automatiste Revolution. He lives in Toronto.

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