1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group Edited by Jacques Des Rochers and Brian Foss

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4to. pp. 351. profusely illustrated. biographies. bibliography. index. quarter cloth. London: Black Dog Publishing [in association with] The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, [2015].

 

A unique expose of the first Canadian painters collective, in which women played a vital role, and whose influence within the greater context of Canadian modernity has been long overlooked.

Taking their name from the downtown street in Montreal where members shared a studio in the early 1920s, The Beaver Hall Group were early adopters of new modernistic approaches to painting and explored their potential within a variety of genres, including portraiture, still lifes, landscapes and prescient scenes of urbanity. As well as providing an artistic window into the modern lives of Canadians during this transformational period of history, as a collective The Beaver Hall Group is exceptional for their inclusion of female artists as core members. Initially comprising of both genders, the group would become an all-female collective that includes some of Canada’s most celebrated modern painters. This book concentrates on 30 established artists including Mabel May, Barbara Meadowcroft, Emily Coonan and Kathleen Morris

Through a series of comprehensive contextual essays 1920s Modernism in Montreal interweaves the work of this pioneering artistic collective within a broader narrative of the arts in the first half of the twentieth century. Exploring the groups’ greater role in the modernity of Canada—and more specifically the cultural context of Montreal—the book takes on core themes such as the rise of the metropolis, juxtapositions between economic progress and cultural development, and the impact of gender on critical approaches to both artists and their work.

Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group was published in conjunction with  a major exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.