1936 – 1937

September 01, 1936 – August 31, 1937

Administration

As elected at the first annual meeting in May 1936:

President: Walter Abell
Vice-President, New Brunswick: Norman A. Hesler
Vice-President, Nova Scotia: John Meagher
Vice-President, Prince Edward Island: James Harris
Secretary: Violet Gillett
Treasurer: Louise Manny

Ex- officio members of the Executive:
A.R. Cobb, A.G. Bailey, H.H. Haggerman

Chairman of the publicity Committee:
E.D. Walsh

Membership

Same as in 1935-1936 with the addition of:

New Individual Members:
Mrs. Lawrence Hashey
Mrs. John Klinghorn
Mrs. Parker Currier
Mrs. Stephen G. Mooney

The first three women were members of the Fredericton Art Club, which was not a member of the Maritime Art Association.

Five exhibitions chosen for 1936-1937 exhibition season

Assembled by the Maritime Art Association:

Maritime Art Association’s Second Annual Exhibition: Water Colours, Pastels and Tempera by Artists of the Maritimes.

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Saint John
Fredericton
Sackville
Amherst
Charlottetown
Sydney
Halifax
Wolfville
Newcastle
Moncton

Artists included in the exhibition:
Frank D. Allison Mary F. Landry
Annie Beales Donald Cameron MacKay
Helen Beales Mollie Bell MacKay
John Bishop Gregory McGrath
Millar Brittain Christian McKiel
D. Edwin Campbell J.M. Pickens
H. Callaghan Margaret Porter
M. Lillian Clarke Edith Smith
Maura Cooke Marguerite Porter
Julia T. Crawford Avery Shaw
Freida I. Creelman Ruth Salter Wainwright
Frances Forbes Nellie E. Walsh
Violet A. Gillett Pearl V. Woods
Kathleen Grant J. LeRoy Zwicker
Gwendolyn Hales
Margaret Hibbert
Jack Humphrey

Assembled by the National Gallery of Canada:

Canadian Group of Painters

A selection of 36 paintings from this second annual exhibition including “many of the outstanding younger artists in Canada. A good survey of creative developments in the more modern phase of Canadian painting.” (MAA 1936-1937 Exhibitions List)

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Wolfville
Halifax
Saint John
Rothesay
Fredericton
Saint Andrews
Newcastle
Sackville
Charlottetown
Amherst
Sydney

Some of the artists included in this exhibition:
Arthur Lismer Carl Schaefer
A.Y. Jackson Emily Carr
Lawren Harris Bertram Brooker
Frank Carmichael Alexander Bercovitch
A.J. Casson Pegi Nicol

Modern Colour Prints

A selection of 104 original coloured prints from the Redfern Gallery in London, England, assembled for the National Gallery of Canada and featuring “contemporary European masters of the coloured print. An exhibition of unusually high artistic value.” (MAA 1936-1937 Exhibitions List)

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Sackville
Charlottetown
Prince Edward Island
Halifax
Newcastle
Moncton
Wolfville
Saint John
Rothesay
Fredericton

Second Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art

An exhibition of 218 works of photographers from around the world: “An exhibition which in an unusual degree combines artistic value with popular appeal.”

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Sackville
Charlottetown
Sydney
Saint Andrews
Newcastle
Moncton
Rothesay
Wolfville

Assembled by the Art Gallery of Toronto and circulated by the National Gallery of Canada.

Creative Art by Children

An exhibition assembled out of the work being done at the Art Gallery of Toronto children’s classes under the direction of Arthur Lismer. This exhibition is an opportunity to “catch the spirit of child art,” but also a way in which to see the importance and vision of art education. (MAA 1936-1937 Exhibitions List)

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Moncton
Amherst
Sackville
Saint John
Wolfville
Sydney
Newcastle

Two alternative exhibitions were also available from the National Gallery of Canada:

Stage and Costume Designs by Norman Wilkinson

“Originating from the Courtald Institute of London this exhibition focuses on the great strides made in British stage design in the 20th century by Norman Wilkinson. The designs that will be on display in this exhibition include those for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-Upon-Avon.” (MAA 1936 – 1937 Exhibitions List)

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Newcastle
Halifax
Rothesay
Saint John

Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colours

Assembled by the National Gallery of Canada:

Exhibition touring itinerary:
Rothesay
Newcastle
Fredericton

Notes
The cost to each center to secure the five suggested exhibitions was approximately $40.00; otherwise, fees per each of the five National Gallery exhibitions ranged from $6.00 to $10.00.

The Maritime Art Association received a $600.00 grant from the Carnegie Corporation in December 1936.

The Maritime Art Association sent its membership a list of books related to the exhibition themes for preparatory study of the subject.

Although the Maritime Art Association had purposely restricted the exhibitions to moderate size, some of the larger centers wanted to obtain at least one larger exhibition. Halifax borrowed an exhibition of Contemporary British Paintings from the National Gallery of Canada. Held at the Lord Nelson Hotel (as were the other five exhibitions of this season), Contemporary British Paintings was exhibited exclusively in Halifax. (Letter from G.H. Henderson to Carleton Stanley, May 08, 1937).

In the 1936-1937 exhibition year there were fifty-four showings of all exhibitions on the calendar compared with forty-nine in the 1935-1936 season.

With the increase in the number of exhibitions available this season, there was less regularity in the selections made by the centers as to which exhibitions they wished to present. Of the thirteen centers, only two took the five exhibitions suggested as a regular programme. Consequently, this made it difficult to circulate the exhibitions according to a regular rotation. In addition, centers changed exhibition dates that they had previously requested, causing some logistical havoc.

Entries for the Maritime Art Association’s Second Annual Exhibition: Water Colours, Pastels and Tempera by Artists of the Maritimes were sent to Toronto to be judged by three prominent artists: Peter Haworth, A.R.C.A., President of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, Charles F. Comfort, Vice-President of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, and Pegi Nicol, a member of the Canadian Group of Painters and Art Editor of the Canadian Forum. The panel chose forty works from an undocumented number of submissions. (Report of the President 1936-1937, p.5)

As a result of the judging panel’s recent experience of the quality of work emanating from the Maritimes, several Maritime artists were invited to submit work for the Annual Exhibition of the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour, held in Toronto.

A number of reproductions by Maritime artists were included in the “Yearbook of the Arts in Canada, 1936,” including Stanley Royle, Elizabeth S. Nutt, Avery Shaw, and Jack Humphrey.

Commentary

Canadian Group of Painters Exhibition commentary by Walter Abell, price 15¢.

Modern Colour Prints commentary by Mrs. P. A. Creelman and Miss Eleanor Low, price 10¢.

Creative Art by Children commentary by Violet A. Gillett, price 10¢.

Stage and Costume Design commentary by Louise Manney, price 10¢.

Paintings in Water Colour and Pastel by Artists of the Maritime Provinces commentary by Walter Abell, price 10¢.

In the President’s Report at the May 1937 Annual Meeting of the MAA, delegates emphasized the importance and necessity of the commentaries, and expressed their appreciation for their contents.

Lecturers available under the auspices of the National Gallery of Canada to member groups of the Maritime Art Association for the 1936-1937 season

Julius Held, Ph.D., Professor of Art at New York University; formerly of the Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Berlin: “Great Masters of the Netherlands and Germany.”

Eric Newton, artist and critic from London, England: “Modern Art.”

List of lecturers resident in the Maritime Provinces available to member groups of the Maritime Art Association for the 1936-1937 season

Walter Abell, M.A., Professor of Art, Acadian University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia: “New Directions in Canadian Painting;” Twentieth Century Architecture;” “A Key to Art.”

Alfred G. Bailey, Ph.D., Assistant Director, the New Brunswick Museum, Saint John, New Brunswick: “The Artist as Historian, with Special Reference to Canada.”

Violet A. Gillett, Head of Art Department, Saint John Vocational School, Saint John, New Brunswick: “A Plea for the Furtherance of Art Education in the Public Schools;” “Modern Art;” “Development and History of Letters.”

Helen Mowat, Director of Charlotte County Craft, Saint Andrews, New Brunswick: “Development of Native Arts and Crafts in the Maritime Provinces.”

Avery Shaw, Painter, Member of the Nova Scotia Artist’s Association, and the Halifax Group: “Pigments and Permanency,” “The Media of Painting;” “Technique in Painting.”

Notes
Many lectures were illustrated with lantern slides or with pictures shown through an opaque projector.

Dr. Julius Held lectured on Rembrandt in the Chemistry Theatre at Dalhousie University on January 14, 1936. He also lectured in Saint John and in Wolfville.

Eric Newton gave his lecture “Modern Art” in the Chemistry Theatre at Dalhousie University. He also lectured at Saint John and in Sackville.

Walter Abell gave his lecture “New Directions in Canadian Painting” at the Netherwood School in Rothesay, New Brunswick on February 10 and at the Saint John Art Club on February 11. On February 12, he gave his lecture “Twentieth Century Architecture” at the Collegiate School in Rothesay. Abell also lectured in Halifax.

Violet Gillett lectured at Saint Andrews and Rothesay.

At the annual meeting held 13-15 May 1937, Dr. Alfred Bailey noted a large attendance of about 760 persons at Dr. Held’s lecture in Saint John. He went on to say that while the lectures of Mr. Newton and Professor Abell were not quite so highly attended, they were “most provocative to thought and discussion and increased greatly the interest in art matters.” (Minutes of the Second Annual Meeting of the Maritime Art Association, 13-14 May 1937).

Miss Cannal of the Netherwood School noted at that same annual meeting that Walter Abell’s lecture given prior to a viewing of the Canadian Group of Painters Exhibition “aroused great interest among the students and the general population of the village of Rothesay.” (Minutes of the Second Annual Meeting of the Maritime Art Association, 13- 14 May 1937).

The lecturers available in the Maritime Provinces, the list of which was compiled as a result of the first annual meeting of the Maritime Art Association, were ultimately not used to their full availability or potential. At the 1936-1937 Annual Meeting it was again asked that a list of available lecturers be forwarded to each group.

In an undated letter from the Summer/Fall 1936, Walter Abell asks MAA members to submit illustrations for a new magazine-style Maritime Art Association publication. Abell refers to a previous letter in which he requested submissions of “news notes and articles.” This is the first known mention of what would become Maritime Art Magazine in 1940.

Annual Meeting

13-15 May 1937, Shirreff Hall, Dalhousie University, Halifax Nova Scotia
14 May 1937, Executive Meeting

Chairs: John N. Meagher
Walter Abell

Dates and hours of sessions:

13 May – 7:30p.m. Opening session. Informal reports by representatives of local
groups telling of the year’s activities in their communities.

9:30 p.m. Lord Nelson Hotel. Preview for Association members of the
Annual Exhibition of the Nova Scotia Society of Artists.

14 May – 9:30 a.m. Business session. President’s report. Discussion of activities
connected with exhibitions and lectures.

2:30 p.m. Business session. Treasurer’s report. Discuss organization
problems. Election of officers.

7:00 p.m. Dinner at the Green Lantern Restaurant; round table
discussion “The Value of Art in Modern Life.”

15 May – 9:30 a.m. Meeting of newly elected Executive.

Election of Officers for 1937 – 1938:

President: John N. Meagher
Vice-President, New Brunswick: Stanley Royle
Vice-President, Nova Scotia: Harry Piers
Vice-President, Prince Edward Island: Austin Lawrence Wright
Secretary: Violet Gillett
Treasurer: Gregory McGrath

Ex-officio members of the Executive:
Edith Smith, Dr. Alfred Bailey, Donald McKay, Norman Hesler

Notes
Stanley Royle was a British painter, known primarily for his landscapes. He was the director of the Owens Art Museum and College of Art at Mount Allison, where he also served as professor of drawing and painting.
Harry Piers was curator of the Nova Scotia Museum.
Austin Lawrence Wright was a Nova Scotia painter.
Edith Smith was head of the art department of the Halifax Ladies College.
Donald MacKay was Vice-Principal of the Nova Scotia College of Art; he was known primarily as a painter and muralist.

Walter Abell did not allow his name to be put forward as an MAA officer as he was preparing for a one-year leave from teaching at Acadia. Although he had received a small grant from the Carnegie Corporation to study art education at Columbia University in New York, he spent his 1937-38 sabbatical year as the Supervisor of Education at the Museums of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences (now the Brooklyn Museum).

The Art Society of Prince Edward Island, represented by Mr. A.L. Wright, reported a successful year, with a growing interest in the society’s activities. The three exhibitions that were shown from the MAA 1936-1937 traveling circuit inspired a group of people to form a Sketch Club.

The New Glasgow Arts and Letters Club announced a very favourable year, singling out Walter Abell’s lecture and the Canadian Group of Painters Exhibition (attended by over one thousand people) as high points in the season. The Club’s representative, Miss Turner, added that there is renewed interest in their activities because of these programmes.

Elizabeth Nutt, Principal and representative of the Nova Scotia College of Art discussed the benefits to her students through the study of the MAA traveling exhibitions, ameliorated by lectures prepared by staff members of the college. Miss Nutt then invited the delegates to attend the College’s annual exhibition the following day.

The Nova Scotia Society of Artists was represented by Avery Shaw. He reported that the Costume Designs by Norman Wilkinson and the Contemporary Czechoslovakian Prints exhibitions failed to captivate the general public (he did note the latter’s appeal to students and artists in the city). The Canadian Group of Painters Exhibition, was well-received, but the paintings were often not understood; even so, it did provoke discussion “among the laymen.” The exhibition of contemporary British paintings from the National Gallery of Canada (from the current exhibition year) was deemed somewhat of a disappointment by the Society’s members, but was well-attended by the public. The Paintings in Water Colour and Pastel by Artists of the Maritime Provinces current exhibition garnered the most interest and comment. Mr. Shaw and some of his fellow members put forth that perhaps one outstanding exhibition a year might be preferable to several of lesser quality.

Mary Hashey represented the Fredericton Art Club and the provincial Normal School. Although the Fredericton Art Club is not a member of the MAA, it does work with the Provincial Normal School. The club holds lively weekly meetings, and have begun a Saturday morning children’s art class. The Club also awards prizes in the Fredericton Public schools for children’s creative artwork. Mrs. Hashey reported that the Second Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art exhibition created the most interest, however her report on the exhibition of paintings echoed that of Mr. Shaw – the public did not understand the work. Through a discussion of the delegates present, it was suggested that members of the Fredericton Art Club prepare lectures and offer them at intervals during the time the exhibition is showing in there city.

Dr. Alfred Bailey noted the last year as the most successful in the history of the Saint John Art Club. The Art Club and the Saint John Vocational School jointly sponsored five exhibitions and three lectures through the MAA, and secured a sixth through their own offices.

As most projects were carried out together, Violet Gillett of Saint John Vocational School reported along similar lines to Dr. Bailey. Miss Gillett pointed out that each exhibition is shown for two weeks in Saint John; once in the downtown area sponsored by the Art Club and then for a week in the Vocational School. “The Art Department of the school particularly appreciates the privilege of access given to the exhibitions and lectures through the Maritime Art Association and is finding them a great benefit. The exhibitions are arousing a steadily increasing interest in the student body.” (Minutes of the Second Annual Meeting of the Maritime Art Association 13-14 May 1937).

Miss Cannal reiterated similar commentary on behalf of the Netherwood School, expressing appreciation for the work done by the MAA and the great benefit it has been to the school in general.

A written report was sent by Cora Wilson of the Moncton Art Society. The society has obtained space in that city’s New Federal Building for an art gallery; art classes are given there by Mrs. E.R. Hart of Sackville. The Canadian Group of Painters exhibition inaugurated the new gallery space; the two other exhibitions mounted during the season at Moncton, Creative Art by Children and the Second Canadian International Salon of Photographic Art created particular interest. During the winter Mrs. J. Clarence Webster spoke on pottery and Mrs. A.S. Robinson lectured on pictures in the Gallery.

The issue of most concern at last year’s meeting was the delay encountered in starting the exhibition season in the autumn, often caused by difficulties obtaining and distributing educational and publicity materials. It was resolved to ask the National Gallery of Canada to provide these materials in advance of each exhibition season. Unfortunately, the National Gallery replied that it does not have adequate staff to accommodate this request.

Some dissatisfaction was expressed due to certain exhibitions not arriving on schedule. Upon discussion, it was realized that this was due to changes made in the traveling exhibition timetable decided upon last fall. The changes were made to accommodate centers who requested them after acceptance of the agreed schedule. It was determined that centers should in future request any changes to the timetable when presented with it in the fall. It was then requested that a full list of the exhibitions and their finalized touring circuit be forwarded to each center in the autumn.

The publicity committee that was appointed last year was unable to fulfill its major designated tasks: to prepare an advance notice for each exhibition that would be suitable for use in newspapers, and “compiling a list of newspapers and service clubs to which letters should be sent.” It was put to the executive that, working from the “central agency” of the MAA, when the commentary was written for an exhibition, newspaper material should also be prepared. A set of each should then be forwarded to each center, so that it may prepare programs well in advance of the arrival of the exhibitions. (Report of the President 1936-1937, p.7)

Also at the inaugural annual meeting of the MAA, it had been resolved to ask the National Gallery to curate or assist the MAA in presenting an exhibition surrounding the theme of the principles of design. The Gallery has now replied that it is without resources to assist in such an endeavour at this time.

Dr. Carleton Stanley, President of Dalhousie University, spoke at the Saturday afternoon session. “Dr. Stanley complimented the association upon the work it has been doing and spoke upon a fear of a despondency which may be found in any educational group due to the difficulty of contending against the decadent aspects of Hollywood, the radio and other such unfortunate aspects of modern life. The aim should be definitely to bring about a state of mind of appreciation of everyday beauty, to encourage the young people in particular by exhibitions of various kinds, to once again produce the beauty which should be the beauty incident to the creation of everyday things of use, such as that intrinsic beauty of proportion almost invariably founding the architecture of Quebec and the Maritimes fifty years ago.” (Minutes of the Second Annual Meeting of the Maritime Art Association 13-14 May 1937).

John Meagher unveiled the list of exhibitions available from the National Gallery of Canada for the upcoming season and requested the input of the assembled delegates on which of those the MAA should chose to circulate. The exhibitions available were as follows: The Royal Canadian Academy Exhibition: 1937-1938, Fourth International Salon of Photographic Art, John and Brookhurst Etchings, Canadian Association of Paintings In Water Colour, Durer Facsimiles, Book Illustration and Fine Printing, Original Work of Cinema Art Directors, Contemporary Polish Prints, and Contemporary International Lithographs. After discussing these possibilities, it was decided by the delegates that the Executive choose the exhibition for the MAA 1937-1938 exhibition season, with the caveat that the The Royal Canadian Academy Exhibition: 1937-1938 be included among their choices.

Violet Gillett informed those assembled that a library list would be forwarded to the centers along with the President’s Report and the minutes of the 1936-1937 annual meeting.

It was voted that Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island would be the location of the MAA’s 1938 annual meeting.