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Art for War and Peace

October 27, 2015
J.E.H. MacDonald,

J.E.H. MacDonald, “Mist Fantasy” c.1943, silkscreen printed by Sampson-Matthews Limited, 30×40 in.

We’ve begun to gear up for our exhibition and sale of the historically meaningful silkscreen prints from the Sampson-Matthews Print Program. Our exhibition is in conjunction with the launch of a new book about the project by Ian Sigvaldason and Steedman, Art for War and Peace: How a Great Art Project Helped Canada Discover ItselfThe book is thoughtful, fascinating and sometimes humorous, diving deep into the way the project shaped the nation’s identity.

Because we can’t fully contain our excitement for another week and a half, following is an excerpt from the book and a sampling of works from the show. Keep an eye on our website the online preview, coming soon.

In 1948, writer Blodwen Davis described the wartime silkscreens as an “example of the way in which art becomes a community asset.” The whole project certainly reinforced the Group of Seven’s central role in the country’s art and the primacy of landscape as the raw material of Canadian identity. A thousand beer ads are in its debt.

The program was a grandiose exercise in art education, a coming together of culture, commerce and patriotism that only a world war could ever create. Watch the Oscar-winning film Argo and you’ll see two Sampson-Matthews prints in our ambassador’s Tehran home, benevolent totems assuring the plotters that everything will be all right; this is Canada, relax

Charles Comfort,

Charles Comfort, “Algonquin Lake” silkscreened by Sampson-Matthews Limited, 30×40 in.

Yvonne McKague Housser,

Yvonne McKague Housser, “Evening, Nipigon River” silkscreened by Sampson-Matthews Limited, 30×40 in.

Thomas Harold,

Harold Beament, “On the Lookout” silkscreened by Sampson-Matthews Limited, 29.25×37.25 in.

J.W. Morrice,

J.W. Morrice, “The Ferry, Quebec” silkscreened by Sampson-Matthews Ltd., 30×40 in.

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