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Canadian social comment art in the thirties Smith, Toby Maureen 1984

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CANADIAN SOCIAL COMMENT ART IN THE THIRTIES By TOBY MAUREEN SMITH B.A., The-University of British Columbia, 1980 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Fine Arts We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1984 ©Toby Maureen Smith, 1984 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e h e a d o f my d e p a r t m e n t o r b y h i s o r h e r r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t b e a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t o f F ine A r t s The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 Date 5 October 1984 ABSTRACT The Depression i n Canada was a period of economic and s o c i a l d i s t r e s s . Loss of optimism, r e s t r a i n t i n development and severe phys i c a l hardship characterized the era. At the same time, s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l resistence to t h i s collapse appeared i n every facet of Canadian society, with the v i s u a l arts being no exception. In the early part of the decade, protest through art appeared i n the form of a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t cartoons and i l l u s t r a t i o n s p r i n t e d i n commun-i s t - a f f i l i a t e d p u b l i c a t i o n s . They were p o l i t i c a l l y direct,and v i s u a l l y unsophisticated. Their s p e c i f i c purpose was t b ^ r a i s e the class conscious-ness of the working class and i n c i t e them to overthrow the c a p i t a l i s t system. In the mid t h i r t i e s , however, elements of s o c i a l comment began appearing more frequently i n the works of f i n e a r t i s t s . Although the c r i t i c i s m varied from i n t e n t i o n a l and d i r e c t to unintentional and subtle, i t was usually anti-poverty and anti-Depression i n focus rather than s p e c i f i c a l l y a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t . T r a d i t i o n a l aesthetic qual-i t i e s were a consistently e s s e n t i a l aspect of these works. Why did t h i s s h i f t i n the nature of s o c i a l comment art take place i n the mid t h i r t i e s , what i n t e r e s t s were represented,and how does t h i s contribute to a better understanding of the Depression i n Canada? These questions w i l l be investigated i n r e l a t i o n to the p o l i t i c a l l e f t i n Canada, as i t i s here where s o c i a l comment art received i t s support. As w i l l be discussed, a rupture within the l e f t which involved a struggle for hegemony between the Communist Party and the newly formed Cooperative Commonwealth Federation resulted, by 1935, i n s o c i a l democracy gaining primacy over communism as the dominant p o l i t i c a l ideology of the l e f t i n Canada. Through the analysis of three works: Petroushka by Paraskeva Clark, Orchard by Carl Schaefer, and "D'Ye Ken John  Peel?" by M i l l e r B r i t t a i n , i t w i l l be shown how the " f i n e a r t " s o c i a l comment of the mid t h i r t i e s functioned as the v i s u a l ideology of the new l e f t and propagated values consistent with i t s s h i f t from working class to middle class base, and i t s factionalism, i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m and s p i r i t of compromise. TABLE OF CONTENTS page List of Illustrations v Introduction 1 Chapter One 8 Chapter Two 42 Conclusion 97 Selected Bibliography 104 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS page Fig. 1 September Gale, Arthur Lismer 11 Fig. 2 Group of Seven, Avrom 31 Fig. 3 Cover, Worker's Unity, June 1932 35 Fig, 4 Petroushka, Paraskeva Clark 75 Fig, 5 Orchard, Township Bentinck, Hanover, Carl Schaefer 80 Fig. 6 "D'Ye Ken John Peel?", Miller Brittain . . 87 INTRODUCTION I t i s w e l l known that the Depression was a period of unprecedent-ed economic and s o c i a l d i s r u p t i o n . In response to the d i s i n t e g r a t i n g economy and burgeoning s o c i a l problems, a l l facets of Canadian society found avenues of protest and resistance. Through the establishment of new p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s , union organization, and acts of c i v i l diso-bedience, d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the e x i s t i n g s i t u a t i o n was registered. Was a r t , with i t s associations of perception and s e n s i t i v i t y , a part of this resistance? What forms did i t take and was i t successful? Was protest i s o l a t e d or was i t part of a t o t a l c u l t u r a l response? Because the analysis and a r t i c u l a t i o n of much s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m came from a s o c i a l i s t perspective i t w i l l be i n s t r u c t i v e to examine what impact the Depression had on the p o l i t i c a l l e f t , which experienced considerable disruption at this time. Why did d i v i s i o n s within the l e f t , which had been there f o r years, become fr a c t u r i n g during the t h i r t i e s ? Although there were many i n t e r e s t groups and parties operating within the l e f t , focus here w i l l be on the struggle between the Communist Party and the Cooperative Common-wealth Federation. This rupture i s s i g n i f i c a n t because from i t emerged the formal organization and recognition of the s o c i a l demo-c r a t i c l e f t i n Canada, one of the most s i g n i f i c a n t and l a s t i n g aspects of the Depression's legacy. Did th i s rupture have an impact on the art I t w i l l f i r s t be necessary to e s t a b l i s h a frame of reference with which to compare the s o c i a l comment art of the mid t h i r t i e s . One part 2 of t h i s w i l l be a close consideration of the dominant painting s t y l e during the twenties and early t h i r t i e s ; the wilderness landscape paint-ed i n the Group of Seven manner. Formal analysis of t h i s s t y l e and the r o l e of the a r t i s t s at the time reveals a s p i r i t of confidence, chance, courage, and adventure. These values were consistent with, indeed were e s s e n t i a l to, the entreprenuerial nature of the n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y associated with the r i s i n g financial/commercial class. The character of nationalism during the twenties was t i e d to the notion of a colony breaking free from the dominance of the colonial, power and e s t a b l i s h i n g i t s e l f as an independent nation. Discussion of t h i s w i l l consider the struggle f o r power within the f i n a n c i a l e l i t e of the country and the concomitant fundamental changes i n the economic base during this period. As w i l l be explained more f u l l y , the wilderness landscape function-ed as v i s u a l support for the new entreprenuerial Canadian i d e n t i t y ; at the same time i t acted as a c r i t i q u e of the dependent, colonial...status of the dominion. This i s not to imply that these a r t i s t s were i n any way formally organized along p o l i t i c a l l i n e s or that they consciously applied t h e i r art to the s p e c i f i c purposes of any p o l i t i c a l ideology. I t i s Important to understand what i n t e r e s t s and values were repre-sented by the wilderness landscape because i t remained the dominant t r a d i t i o n into the early t h i r t i e s . During the Depression, however, a growing number of a r t i s t s and c r i t i c s became c r i t i c a l of the con-tinued emphasis on uninhabited, remote backcountry as steady subject matter. Whereas i n the 1920's the wilderness landscape was a symbol 3 of nation a l truth s t r i k i n g against c o l o n i a l domination, by the 1930's i t became to a new age of n a t i o n a l i s t s an escape from truth i n that i t f a i l e d to take account of the s o c i a l and economic devastation of the Depression. Not a l l a r t i s t s affirmed entreprenuerial capitalism i n th i s period, however. Some rejected the c a p i t a l i s t system i n general, whether administered from B r i t a i n , the United States or Ottawa. During the twenties and early t h i r t i e s a r t i s t s who wished to make a p u b l i c p o l i t i c a l protest through t h e i r a r t , f o r the most part d i d so through the context of the communist l e f t . For the purposes of the argument presented here, i t w i l l be h e l p f u l to examine the nature of that a r t . The most consistent forms t h i s work took was i l l u s t r a t i o n and cartoons In the wide v a r i e t y of Communist Party p u b l i c a t i o n s . Masses, organ of the Progressive Arts Club, an organization with loose Communist Party associations, focussed on the a r t s . I t acted as the agent through which the r o l e . o f art and the a r t i s t were defined from a communist point of view. An analysis of selected images i n Communist Party-supported period-i c a l s w i l l be h e l p f u l i n determining the nature of the v i s u a l ideology of the communist l e f t . Through the use of simple formal construction, recognizeable symbols and r e p e t i t i o n of theme, clear messages are imparted to the viewer. These images i l l u s t r a t e the g l a r i n g inequal-i t i e s between the r u l i n g class and the majority of workers and have the purpose of i n c i t i n g the producing class to r i s e up against the ex i s t i n g system. The c u l t u r a l message i s that a r t i s t s must use t h e i r 4 art as a p o l i t i c a l weapon i n the class struggle. Consequently, a large proportion of art which functioned as s o c i a l comment i n the twenties and early t h i r t i e s did so i n a f u l l y conscious and d i r e c t manner and was produced with the e x p l i c i t purpose of i n s p i r i n g the p r o l e t a r i a n worker to overthrow the c a p i t a l i s t system and e s t a b l i s h a communist society based on the Soviet model. This was the a r t of a confident movement. With a f a i t h based l a r g e l y on the Bolshevik Revolution, the Canadian Communist Party boldly asserted i t s i d e o l -ogy and i t s programmes. This included v i c i o u s l y attacking reformism and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). The establishment of the CCF, a s o c i a l democratic party i n the early t h i r t i e s , i n i t i a t e d a struggle f o r dominance within the p o l i t i c a l l e f t . The CCF appealed to i n d u s t r i a l workers, farmers, professionals and i n t e l l e c t u a l s . With this broader base I t became popular very quickly and i n a short time appeared to the Communist Party as a threat to t h e i r influence with working people. However, the r i s e of fascism throughout the world and the v i o l e n t destruction of the German l e f t by H i t l e r during the t h i r t i e s l e d to a change i n p o l i c y among communist p a r t i e s a f f i l i a t e d with the Communist International. The United Front p o l i c y adopted by the Canadian Communist Party i n 1935 was a programme of compromise and c o n c i l i a t i o n . A f t e r t h i s point the struggle was over and s o c i a l demo-cracy emerged as the dominant ideology within the p o l i t i c a l l e f t i n Canada. What impact did t h i s i d e o l o g i c a l change have on the a r t which functioned as s o c i a l comment i n the 1930's? The CP's greatly diminished confidence to be d i r e c t , a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t and assertive w i l l be discussed within the context of the communist l e f t ' s disillusionment i n the face of the S t a l i n i z a t i o n of the Soviet Union and the anti-communist, 5 anti-union climate i n Ontario. The new party had a sophisticated analysis of Canadian h i s t o r y and economics, and although i t considered i t s e l f a party of workers, farmers and professionals, i t s publications were aimed at a middle class and educated audience. Canadian Forum, organ of the CCF, acted as a forum f o r debate on the l e f t and i n t h i s , c u l t u r a l questions were included. New F r o n t i e r , a journal of far t h e r l e f t / U n i t e d Front sympathies, was more s p e c i f i c a l l y c u l t u r a l i n i t s focus. Poetry, f i c t i o n and artworks were reproduced along with theoret-i c a l discussions on the r o l e of the a r t i s t . How was the r o l e of the a r t i s t affected by the Depression? The new v i s u a l ideology supported a r t which focussed on people and urban or farm settings rather than u n c i v i l i z e d wilderness. At the same time, however, this human focus was a r t f u l i n presentation. Because of the importance of t r a d i t i o n a l aesthetics and the vague i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of s o c i a l consciousness i n a r t , some works were i d e n t i f i e d as s o c i a l l y aware art which contained c r i t i c a l elements but which were not themselves obviously a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t i c and were not intended to be so by the a r t i s t s . Like the new l e f t , t h i s a r t was based on compromise and a desire to c r i t i c i z e from within the system. Rather than f i n d i n g form i n cartoon and i l l u s t r a t i o n , the s o c i a l comment a r t of the mid t h i r t i e s existed i n a Fine Art context, produced p r i m a r i l y as easel paintings, exhibited i n g a l l e r i e s and sold as commodities to the patron class. Through an analysis of three d i f f e r e n t examples of works which function as s o c i a l comment from t h i s period, i t w i l l be po s s i b l e 6 to i l l u s t r a t e how the perspective and values of the s o c i a l democratic l e f t found expression i n the f i n e arts i n the mid t h i r t i e s . There were many a r t i s t s working i n this period within d i f f e r e n t media and from various points of view. Printmaking and watercolour enjoyed a resurgence of popularity. Leonard Hutchinson produced many p r i n t s of Depression conditions. F r i t z Brandtner frequently published anti-war drawings as w e l l as holding an e x h i b i t i o n and sale of h i s works to r a i s e money for aid to the Spanish C i v i l War. Laurence Hyde worked with l e f t p e r i o d i c a l s as art d i r e c t o r and i l l u s t r a t o r , at the same time as he produced works i n a f i n e a r t context. Petroushka, by Paraskeva Clark, a s t r e e t scene i n v o l v i n g a puppet show, i s the most d i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l . I t was intended to be so by the a r t i s t , and t h i s painting i s not an-anomaly i n her work. She was a close f r i e n d of Norman Bethune and painted a s t i l l l i f e of objects he sent her from the Spanish C i v i l War. In 1938 Clark painted P o r t r a i t of Mao with p o l i t i c a l posters from China and Spain i n the background. And there are others, also i n t e n t i o n a l l y p o l i t i c a l . C a r l Schaefer's Orchard, Township Bentinsk, Hanover ca r r i e s no obvious p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m , but functions i n a more symbolic manner. This work i s important because i t represents the c i v i l i z e d , human landscape but also because of i t s stark v i o l e n t nature. Schaefer painted many landscapes i n the twenties and t h i r t i e s and included a dead tree i n some of those works. But i n the mid t h i r t i e s he produced several o i l paintings which included disturbing elements i n a s i g n i f i c a n t degree. Another of h i s works from t h i s period, Summer Harvest,caused a s t i r i n the press because of i t s presentation of bleak and barren f i e l d s and tree with good harvest. Many works 7 during t h i s period, by Schaefer, make use of black and ominous storm clouds. Storm Over the F i e l d s from 1937 juxtaposes black clouds with br i g h t yellow wheat f i e l d s and high winds. Orchard, however, i s used f o r the purposes of t h i s argument because i t represents the extreme: there are no o p t i m i s t i c elements—no yellow wheatfields, no r o l l i n g h i l l s , no p i l e s of hay. "D 'Ye Ken John Peel?" w i l l be the t h i r d artwork discussed. A s a t i r i c a l charcoal drawing by M i l l e r B r i t t a i n , i t i s i n appearance much l i k e the i l l u s t r a t i o n s from Communist Party publications a decade e a r l i e r . This work w i l l be considered because although i t looks l i k e a cartoon, i t was praised f o r i t s high aes-t h e t i c f i n e a r t q u a l i t i e s . B r i t t a i n ' s drawings also represent some of the few examples of c l e a r l y s a t i r i c a l works from t h i s period. The form and content of Petroushka, Orchard and "D'Ye Ken John Peel?" w i l l be analyzed i n r e l a t i o n to the wilderness landscape, e a r l i e r s o c i a l comment work and the rupture within the p o l i t i c a l l e f t i n order to a r t i c u l a t e and explain the fundamental changes i n th i s a r t which occurred i n the mid t h i r t i e s . 8 CHAPTER ONE The dominant theme of English Canadian art throughout the twenties and t h i r t i e s was the wilderness landscape, painted i n a manner associated with the Group of Seven. Explanation of t h i s work w i l l focus on a contemporary power struggle within the Canadian f i n a n c i a l e l i t e that was manifested i n part through a fervent nat-ionalism which found expression i n the wilderness landscape s t y l e . In s p i t e of infrequent sales and great e f f o r t by some to prevent the wilderness landscape of the Group from becoming established as the "true Canadian painting s t y l e " , by the l a t e 1920's the a r t i s t s of the Group of Seven had made a permanent niche for themselves i n Canadian a r t h i s t o r y . Because they maintained t h e i r influence over many young painters and because to others they represented, by the early t h i r t i e s , an outdated immoveable t r a d i t i o n which c a r r i e d no t h i s s t y l e so popular. The second part of t h i s chapter w i l l look at how s o c i a l comment ar t expressed I t s e l f In the e a r l y 1930's and why i t appeared i n the form i t did. As i t was associated with the communist l e f t , i t i s appropriate to investigate the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the communist aesthetic and e s t a b l i s h what values i t represented. The nature of Canadian painting i n the early 1930's was determined by the a r t i s t i c developments of the 1920's. During the twenties the Group of Seven moved from being perceived as r a d i c a l experimenters to having established a r t i s t s with a highly i n f l u e n t i a l s t y l e . Even by 1933 when they formally disbanded, the subsequent Canadian Group of Painters was dominated by the s p i r i t of the Seven and t h e i r imitators.''' The wilderness landscape had become the established theme with which to represent non-urban Canada. Na t i o n a l l y and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y i t was recognized by most observers as the l o g i c a l l y representative s t y l e of a country so dominated by vast expanses of undomesticated wilds. A 1932 a r t i c l e i n Apollo, e n t i t l e d "Canadian Landscape of To-Day" maintains that focus" on i s o l a t e d mountains, streams and forests as chief subject matter i s one of the things that gives Canadian painting i t s t y p i c a l character. Furthermore i t states, "The pioneers of the e a r l i e r years are s t i l l the leaders of today, although they have now been reinforced 2 by a group of younger men. " There i s no h i n t i n this a r t i c l e of d i s -s a t i s f a c t i o n among a r t i s t s with the emphasis on landscape i n Canadian painting. I t i s implied that the wilderness landscape remained strong as a genre, and that i t continued to have a challenging impact on i t s h i s t o r i c a l juncture almost ten years a f t e r t h e i r f i r s t major i n t e r -national success at the Wembly e x h i b i t i o n i n 1924. This was more than 15 years a f t e r e a r l y members of the Group such as A.Y. Jackson and J.E.H. McDonald began to show t h e i r works to the p u b l i c . I t also implies that young new a r t i s t s f i n d s a t i s f a c t i o n i n following acceptable, popular ideas and see no need to challenge them. Although i n d i v i d u a l works have t h e i r own p a r t i c u l a r q u a l i t i e s , there are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are common to the wilderness landscape. In spite of i t s emphasis on the wilds of nature with frequent storms and high winds, a sense of fear or uneasiness i s never r e a l l y transmitted to the viewer. U n f a m i l i a r i t y with the region removes most viewers from d i r e c t understanding of and s e n s i t i v i t y to the l i f e - t h r e a t e n i n g p o s s i b i l i t i e s of such, natural hazards as northern storms, i s o l a t e d wilderness, and large deep lakes. Danger and apprehension are not responses because the threat remains i n the abstract. In September  Gale Cfig. 1) by Arthur Lismer we are exposed to none of the t e r r o r of gale force winds over water. Although the waves and some of the trees are blown to the l e f t , the large rocks i n the foreground counter-act that movement and thus defuse the power of the storm-excited waves. The prominant pine tree does not bend much i n the wind and i s con-cr e t e l y anchored both i n terms of geographic and p i c t o r i a l s tructure. Panoramic view, very common i n these works indicates the vastness of u n c i v i l i z e d area there i s i n t h i s country. The perspective i s presented i n an i l l u s l o n i s t i c , conventional manner. S t a b i l i t y i s reinforced compositionally with the use of large shapes handled i n a r e l a t i v e l y f l a t manner. The broad handling of the paint denies any sense of a g i t a t i o n , j u s t as there are no harsh angles or d i s -turbing s p a c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s . Even i n works where one i s confronted by a looming mountain or h i g h c l i f f s they are painted i n t h i s same loose, comfortable way and exude more a f e e l i n g of solemnity and respect for nature's beauty than sublimination and fear as i n the German Romantic t r a d i t i o n or the e a r l y Hudson River School. Intense colours applied i n thick impasto create a r i c h surface, Fig.l Arthur Lismer, September Gale 1921 Reprinted from John A. B. McLeish, September  Gale: A Study of Arthur Lismer of the Group  of Seven (Toronto: J, M. Dent & Sons (Canada) Ltd., 1955), p. 84. as w e l l as a sense of immediacy, spontaneity and chance. Colour i s often b r i g h t and r i c h with strokes of pure hue painted i n adjacent strokes. In s p i t e of the rough handling of the brushwork these paintings e x h i b i t a strong sense of pattern and design. In September  Gale the large, f l a t shapes of the rocks are repeated i n the pine tree and i n the clouds. The area of small shapes representing the foreground tree acts as a f o i l to the r e p e t i t i o n of large shapes as do the curved forms below i t . Consequently, although the painting presents a p i c t -o r i a l depth i t also has a strong sense of surface pattern. The wildness of the natural elements and the energy of the colours and brush strokes used are c o n t r o l l e d by the patterning. This idea of control combined with the notions of chance and spontaniety were values i n t e g r a l to the op t i m i s t i c and entrepreneurial nature of national f e e l i n g i n the twenties. The nationalism associated with the Group of Seven was part of the move-ment i n the twenties to assert Canada's independence from B r i t a i n . The i l l u s i o n of p o l i t i c a l autonomy, assumed since confederation, had been rudely exposed at the time of the F i r s t World War when Canada and the other Dominions were automatically brought into the war by the declaration of B r i t a i n . Canada was thrust into a world of inte r n a -t i o n a l p o l i t i c s ; yet i t had no control over i t s own foreign p o l i c y . The s p e c i f i c a l l y Canadian images of the Group of Seven came out of the need for Canadians to assert t h e i r independence. The movement in opposition to the c o l o n i a l subordination of Canada to B r i t a i n developed a f t e r World War I. I t wanted Canada to be a p o l i t i c a l l y autonomous country within a loose federation held together more by sentiment than l e g a l bond. Those who advocated a f u l l y autonomous Canada represented i n part the growing power of the f i n a n c i e r f a c t i o n of the Canadian economic e l i t e . A f t e r the war B r i t a i n had been l e f t greatly weakened as an exporter of invest-ment c a p i t a l . As p o r t f o l i o investment from London dried up, d i r e c t investment from New York increased, mostly through branch plants, 4 production under U.S. patent l i c e n s e and j o i n t ventures. A struggle f o r dominance among groups within the r u l i n g class took place around these issues with the banking/entreprenuerial f a c t i o n gaining primacy over the o l d guard B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l i s t s . Because of the strong B r i t i s h background among Canadians at that time the argument i n favour of t o t a l autonomy from B r i t a i n met with a great deal of h o s t i l i t y and resistence from those Canadians whose i d e n t i t y was i n t e g r a l l y t i e d to England and whose f i n a n c i a l connections were with the United Kingdom rather than the United States. Most middle class magazines such as Saturday Night were extremely p r o - B r i t i s h . In almost every issue there was an a r t i c l e on the Royal family, an English v i l l a g e , the state of the empire or some other d i r e c t l y B r i t i s h i n t e r e s t . There were frequent advert-isements f o r holiday cruises to t r o p i c a l corners of the Empire. At the time of the F i r s t World War 64% of the f i r s t Canadian contingent that went overseas i n 1914 were found to be born i n the B r i t i s h I s l e s Faced with such sentiments i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that any movement advocating a s h i f t i n allegiance may have f e l t i t was necessary to be equally extreme i n i t s r e j e c t i o n of the c o l o n i a l t i e . The issue was debated i n the press with the majority favouring the status quo. P a r t l y f o r these reasons of r a c i a l background and p u b l i c opinion, the campaign f o r autonomy from England had an a n t i - B r i t i s h rather than a pro Canadian focus. Emphasis was on the "breaking away" aspect of independence and could be described as a "negative" nationalism. The matter was not properly s e t t l e d u n t i l the 1926 Imperial Conference which declared that Great B r i t a i n and the .dominions are autonomous Communities within the B r i t i s h Empire, equal i n status, i n no way subordinate one to another i n any aspect of t h e i r domestic or external a f f a i r s , though united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and f r e e l y associated as members of the B r i t i s h Commonwealth of Nations. 7 The ideas of struggling f o r freedom and wrenching away from the bond of colonialism was part of the struggle f o r power within the f i n a n c i a l e l i t e of the country. I t required a great deal of courage, energy, confidence i n one's a b i l i t i e s , w i llingness to take chances and explore new entreprenuerial t e r r i t o r y , not to mention sheer aggression, i n order to wrest free from established f i n a n c i a l patterns and push the economic focus of the country i n a new d i r e c t i o n . In t h i s , the negative n a t i o n a l i s t , who f e l t he was asserting Canadian independence i n r e j e c t i n g B r i t i s h p o r t f o l i o investment i n favour of American d i r e c t investment, contradicted the image of the comfortable B r i t i s h stock-holder that l i k e d h i s investments safe. So safe, i n f a c t , that the B r i t i s h government enacted i n 1900 the C o l o n i a l Stocks Act which st i p u l a t e d that i f Canada wanted to borrow i n B r i t a i n i t had to be w i l l i n g to repeal any Dominion l e g i s l a t i o n that B r i t i s h investors g f e l t may detract from the s e c u r i t y of t h e i r investment. Consequently, within a small but incr e a s i n g l y powerful f a c t i o n of Canadian society the image of the conservative c o l o n i a l was giving way to the image of the independent, aggressive n a t i o n a l i s t . The corresponding s h i f t i n values often found expression i n the arts of the twenties. Referring to the e f f o r t i n l i t e r a t u r e to break free of B r i t i s h l i t e r a r y forms, i t was stated, Colonialism i s a s p i r i t that g r a t e f u l l y accepts a place of subordination, that looks elsewhere f o r i t s standards of excellence and i s content to imitate with a modest ^ and timid conservatism the products of a parent t r a d i t i o n . " I t would therefore follow that r e j e c t i o n by the colony of the s t y l e of the colonizing nation i s the r e j e c t i o n of a subordinate p o s i t i o n . Rejection of England's standards of excellence and e s t a b l i s h i n g a nation's own, i s an act of reaching out and taking c o n t r o l . By the same l o g i c , those.-who accept or imitate the seemingly harmless status quo are i n e f f e c t supporting the domination of the colonizing nation over the? colony. The values of negative nationalism found t h e i r v i s u a l expression i n the wilderness landscape. The e n t e r p r i s i n g , independent, i n d i v i d -u a l i s t breaking free of t r a d i t i o n and c o l o n i a l bonding was an image that applied not only to f i n a n c i a l entrepreneurs but also to the a r t i s t s of the Group of Seven. F. B. Housser i n his book on the Group states, This task demands a new type of a r t i s t ; one who divests himself of the velvet coat and flowing t i e of h i s caste, puts on the o u t f i t of the bushwhacker and prospector; closes with h i s environment; paddles, portages and makes camp; sleeps i n the out-of-doors under the s t a r s ; climbs mountains with h i s sketch box on h i s back. Possibly never before have such p h y s i c a l demands been made upon the a r t i s t . . . 10 Housser describes the a r t i s t as a caste of upper class c i t y dwellers i d e n t i f i e d by t h e i r v elvet coats and flowing t i e s . This image i s within the B r i t i s h Academic t r a d i t i o n and although t h i s c l e a r l y i s an o v e r s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , i t i s i n s t r u c t i v e f or the purposes of t h i s argument that Housser, an a c t i v e supporter of the Group so perceived the trad-i t i o n a l a r t i s t . But Canada was new, e x c i t i n g , adventurous and this i s sym-bo l i z e d by the nature of the untamed wilds. Advocates of t h i s a r t b e l i e v -ed our B r i t i s h and European connection as f a r as a r t i s concerned, "has been a millstone around our neck".^ The r o l e of the a r t i s t here i s one of an a c t i v i s t r e j e c t i n g B r i t i s h p a s s i v i t y , an aggressor, who overcomes ph y s i c a l hardship to accomplish "the task" of expressing the essence of the north country, source of the Canadian s p i r i t . L ike the newly power-f u l f i n a n c i e r , the a r t i s t of negative nationalism r e j e c t s the t r a d i t o n a l bonds of colonialism and takes c o n t r o l of h i s own d i r e c t i o n . That the s t y l e of the Group of Seven was seen as crude and a n t i -B r i t i s h i s evident i n much of the debate that went on i n the press. The most vehement was Hector Charlesworth, E d i t o r i n Chief of Saturday Night and s p e c i a l reporter f o r the r o y a l v i s i t i n 1901. He staunchly defended the Royal Canadian Academy against the Group of Seven who he f e l t had attacked "standards of poetry and beauty 12 that are e t e r n a l . " Housser's book, written In 1926 was obviously functioning within the same n a t i o n a l i s t i c structure as the art he discusses. He indicates In the clause "closes with-his environment" that paddling canoes, portaging and sleeping outdoors i s the natural habitat of the Canadian a r t i s t , and by extrapolation that of the average c i t i z e n , since we share the same geographical environment. A connection i s implied i n t h i s quote between the demanding nature of the p h y s i c a l environment and the hearty, capable character of the people. This a t t i t u d e i s i n keeping with ideas of environmental determinism popular i n the l a t e 19th century which believed northern climates were synonymous with strength, s e l f r e l i a n c e , democracy and 13 freedom. This theory was convenient to Canadian nationalism i n the 1920's and i t s p r i n c i p a l associations often underlay expression of n a t i o n a l i s m . ^ The images themselves, through form and content, also express values p a r t i c u l a r to the 1920's sense of nationalism. An aggressive painting s t y l e reinforced the image of the vigorous, independent venturesome Canadian male. The unfussy handling of the brush with i t s broad a p p l i c a t i o n suggests a confident hand. Use of colour was often pure and crude with some j a r r i n g j u x t a p o s i t i o n s , the impact being d i r e c t and f o r c e f u l but not disturbing because of the element of purposefulness and control. The surface i s a thick impasto which made no attempt to obscure or smooth over the active movements of the painter's hand. The spontaneous, yet controlled surface of the works which defuses even scenes such as September Gale ensures we w i l l f e e l no threat or uneasiness: confidence i n overcoming danger-ous and unpredictable cirumstances i s implied. These aggressive values were picked up, a r t i c u l a t e d and reinforced by reviewers whether or not they supported Canadian independence from B r i t a i n . ...the movement i n Canadian painting associated c h i e f l y with t h e i r names i s s p i r i t u a l l y the most robust thing the country has produced. This robustness, t h i s v i t a l i t y i n them, i s the surest sign of t h e i r i n t r i n s i c worth, and the accompanying phenomena of change, experiment, surprise, f a i l u r e , adventure, which are always present i n t h e i r work, must be welcomed as a necessary part of the process. 15 In h i s review Barker F a i r l e y d i r e c t l y connects v i t a l i t y , change, exper-iment, and adventure with the s p i r i t of the nation. These q u a l i t i e s (which are also elements of progress and development) are recognized as worthy. Consequently, he i d e n t i f i e s major progressive changes happening i n the country, and indicates he approves, p a r t l y by the associations he makes and p a r t l y through h i s p o s i t i v e word choice such as "robust" and " v i t a l i t y " coupled with "worth". Although " f a i l u r e " i s included, i t i s used w i t h i n the context of "experiment". Thus i t functions as a necessary component i n the d i a l e c t i c of "change" (progress implied) and i s therefore p o s i t i v e . F a i r l e y was on the p o l i t i c a l l e f t himself and was married to an a c t i v e Communist Party member. He wrote f o r The Rebel, a magazine founded by students and teachers at the Un i v e r s i t y of Toronto which l a t e r grew into the s o c i a l democratic Canadian Forum, f o r which F a i r l e y also wrote. Another reviewer, Hector Charlesworth, wrote f o r a much more conservative audience. Charlesworth, i t w i l l be remembered was E d i t o r i n Chief of Saturday Night and wrote many a r t i c l e s , columns and e d i t o r i a l s . He was a most vociferous opponent of the Group of Seven. The Group of Seven e l e c t s to present i n exaggerated terms the crudest and most s i n i s t e r aspects of the Canadian wilds; and has s t e a d i l y campaigned against a l l painters pf more suave and poetic impulse, and have been accepted by B r i t i s h c r i t i c s as the exclu-sive authentic i n t e r p r e t e r s of Canadian landscape. 16 Through the juxta p o s i t i o n of gentle words—"suave and p o e t i c " with v i o l e n t words—"crudest" and "exaggerated" Hector Charlesowrth, i n the second passage, indicates h i s awareness that a major rupture i s occurring. Use of " s i n i s t e r " to describe wilderness images presented by the Group i s an i n d i c a t i o n of Charlesworth's confusion regarding the r e j e c t i o n of accepted B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n s . The word intimates the presence of hidden and e v i l forces. This suggests at l e a s t a sub-conscious suspicion that more i s being threatened here than j u s t a s t y l e of p a i n t i n g . But, i t i s i n h i s sentence regarding the B r i t i s h c r i t i c s where the true source of h i s horror i s revealed. Charlesworth's fears were j u s t i f i e d . The wilderness landscape s t y l e had been discuss-ed i n reviews and a r t i c l e s on numerous occasions favourably since the Wembley e x h i b i t i o n . In an Apollo a r t i c l e from December 1931 the focus i s on the emergence of a t r u l y Canadian school. In spite of the obvious awareness of French modernism and Art Nouveau, the a r t i c l e r e f e r s to the landscape s t y l e as " d i s t i n c t l y o r i g i n a l , n a t i o n a l and spontaneous".'''7 For those who wanted to remain t i e d to B r i t a i n , r e p l i c a t i o n of corresponding values and "standards of excellence" must be maintained with great importance placed on these foreign judgments. In a sense, Canada was viewed as a remote neighbourhood of London. For the "Mother Country" to not only acknowledge the separateness of Canada but to celebrate i t as "authentic" may have seemed l i k e r e j e c t i o n to ardent B r i t i s h subjects such as Charlesworth and reinforced the p o s i t i o n of those who advocated p o l i t i c a l and econ-omic "separatism" from B r i t a i n . The formal q u a l i t i e s of the wilderness landscape were consistent with the a n t i - B r i t i s h nature of "negative" nationalism. The use of patches of pure unmixed colour, the seemingly heavy-handed, rough a p p l i c a t i o n of p a i n t — i n short, the obvious lack of f i n i s h and soph-i s t i c a t i o n , downplayed i l l u s i o n and asserted the r o l e of the painter as p a r t i c i p a n t i n the material world. Emphasis i s on surface design and pattern which bore unembarrassed witness to many of the Group's commercial a r t t r a i n i n g and employment. Although some academicians were becoming less r i g i d i n t h e i r s t y l e , these elements i n essence func-r tioned as a r e j e c t i o n of the s l i c k , c a r e f u l l y f i n i s h e d , academic s t y l e associated with the Royal Canadian Academy. The RCA was structured a f t e r the Royal Academy and was one of the leading c u l t u r a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of the Canadian r u l i n g establishment. Although the stereotype was beginning to change, the RCA had f o r many years emphasized f i n e a r t professionalism and academic t r a i n i n g . I t took i t s "standards of excellence" from the Royal Academy and valued competent modelling of form, predictable colour r e l a t i o n s h i p s and a smooth f i n i s h . The a r t i s t ' s hand was 18 i n v i s i b l e and i l l u s i o n of utmost importance. By extrapolation, there-fore, a r e j e c t i o n of the RCA's values was also a r e j e c t i o n of B r i t i s h influence i n culture - a form of c o l o n i a l domination. The use of wilderness imagery as content deserves closer consider-ation. I t was celebrated as the s p i r i t of the nation. However, few Canadians were f a m i l i a r with t h i s aspect of t h e i r country; the over-welm'Ing majority l i v e d on farms or i n c i t i e s and towns. By the early 1930's t h i r t y percent of the population s t i l l l i v e d on farms and 19 many more were f i r s t generation c i t y dwellers. Wheat production and export expanded ra p i d l y i n the f i r s t 30 years of t h i s century to where i t dominated the economy. In 1925 i t was the country's most valuable export, accounting f o r more than 25% of Canadian exports. In 1928 Canada's share of the world wheat exports was 20 almost 50%. Accordingly, the t y p i c a l non-urban experience i n the 1920's was a g r i c u l t u r a l i n nature, not one of uncultivated, undomesticated, unpopulated north country. The success of wheat production, encouraged developments i n 21 industry. The great i n f l u x of immigrants and extension of the r a i l -roads i n the ' f i r s t part of the century provided both the work force and the markets f o r i t s expansion. The r e s u l t i n g s h i f t i n the balance of power away from a g r i c u l t u r e and toward amalgamation of i n d u s t r i a l and f i n a n c i a l c a p i t a l saw the development of pulp and paper, hydro 22 e l e c t r i c i t y and the mining of new minerals. Coinciding with the natio n a l perspective of the new f i n a n c i a l e l i t e , the wilderness landscape was also metaphoric f o r the entre-preneurial f r o n t i e r . The frequent panoramas of tree covered mountains and northern lakes are i n one sense an i n d i c a t i o n of where Canada must look i n order to keep pace with the modern i n d u s t r i a l i z e d world. The untouched aspect of the wilderness image expresses a freshness and i n s p i r e s optimism; new ideas, new technology, and new communities are required. Underneath a l l this i s the desire to break free of c o l o n i a l domination and take control of our own economic and p o l i t -i c a l development. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f i n a n c i e r element of the Canadian e l i t e and the encouragement of the wilderness landscape s t y l e of painting had an important connection. An i n f l u e n c i a l force behind the development of the National Gallery of Canada was S i r Edmund Walker. Walker was President of the Bank of Commerce, member i n s t i t u t i o n of an extremely powerful banking c a r t e l . He had a wide reputation as a ph i l a n t h r o p i s t , was trustee and member of the Board of Directors of the National Gallery of Canada, as w e l l as, President of the Art Museum of Toronto. He was sympathetic to the s t y l e of the Group, f e e l i n g i t represented a t r u l y Canadian i d e n t i t y , and he encouraged the Gallery to e x h i b i t , promote (n a t i o n a l l y and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y ) and buy t h e i r works. Although, during the 1920's, the wilderness landscape of the Group of Seven expressed the optimism of the i n d u s t r i a l future,by the early t h i r t i e s these images became more c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i a b l e as not being t r u l y representative of the nation. Rumblings of discontent among some a r t i s t s and art writers increased as they c r i t i c i z e d the Group and i t s imitators f o r being i n s e n s i t i v e to the human r e a l i t y of the Depression. The c i t i e s became the f o c a l points as they t r i e d to cope with desperate populations swelled by the i n f l u x of farmers driven off the land. R e l i e f l i n e s , homeless unemployed, pu b l i c demonstrations, occupations of public buildings and labour battles a l l were highly visible events recorded daily in the newspapers. During the Dep-ression the prairies suffered economic, social and environmental devastation unlike anywhere else in the country. Per capita net income declined from 1928 to 1933 by 72 percent in Saskatchewan, 23 61 percent in Alberta and 49 percent in Manitoba. In some areas of Saskatchewan there were nine years of successive crop failure due to 24 drought, grasshoppers, rust and frost. Wilderness landscape painting remained unaffected in its optimism. In view of the crumbling economy and deteriorating fabric of society, with thousands living insecure, haphazard lives, the pristine, aloof beauty of the untouched wilderness was seen by some as profoundly irrelevant. At the same time, the Group of Seven and their followers were paint-ing wilderness landscapes, there existed an art scene of theatre, poetry, dance, literature, and visual arts, which strove to be socially integ-rated in production, form and content. It was sensitive to the human reality of the Depression, protesting an economic system, and political structure which i t identified as the causes of this social destruction. Consequently, social comment art of the 1920's and early 1930's was the art of the political left. This is where most critical art came from and where i t circulated. Because of the highly political nature of this art, its anti-"Fine" art manifestations and its close association with the Communist Party of Canada, these images have been 25 ignored by most Canadian art historians. To understand the form and function of t h i s a r t , i t i s necessary to consider the nature of the dominant l e f t at the time. With the founding of the Communist Party of Canada i n 1921 and a f f i l i a t i o n to the Communist International, a large part of the s o c i a l i s t movement became united around such tenets as the b e l i e f i n the necessity and i n e v i t a b i l i t y of a workers' re v o l u t i o n , and acceptance of the need for a strong c e n t r a l i z e d party which would motivate and lead the masses n a t i o n a l l y and i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y . The Bolshevik revolution served as a l i v i n g example that the working.classes could take control and create a j u s t and free society, or so i t seemed i n the twenties. Organizational a c t i v i t y and t h e o r e t i c a l discussion centred around th i s knowledge. If r e v o l u t i o n occurred i n such an u n l i k e l y country as Russia with a very small p r o l e t a r i a t , then surely there was hope for the i n d u s t r i a l west. Consequently, a l l e f f o r t went in t o educating and i n s p i r i n g the working c l a s s . This was attempted i n a large part, through i n s t i t u -t i o n a l structures. During the i n i t i a l growth of Canadian unionism 2 6 party members were the key organizers and operatives. The Communist Party-led unions had t h e i r own labour federation, the Workers' Unity League. The CP also supported a number of associated and " f r o n t " organizations such as the Young Communist League, Canadian Labor Defence League and the Women's Labor League, as w e l l as, attempting to i n f i l t r a t e and influence e x i s t i n g l i b e r a l and s o c i a l democratic • 2 7 organizations. Although the Progressive Arts Club (formed i n 1931) was not an o f f i c i a l arm of the Communist Party, i t s members were i n the Party or sympathizers and i t functioned as the c u l t u r a l v e h i c l e through which the ideas of the Party were propagated. The PAC organized readings, symposia, e x h i b i t i o n s , produced a g i t a t i o n -propaganda theatre and held workshops i n j o u r n a l i s t i c and l i t e r a r y 2 8 w r i t i n g , f o r working people. Chapters sprang up r i g h t across 29 Canada i n c i t i e s and small towns from H a l i f a x to Vancouver. Theatre became the most popular expression by the clubs, probably because i t was mobile, required l i t t l e t r a i n i n g , was a highly v i s u a l p u b l i c a r t form and allowed maximum p a r t i c i p a t i o n , combining the e f f o r t s of wr i t e r s , v i s u a l a r t i s t s , and dramatists. These made i t a useful t o o l f o r propaganda, a g i t a t i o n and organization. The Progressive Arts Club published a small p e r i o d i c a l c a l l e d Masses through which the values and ideology of the communist l e f t were manifested i n c u l t u r a l forms. Every issue contained short s t o r i e s , poetry, and graphic work which i l l u s t r a t e d the downtrodden p l i g h t of working people, enumerated the f a i l i n g s of capitalism and re i t e r a t e d the necessity f o r a p r o l e t a r i a n revolution. There were also t h e o r e t i c a l a r t i c l e s on the s o c i a l r o l e of the a r t s , the decadent nature of "bourgeois" culture and what constituted "good" art from a communist point of view. P r i o r to t h i s , there was no communist p u b l i c a t i o n concerned with culture i n Canada. I n t e l l e c t u a l s on the f a r l e f t were very rare i n Canada (unlike the U.S.A.) u n t i l around 1933. Conseqently, the concept of " p r o l e t a r i a n culture" came l a t e to t h i s country. Masses was an attempt to o f f e r a communist al t e r n a t i v e to the s o c i a l democratic Canadian Forum. The f i r s t e d i t o r i a l of Masses i d e n t i f i e d the r o l e of a r t i n society, as well.as, defining the goals and p o s i t i o n of the Prog-ressive Arts Club and i t s organ. ionary i n Canadian Bourgeois society generally and i n Canadian c u l t u r a l l i f e p a r t i c u l a r l y . I t re j e c t s the theory that a r t can have nothing i n common with p o l i t i c s , that a r t functions only by and f o r a r t . . . A r t i s a v e h i c l e of propaganda. Art i s the product of the current (and previous) s o c i a l and economic conditions. 30 The values stated here are synonymous with the goals of the Communist Party. Art i s to take an active and conscious r o l e i n the struggle for a workers' society. Art i s not an end i n i t s e l f , but a to o l with which to i n c i t e the workers to re v o l u t i o n . Although i t may be touted by bourgeois society as being outside p o l i t i c s , a r t i n f a c t does take a p o l i t i c a l stand when i t acts as as escape, an investment or an object of status f o r the r u l i n g class because i t thereby reinforces a h i e r a r c h i c , class structured s o c i a l organization. Consequently by attacking the c u l t u r a l organization and p o l i c i e s of the e l i t e classes one, by extrapolation, also attacks bourgeois s o c i a l - p o l i t i c a l structures. The idea of breaking down the e l i t i s t nature of art under c a p i t a l i s m and viewing the a r t i s t as a contributing, equal member of society was compatible with the communist image of society which did not t o l e r a t e p a r a s i t i c classes. The PAC attempted to take art out of i t s - " f i n e " p o s i t i o n and put i t i n the hands of the m i l i t a n t working c l a s s . The assertion that a r t i s a product of h i s t o r i c a l and contemporary economic conditions r e f e r s to K a r l Marx's theory that s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s , structures, and i n s t i t u t i o n s , are determined by a society's economic system. A society with, an economy based on competition and p r o f i t w i l l express i t s e l f d i f f e r e n t l y i n everything from education to a r c h i t e c t u r e than a society whose economy i s based on cooperation and equal d i s t r i b -ution of wealth. Given t h i s i n t r i n s i c r e l a t i o n s h i p between socio-economic systems and culture, members of the Progressive Arts Club would have f e l t p a r t i c u l a r l y motivated i n t h e i r e f f o r t s to redefine a r t . Questioning the function of culture and using art as a p o l i t i c a l weapon was i t s e l f a revolutionary act. Accordingly, a r t was good or bad depending on i t s p o l i t i c a l e f fectiveness, and s o c i a l awareness. Within t h i s theory a r t i s never a p o l i t i c a l , i t e i t h e r affirms or c r i t i c i z e s the status quo. The concept of a r t as an actor, rather than an observer i s r e i n -forced by the vocabulary, tone and sentence structure of the quotation. Words chosen to describe a r t or i t s r o l e are action words - challenges, development, r e j e c t s , functions, v e h i c l e . A l l verbs are i n present i n d i c a t i v e , the most d i r e c t tense i n the language. The straightforward, uncomplicated sentence structure i s f o r c e f u l and confident. Most i n t e r e s t i n g of a l l , perhaps, i s the unembarrassed, purposeful use of the word "propaganda". Although there were a few a r t i c l e s i n Masses 31 i n which a r t and propaganda were viewed as incompatible, i t i s clear from the general focus of Masses and the great majority of a r t i c l e s that propaganda was the legitimate function of a r t ; indeed, that expressing ideology along with image was unavoidable. Art i s one of the means of expression f o r society's ideas. And the paramount ideology of any period of human society i s that of the r u l i n g c l a s s . Art must always express e i t h e r one or [an] other ideology. 32 These two quotes together support the Marxist tenet that the classes are i n struggle against each other and even the seemingly most un l i k e -l y areas are battlegrounds f o r the minds and p o l i t i c a l sympathies of society's members. The wilderness landscape of the Group of Seven also functioned i n a c r i t i c a l way, but i t questioned the s t y f l i n g conservatism which retarded new approaches i n a r t , not the very r o l e of art i t s e l f . The r e v o l t of the Group of Seven was good, where i t made use of a decorative technique c l o s e l y a l l i e d with l i f e i t s e l f , with hard work i n the shops. But the r e v o l t has proven i t s s t e r i l i t y mainly because the subject matter to which t h i s technique was attached was i s o l a t e d from l i f e and from any s o c i a l meaning. 33 The Group did not r e j e c t the concept of showing art i n private g a l l e r i e s and s e l l i n g to an e l i t e audience. The "decorative technique" r e f e r r e d to here, i n r e l a t i o n to work i n shops, suggests that the commercial t r a i n i n g of many Group members was acceptable to the communists be-cause i t was associated with productive, necessary, s o c i a l labour. But when those s k i l l s were used to create escapist, comfortable images fo r the p r i v a t e consumption of an e l i t i s t c l a s s , from the PAC:'s point of view, a l l s o c i a l relevance dissolved. Also i n t h i s passage, i t i s emphasized that s t y l e and content are to be compatible i n t h e i r purpose, which i t s e l f must be d i r e c t l y s o c i a l i n nature, and at l e a s t i n d i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l i n function. V i s u a l expression of the ideology expounded by the communist l e f t (as a r t i c u l a t e d i n Masses) - manifested i t s e l f i n p o l i t i c a l cartoons, i l l u s t r a t i o n s , set design, theatre programmes, pamphlet design, newspaper and magazine p u b l i c a t i o n , posters, hand b i l l s , etc. This was i n keeping with the active p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l nature of culture and i t s a g i t a t i o n a l and organizational c a p a b i l -i t i e s . Art did not function as a commodity; therefore, art g a l -l e r i e s were i r r e l e v a n t . And because g a l l e r i e s were run by and for those who were b e n e f i t i n g from the e x i s t i n g economic system (which had created a patron c l a s s ) , during the twenties they were not seen as a forum f o r p o l i t i c a l c r i t i c i s m . This i s an important point; i n Chapter Two a r t i s t s who made s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m from within the g a l l e r y structure during the mid t h i r t i e s w i l l be considered. The audience f o r a r t forms with s o c i a l comment as t h e i r focus, was the supposedly revolutionary working c l a s s , and t h i s p r o l e t a r i a t did not frequent such i n s t i t u t i o n s as a r t g a l l e r i e s . The Communist press was very p r o l i f i c . The Party c i r c u l a t e d not only i t s o f f i c i a l organ Worker, but also supported or produced a number of other p e r i o d i c a l s , such as Worker's Unity, Canadian Labor Defender,  Canadian Labor Monthly, Young Worker, Cl a r i o n , as w e l l as Masses and o thers. L i t t l e i s known of the a r t i s t s who produced i l l u s t r a t i o n s and car-toons for these p e r i o d i c a l s . This i s p a r t l y because they never exhib-i t e d i n art g a l l e r i e s and consequently were never reviewed or written about. I t i s also due to the ideology they operated within, which did not g l o r i f y or mystify the a r t i s t . Even Avrom Yanofsky, who appears to have been one of the most active and v e r s a t i l e of the 34 i l l u s t r a t o r / c a r t o o n i s t s remains unmentioned except i n memoirs, Yanofsky's l i n o cut Group of Seven ( f i g . 2) appeared i n Masses i n A p r i l 1932. The a r t i s t i d e n t i f i e s h i s audience as the p o t e n t i a l l y revolutionary working c l a s s . He does t h i s i n part by using a v i s u a l language i d e n t i f i a b l e by those he wishes to communicate with. Stereo-types, accepted and recognizable by the communist l e f t and t h e i r sympathizers are combined with u t i l i z a t i o n of symbols. T y p i c a l of such i l l u s t r a t i o n s at the time, the c a p i t a l i s t s are male, f a t , short, balding or wear shiny top hats. Their faces are jowly and e v i l . Yanofsky's use of the Group s i g n i f i e s t h e i r connection to the r u l i n g c l a s s . Although the works of the Group of Seven had a c r i t i c a l function within the nationalism of the twenties, by the early t h i r t i e s i t represented an escape from r e a l i t y . Produced f o r the commercial market, i t was an art of b e a u t i f u l images. C l e a r l y , the Group was not concerned with the problems of workers and t h e i r paintings made no v i s u a l acknowledgement of the Depression's t e r r i b l e impact on people. Just as the Royal Canadian Academy represented the p r o - B r i t i s h f a c t i o n of the bourgeosie, to the dommunists who supported cartoons and s o c i a l r e a l i s t i l l u s t r a t i o n , the Group of Seven, with t h e i r modernistic images represented the decadence of the bourgeosie. The "paintings" they exhibit here r e l a t e graphically and s p e c i f i c a l l y to contemporary p o l i t i c a l events. The swastika ( i n t e r -n a t i o n a l symbol of fascism) re f e r s not only to the r i s e of fascism i n Europe and i n Canada, but also to the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of another " i m p e r i a l i s t " war. True to the r h e t o r i c of the communist press, t h i s i l l u s t r a t i o n connects n a t i o n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l events. Bet-ween the swastika and the often employed s k u l l of s t a r v a t i o n are two "canvases" which make reference to two aspects of the law used to t e r r o r i z e p o l i t i c a l dissenters. Sections 41 and 42 of the immigra-t i o n act often allowed immigrants to be deported f o r so l i t t l e as being " a f f i l i a t e d with an organization entertaining d i s b e l i e f i n 35 or opposition to organized government." This was a u s e f u l t o o l for the anti-communist forces because most of the communist leaders and active Party members were eastern European born, reaching as high as 95% i n 1929. Individuals could be incarcerated on suspicion and deported by a Board of Inquiry, thus circumventing the courts 36 and a p u b l i c t r i a l . The number "98" was extremely s i g n i f i c a n t to communists i n the early t h i r t i e s . A powerful symbol, even when printed i n i s o l a t i o n , i t evoked an instant emotional response i n the viewer. Section 98 of the Criminal Code was a vague, general a n t i - s e d i t i o n law used, 37 i n e f f e c t , to outlaw the Communist Party. In 1931 i t was used to ar r e s t the top eight leaders of the CP and sentence them to f i v e years i n p r i s o n . Members of the Progressive Arts Club wrote a play c a l l e d Eight Men Speak concerning the arrests and subsequent events. 33. Although i t was only performed once, reception was very en t h u s i a s t i c and the play became w e l l known i n s p i t e of c o l l u s i o n between c i t y 38 o f f i c i a l s and the p o l i c e to keep the play from being seen. The three bottom figures of Yanofsky's i l l u s t r a t i o n represent the l e g a l system and i t s r o l e i n maintaining the c a p i t a l i s t power structure. A l l l e v e l s of law enforcement were used against s t r i k i n g workers, mass r a l l i e s , and marchers. P o l i c e i n such c i t i e s as Toronto, Montreal and Winnipeg were s u f f i c i e n t l y ardent i n t h e i r anti-communism and zealous i n t h e i r dealings with s t r i k e r s that help was generally not sought from the p r o v i n c i a l government. However, i n small, more sympathetic communities the m i l i t i a , RCMP or even the army were c a l l e d i n to disperse s t r i k i n g workers or r a l l i e s . Estevan was a case i n point. Three deaths and a number of i n j u r i e s occurred on "Black Tuesday" when several hundred miners and t h e i r f a m i l i e s clashed with p o l i c e while attempting to hold a parade to p u b l i c i z e t h e i r 39 grievances. Over a hundred were arrested. The Mine Workers Union was forced out of the area by the subsequent Royal Commission which imposed a settlement. However, the Estevan s t r i k e was a major propa-ganda v i c t o r y f o r the communists and i s considered a landmark of 40 Canadian Labour h i s t o r y . A r t i c l e s on the s t r i k e and cartoon, and i l l u s t r a t i o n s were so frequent i n the l e f t newspapers that Yanofsky's reduction of the s i t u a t i o n to the depiction of three dead bodies and the word "Estevan" was s u f f i c i e n t to remind the viewer that those who held economic and p o l i t i c a l power i n Canada would never allow s i g n i f -icant s o c i a l change b e n e f i c i a l to working people without a v i o l e n t struggle. The CP press spoke to the experiences and concerns of working people during the worst years of the Depression, not only because i t knew how to i d e n t i f y i t s audience, but also because the Party-supported press was an e s s e n t i a l part of creating that audience. Consequently, the focus on labour i n the press coincided with the emphasis on labour organizing by the Party. As the education l e v e l among workers was low, v i s u a l material was an important t o o l i n teaching the dynamics of class struggle and i n s p i r i n g t h i s class to a f f e c t i t s h i s t o r i c r o l e according to Marx. Given the perceived urgency of the h i s t o r i c a l moment, the unsophistication of the audience, and the d i d a c t i c nature of the images, content had primacy over s t y l e . As i n Yanofsky's Group of Seven,power r e l a t i o n s h i p s between the classes were g r a p h i c a l l y exposed. I l l u s t r a t i o n s of sweat shops, f a c t o r i e s , s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l conditons, e t c . generally f e l l into two categories. One chronicled the v i c t i m i z a t i o n of the working c l a s s . They teach that a small minority accumulates wealth and power at the expense of the welfare of the majority. Yanofsky's p r i n t i s a good example of th i s type, with such juxtapositions as bloated c a p i t a l i s t with a s k u l l , and dead workers with a policeman. The other category i n s t r u c t s the worker on how to turn t h i s s i t u a t i o n around. In these images, such as Avrom Yanofsky's cover drawing f o r Worker's Unity ( f i g . 3) of June 19-32 the c a p i t a l i s t s are s t e r e o t y p i c a l l y e v i l and p i g - l i k e . The workers, on the other hand are seen as powerful and m i l i t a n t . They have strong physiques, determined set jaws and dress i n work s h i r t s and simple caps. They are animated and vocal against the belligerent,, 35 s i l e n c e of those who s i t at the Imperial Conference. It was common i n s o c i a l comment i l l u s t r a t i o n s of the early t h i r t i e s to use uncomplicated composition and f l a t ground i n order to maximize the immediate impact. Group of Seven, being t y p i c a l i n t h i s regard, i s s t r a i g h t forward and clear i n composition. The Worker's Unity cover, however, divides the image on a diagonal. This gives an out of balance and precarious atmosphere to the image. I t also has the e f f e c t of compartmentalizing the classes, with "the bad guys" on a black ground and "the good guys" being on a white ground, and places them at odds along the v i s u a l and p o l i t i c a l tension l i n e where white meets black. As with other i l l u s t r a t i o n s which teach a revolutionary answer to the i n e q u a l i t i e s of capitalism, perspective i s used to reveal large crowds of workers i n the process of r i s i n g up against the r u l i n g c l a s s . Violence or threat of violence i s used to ind i c a t e power r e l a t i o n s h i p s . In Group of Seven imprisonment, st a r v a t i o n , s i l e n c e and death are forced on the workers by the c a p i t a l i s t s who hold a l l economic and p o l i t i c a l power. Unity shows the workers as a shouting mass of movement descending on the s i l e n t , immobile Imperial Conference delegates, wielding signs as though they were axes. The main figure's arm i s drawn i n an impending gesture which w i l l see h i s "worker's economic conference" sign smash through the tension l i n e and destroy the conference table whereon l i e the symbols of h i s oppression. The table i s tipped up to show the a t t r i b u t e s of i n t e r n a t i o n a l capitalism. No s u b t l e t i e s or ambiguities are allowed; uncertain items are l a b e l l e d . The message i s that cap-i t a l i s m can be eradicated through the m i l i t a n t unity of the working class. Art i s part of t h i s struggle, and i t s r o i e i n society must be demystified i f i t i s to be e f f e c t i v e . The s t r i v i n g to a t t a i n perfect beauty i s not i t s Cart's) function...The i n t r i n s i c value of a painting i s a few cents worth of canvas and paints and the few hours of s o c i a l l y necessary labor that went in t o i t s make-up. That i s a l l . 41 This d e f i n i t i o n r e l i e s heavily on Marx's labour theory of value which re l a t e s the e s s e n t i a l value of a l l things produced to the number of labour hours required to make both the item and the materials used i n i t s production. This passage sums up the approach of the PAC and i l l u s t r a t e s not only the p o l i t i c a l commitment of i t s advocates but also the r e d u c t i o n i s t and unquestioning d i r e c t i o n of the Communist Party. The Communist Party dominated the l e f t f o r over ten years. During t h i s time i t made a major contribution to the organization of work ing people i n t h i s country. I t focussed p r i m a r i l y on i n d u s t r i a l workers, miners and the unemployed. Because t h i s narrow focus and the dependence of party members on Moscow f o r p o l i c y decisions prevented them from broadening t h i s base, i t f a i l e d to develop a strategy that appealed to other important sections of the population who were also searching for a way to f i g h t back against the material, p h y s i c a l and psycholog-i c a l ravages of the Depression. In the early t h i r t i e s the s o c i a l democratic movement began to gain s i g n i f i c a n t popularity, i n i t i a t i n g considerable disruption within the l e f t and causing a major s h i f t i n power. The following chapter w i l l examine t h i s p o l i t i c a l rupture, describing i t and exploring i t s causes, using t h i s as a structure with which to explain the r a d i c a l change i n the dominant form of v i s u a l s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m which occurred i n the mid t h i r t i e s . FOOTNOTES Charles H i l l , Canadian Painting i n the T h i r t i e s (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1975), p. 21. 2 Stewart Dick, "Canadian Landscape of To^-Day", Apollo, 15 (June 1932), p. 280. 3 William H. Troop, "Canada and the Empire: A Study of Canadian Attitudes to the Empire and Imperial Relationships Since 1867," (Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n , U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto, 1933), p. 26. 4 Tom Naylor, "The History of Domestic and Foreign C a p i t a l i n Canada," Robert Laxer, ed., (Canada) L t d . (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1973), p. 52. 3 F. H. Soward, et a l . , Canada i n World A f f a i r s : The Pre-War  Years ;(London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1941), p. 9. ^ Troop, p. 42. 7 I b i d , p. 43. g R. T. Naylor, The History of Canadian Business,2 v o l s . (Toronto, James Lorimer & Company, Publishers, 1975), Vol 1, P. 235. 9 Frank Watt, "Nationalism i n Canadian L i t e r a t u r e " , Peter Russell, ed., Nationalism i n Canada (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Co. of Canada Ltd., 1966), p. 238. ^ F. B. Housser, A Canadian A r t Movement: The Story of the Group  of Seven (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Ltd., 1926), p. 15. ^ I b i d , p. 13. 12 Dennis Reid, The Group of Seven (Ottawa: National G a l l e r y of Canada, 1971), p. 170, f.n. 16. Elsewhere Housser states very d i r e c t l y , "Science recognizes that environment a f f e c t s i n d i v i d u a l s and contributes toward the creation of r a c i a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . " (p. 13). 14 Carl Berger, "The True North Strong and Free", Peter Russell, ed., Nationalism in Canada (Toronto: McGraw-Hill Co. of Canada Ltd., 1966), p. 15. Berger notes several examples of the northern myth in historical writing, novel, poetry and boys books, (p. 21). ^ Barker Fairly, "The Group of Seven", Canadian Forum 5 (February 1925), p. 144. 16 Hector Charlesworth, "Canadian Pictures at Wembley", Saturday  Night 34 (17 May 1924), p. 1. ^ "Canadian Art: Foundations of a National School", Apollo 14 QDecember 1931), p. 327. 18 Rebecca Sisler, Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal  Canadian Academy of Arts 1880-1980 (Toronto: Clarke, Irwin and Co. Ltd., 1980), p. 11-29. 19 Michiel Horn, "The Great Depression: Past and Present", Journal  of Canadian Studies 11 (February 1976), p. 48. 20 W./T;.: Easterbrook and Hugh G. J. Aitken, Canadian Economic History (Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Ltd., 1956), p. 490. 2 1 I b i d , p. 483. 22 Robert Laxer, "Introduction to the Political Economy of Canada", Robert M. Laxer, (Canada Ltd.)(Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1973), p. 33. 23 Horn, "Past and Present", p. 44. Victor Hoar, The Great Depression (Vancouver: Copp Publishing Company, 1969), p. 88. 25 The writings of Barry Lord are the obvious exception here especially his book History of Painting in Canada (Toronto: NC Press Ltd., 1974). 26 Penner, p. 136. Ivan Avakumovic, The Communist Party in Canada: A History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1974), p. 33. Avakumovic, p. 126. 29 Dorothy Livesay, Right Hand L e f t Hand (E r i n : Press Porcepic Ltd., 1977), introduction, n.p.' 30 Masses 1 ( A p r i l 1932), p. 2. 31 For example: T. Richardson, "In Defense of Pure A r t " , Masses 1 (July/August 1932), no p.n. 32 E. Cecil-Smith, "What Is 'Pure' Art ? " , Masses 1 (July/August 1932), no. p.n. D. L. [Dorothy Livesay?] and C.R.P., " B r i e f History of Canadian Ar t " , Masses 2 (May/June 1933), p. 9. 34 Yanofsky also performed i n plays, painted sets and gave "Chalk Talks" (an i d e o l o g i c a l one-man comedy routine using spontaneous sketches. These sessions were used to "warm up" audiences before a P.A.C. Theatre performance.) See memoirs of Toby Gordon Ryan, Stage L e f t : Canadian  Theatre i n the T h i r t i e s (Toronto): CTR P u b l i c a t i o n s , 198i;, p. 39. 35 "Sections 41 - 42 - Immigration Act", Labor Defender 23 (July 1932), p. 4. 36 Avakumovic, p. 36-37. 37 Richard Wright and Robin Endres, ed., Eight Men Speak: and  Other Plays From the Canadian Workers' Theatre (Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1976), p. xxvi. 3 8 Wright, p. x x v i i i . 39 S.D. Hanson, "Estevan 1931", Irving A b e l l a , On S t r i k e : Six  Key Labour Struggles i n Canada 1919-1949 (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1975), p. 33. 40 Desmond Morton with Terry Copp, Working People (Ottawa: Deneau Publishers, 1980), p. 144. 4 1 E. Cecil-Smith, "What i s 'Pure' Art?", Masses 1 (July/August 1932), no p.n. CHAPTER TWO During the f i r s t half of the 1930's an i d e o l o g i c a l struggle took place within the Canadian l e f t . Between the establishment of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) i n 1933, a c o a l i t i o n of farm, labour and i n t e l l e c t u a l s , and 1935, when a United Front p o l i c y was developed by the Communist Party, the l e f t responded to increas-ing anti-communist sentiment within the country by p o l a r i z i n g around key issues such as the need for r e v o l u t i o n . A f t e r 1935 S o c i a l Democratic elements gained popularity over the Communist Party (CP) as the dom-inant ideology within the Canadian l e f t . The struggle i n general had two stages. The f i r s t stage was marked by an a l l - o u t attack on the CCF by the Communist Party. Although the Party's a t t i t u d e had for years been one of suspicion toward s o c i a l democratic organization, i n 1928 i t declared war on the CCF a f t e r the Sixth Congress of the Communist International promoted S t a l i n ' s concept of " s o c i a l Fascism". This held that s o c i a l democracy shared 1 several t h e o r e t i c a l points with fascism and c a p i t a l i s m , and that r e -formism would l u l l the working classes into a f a l s e sense of accomplish-ment, making i t impossible for the CP to control the p r o l e t a r i a n 2 movement. The Party organ Worker stepped up the frequency and tone of a r t i c l e s which attacked the CCF i n p a r t i c u l a r , but also well known s o c i a l democratic p e r s o n a l i t i e s such as J.S. Woodsworth and A.A. Heaps. By f a r the most abusive and comprehensive attack, however, was i n a book e n t i t l e d Socialism and the CCF in which a high-ranking party member wrote 218 pages c r i t i c i z i n g the new s o c i a l democratic c o a l i t i o n . As a matter of f a c t , there i s no fundamental diffe r e n c e between the c a p i t a l i s t democracy of Canada and the F a s c i s t Dictatorship of Germany. THEY ARE BOTH DICTATOR-SHIPS OF THE SAME RULING CLASS, THE CAPITALIST CLASS. The r u l i n g c l a s s changes the form of i t s state i n accordance with i t s requirements i n s t r i v i n g to maintain i t s r u l e and crush the revolutionary forces of the working c l a s s and t o i l i n g farmers...Both fascism and s o c i a l - f a s c i s m represent i d e o l o g i c a l super-structures of decaying monopoly c a p i t a l i s m ...The CCF promise of " s o c i a l i s m " i s a hoax. I t i s a f a l l a c y and a l i e . I t i s monopoly c a p i t a l i s m covered with d e c e i t f u l words. I t i s a fraud, an outgrowth of decaying, degenerating capitalism.3 In. t h i s way fascism, c a p i t a l i s m and the CCF are not only i n t e r r e l a t e d , but also share the same p r o - c a p i t a l , anti-worker/farmer b a s i s . The CCF was seen as a s i n i s t e r , untrustworthy, e v i l organization out to crush true progressive i d e a l s . The h y s t e r i c a l tone of the text i s an i n d i c a -t i o n of how great a menace the CP considered the new party to be. The threat was r e a l . I f workers and farmers became convinced that short term, s i g n i f i c a n t reform could be wrung from the e x i s t i n g system to reduce the immediate hardships of the Depression, surely they would f i n d t h i s option more a t t r a c t i v e than waiting f o r some f a r - o f f r e v o l u -t i o n which might never come. This, coupled with the growing fear i n Canada of both fascism and Stalinism made possible an exodus from the Communist Party as well as a draining away of p o t e n t i a l party a l l i e s among workers, farmers and i n t e l l e c t u a l s . Consequently, the Party f e l t a strong, d i r e c t attack was e s s e n t i a l to cope with the magnitude of p o t e n t i a l l o s s . This continued u n t i l 1935 when the 4 Communist International brought i n i t s United Front p o l i c y . The adoption of t h i s tenet by the Canadian Communist Party marked a turning point i n the struggle for i d e o l o g i c a l dominance within the Canadian l e f t , a f t e r which s o c i a l democratic forces gained ascend-ancy over revolutionary communism. This event coincided with the introduction of s o c i a l l y c r i t i c a l elements into the works of Fine A r t i s t s and i t w i l l be discussed l a t e r what values these two s i t -uations had i n common. The United Front involved a r a d i c a l change of a t t i t u d e by the CP toward the CCF and L i b e r a l Party. Turning from utter disdain and belligerence to c o n c i l i a t i o n and cooperation, the Communists proposed 5 a c o a l i t i o n of a l l groups who-wanted to defeat fascism. I t had become cl e a r that i n Germany f a c t i o n a l i n - f i g h t i n g among s o c i a l i s t s had weak-ened resistence to the Nazis, i n part allowing the destruction of the l e f t by H i t l e r . The d a i l y papers kept Canadians aware of events i n Nazi Germany, the invasion of Ethiopia by Mussolini's f a s c i s t ! , the growing pressure against the Republican government i n Spain by Spanish f a s c i s t s under Franco, and the invasion of Manchuria by Japanese f a s c i s t s . In Canada too, fascism was quickly gaining popularity in Quebec with the rest of the country not f a r behind. Numerous Brown Sh i r t gangs and Swastika Clubs sprang up across the country as well 6 as more subtle organizations which emphasized pa t r i o t i s m or a n t i -communism. A l l t h i s , combined with growing anti^communism i n general made the Communist Party eager to form an a l l i a n c e with others who also feared the consequences should fascism gain s i g n i f i c a n t support i n Canada. To encourage such a c o a l i t i o n the Party downplayed much of i t s previous platform. No longer did they c a l l for a Soviet Canada. Even the name of the Party organ was changed from Worker to Dail y  C l a r i o n i n order to de-emphasize the concept of p r o l e t a r i a n revolu-t i o n . International news, e s p e c i a l l y that which concerned a n t i -f a s c i s t struggles took primacy over domestic labour news, although t h i s continued to be important. The more m i l i t a n t l y a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t party papers such as Worker's Unity (organ of the Worker's Unity League) were phased out. Of the ones that continued to publish, more photography and fewer artworks were used. Consequently, the;major forum for d i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l a r t was eroded. The Party moved more into the background, p r e f e r r i n g to work through intermediaries and sympathizers i n attempting to influence organizations. The Canadian Youth Congress was one of i t s more successful instances. This gathering, which included young people from a wide range of p o l i t i c a l views, including L i b e r a l , Protestant and the odd Conservative, advanced strong resolutions s i m i l a r to the p o s i t i o n of the Communist Party, such as condemnation of H i t l e r , Mussolini and Japan; sympathy with t h e i r v i c t i m s ; support for union organization, and improved education, health standards and employment 7 opportunities. More s i g n i f i c a n t , however, was the disbanding of the Workers' Unity League i n 1935 and the encouragement by the Party f o r 8 the member unions to j o i n the American Federation of Labour. The WUL had acted as an important organizational and i d e o l o g i c a l t o o l since 1929. Giving i t up not only i l l u s t r a t e s the importance of the United Front to the Communists but i t also represents the diminishment of hope f o r a pr o l e t a r i a n r e v o l u t i o n i n s p i r e d through working cl a s s consciousness; A.F. of L. leader Samuel Gompers was increasingly more reformist i n outlook. In i t s eagerness to form p o l i t i c a l bonds, the CP made overtures toward the S o c i a l C r e d i t , L i b e r a l and Conservative p a r t i e s . Concern-ed with not s p l i t t i n g the Communist/Socialist/Liberal vote, the CP often refused to run candidates i n r i d i n g s where other progressives were running and would back the most l i k e l y pro-labour candidate to win to the extent that during the 1937 Ontario p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n s , 9 the Party supported a L i b e r a l over a CCF candidate. This willingness of the CP to submerge i t s i d e n t i t y and ideology, and the Party's support f o r more l i b e r a l elements, aided the CCF i n i t s struggle to a t t r a c t advocates within the l e f t because i t provided a s o c i a l i s t a l t e r n a t i v e f o r those communists disgruntled by the p o l i t i c a l inconsistencies of the Party and the undemocratic manner i n which i t operated. The growing disillusionment among communists was an important factor i n the move to a s o c i a l democratic l e f t . The unbridledloptimism and f a i t h with which Communists supported the Russian revolution, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the early twenties, became marred throughout the t h i r t i e s by reports of S t a l i n ' s purges and h i s v i o l e n t methods of c o l l e c t i v i -zing farm land. "At the very time when under t h e i r new l i n e the Communist pa r t i e s of the Third International are preaching a united front against fascism, they themselves...are i n t e n s i f y i n g suspicion, d i v i s i o n , and mutual hatred i n the working c l a s s movements of the world. Worst of a l l , they are dimming the glory of the s o c i a l i s t i d e a l i n the minds of thoughtful observers." 10 This i d e n t i f i e s the irony within the United Front p o l i c y . S t a l i n , through the Third I n t e r n a t i o n a l , encouraged Communist P a r t i e s to s e t t l e t h e i r d i f f e r e n c e s with even remotely progressive c a p i t a l i s t p a r t i e s and work j o i n t l y with those p a r t i e s to f i g h t fascism. At the same time, S t a l i n himself was b r u t a l l y eliminating h i s old comrades who did not agree with h i s programmes. Although Canadian CP members did not e x h i b i t S t a l i n ' s v i o l e n t i n c l i n a t i o n s , they were not above purging undesirables from t h e i r ranks with a maximum of slander and rage, a l l the while making overtures to even Conservative and S o c i a l Credit Party members. Constantly courting the CCF, yet apparently hating Trotskyites even more than f a s c i s t s , the Party t r i e d repeatedly to convince the Federation to 11 expel i t s T r o t s k y i t e members. As the above passage indicates, the p a r a l l e l with fascism was not unnoticed. E a r l i e r i n the a r t i c l e Grube observes. ...the thoroughness with which S t a l i n i s k i l l i n g o f f a l l the old guard Bolsheviks bears a most unfortunate family resemblance to the p e r i o d i c a l purges of the Nazi D i c t a t o r . 1 2 Although Canadian s o c i a l i s t s were prepared to accept a c e r t a i n amount of violence such as was necessary to remove the Czar from power, i t s use against Bolsheviks and Kulaks ("middle-class" peasants) who refused to c o l l e c t i v i z e t h e i r land seemed a negation of the ideals of equality and freedom represented by the Revolution. I t also alienated farmers and farm organizations from the CP because i t supported S t a l i n . Had the Russian people traded one brand"of repression for another? A sense of betrayal, d i s t r u s t and disi l l u s i o n m e n t of the "glory of the s o c i a l i s t i d e a l " ends the a r t i c l e , without optimism or hope. Seemingly, i t was violence and worker-oriented p o l i t i c a l systems which rel a t e d c a p i t a l i s m and fascism. Unfortunately, H i t l e r had also used s o c i a l i s t r h e t o r i c to come to power and had consumated h i s d i c t a t o r s h i p i n the name of the workers. This helped to increase apprehension about a possible worker's state in Canada. As will be discussed more fully, Canadian artists were also aware that in both countries artists had been controlled by the state and encouraged or forced to lend their skills to the legitimation of totalitarian regimes. Although the struggle against communism had been constant since the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, i t changed focus from the 1920's to the 1930's. Through the late teens and early twenties, when revolu-tion seemed imminent in several European countries, those who fought against communism in Canada directed the attack against its revolution-ary aspect. This was predictable, considering not only the political turmoil in Europe, but also the openly revolutionary goal of the Canadian Communist Party as proclaimed in its publications, teachings and organizations. Class consciousness among workers was highest within the Communist trade unions. In the thirties, however, i t became increasingly clear that the working class was not going to be roused to revolution. At the same time, the working class continued to organize and 13 this manifested itself in the expansion of unionization. In Ontario the Premier was incensed by the prospect of industrial unions in the plants and mines of his province. He asked Ottawa for RCMP reinforce-ments to break the Oshawa strike,organized a provincial union-busting "militia" comprised mainly of students from the University of Toronto, and geneally directed his attacks specifically against working people and t h e i r attempts to take some con t r o l over working conditions and t h e i r standards of l i v i n g through unionization. Hepburn, however, maintained he fought the Congress of I n d u s t r i a l Organizations (CIO) 14 because i t was working "hand-in-glove with i n t e r n a t i o n a l communism". Most of the major d a i l y and weekly mass c i r c u l a t i o n papers also wrote i n anti-communistic r h e t o r i c but directed i t at i n d u s t r i a l u n i onization. I n d u s t r i a l Worker, an anti-communist, anti-union monthly paper was c i r c u l a t e d i n mining and i n d u s t r i a l areas and among the unemployed. I t s . . . p o l i c y i s to counteract the undue influences of Communism which are spreading r a p i d l y through labor's rank...It has named some of the apparently harmless organizations through which the Communist Party i s working; t o l d the story of what the mining and other i n d u s t r i e s have done and are doing i n the i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r workers, and marshalled evidence of the attempts to e x p l o i t labor for the furtherance of Red Party aims. 15 The f i r s t sentence of the passage s p e c i f i c a l l y indicates the audience f o r the paper as those employed i n the s e n s i t i v e high production and high p r o f i t areas. Most unemployed people were u n s k i l l e d and therefore p o t e n t i a l i n d u s t r i a l workers. Concern here i s for the "undue influence" within "labor's ranks", presumably among those elements of labour s p e c i f i c a l l y targetted by the newspaper, t h a t . i s , miners and i n d u s t r i a l workers. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , other, already e x i s t i n g unions, such as c r a f t , r a i l r o a d and marine worker unions were not mentioned. Why was communist influence not an issue i n those unions? Furthermore, I n d u s t r i a l Worker with i t s concern f o r the "undue influence" of the CP among workers appeared a f u l l year a f t e r the Communist Party had already disbanded i t s Workers' Unity League ( i t s primary organizational and educational arm among workers) and f i f t e e n years a f t e r the height of the world revolu-t i o n scare. C l e a r l y , the c o n t r o l l i n g i n t e r e s t of the I n d u s t r i a l Worker were more concerned with keeping unions out and p r o f i t s up. The a n t i -communist drive was intense and i n s p i t e of Hepburn vs undemocratic methods and consolidation of personal p o l i t i c a l power, the p r o v i n c i a l voters responded to h i s red-baiting h y s t e r i a and anti-Communist propa-ganda campaign by giving the L i b e r a l s 50% of the popular vote i n the 16 subsequent p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n s . The reduction of f a i t h i n communism to e f f e c t i v e l y change the conditions of l i f e f o r working people i n the Depression, the growing fear of Stalinism and Nazism, and the concerted anti-communism campaign a l l worked against the Party in i t s i d e o l o g i c a l struggle with the s o c i a l democratic factions of the l e f t . With 1935 and the adoption of the United Front p o l i c y , the Communist Party e f f e c t i v e l y relinquished i t s already eroded p o s i t i o n of dominance within the Canadian l e f t . This i s not to say that t h e i r membership dropped p a r t i c u l a r l y . Although membership t o t a l s f o r both p a r t i e s in the t h i r t i e s are questionable, i t 17 i s c l e a r that each party increased with the CCF f a r ahead of the CP. The ideology of the new l e f t was a r t i c u l a t e d by the Cooperative Common-wealth Federation, a p o l i t i c a l a l l i a n c e of workers, farmers and i n t e l l -e c t u a ls. The CCF brought together a range of s o c i a l i s t organizations and i n d i v i d u a l s who believed the establishment of a welfare state and a planned economy was the answer to the s o c i a l and economic ravages of the Depression. Unlike the Communists, they f e l t t h i s would be af f e c t e d through the e x i s t i n g parliamentary system. Although they condemned cap i t a l i s m for i t s i n j u s t i c e , i n e q u a l i t y , i n s t a b i l i t y and e x p l o i t a t i o n , s o c i a l democrats s t i l l f e l t that the system which established and maintained such values would allow i t s e l f to be peacefully "eradicated". This reformist point of view involved changes i n confidence and a t t i t u d e . Before the United Front, the Communists had been confident and a s s e r t i v e i n t h e i r vanguard r o l e . I t was c l e a r from the Russian ex-ample that mass revolutions were possible and as the c a p i t a l i s t system appeared to be keeping the majority of Canadians i n poverty, surely once working people were infused with c l a s s consciousness they would gladly destroy the system which abused them. The u n s a l v a g a b i l i t y of c a p i t a l i s m and the h i s t o r i c a l l y determined nature of the Party's r o l e gave i t a sense of conviction and righteousness. As t o t a l destruction of the system was the goal, compromise was not an issue and as Moscow made a l l the important decisions, Party i n - f i g h t i n g was minimized. These aspects combined to make the Communists a very confident p o l i t i c a l movement. This was r e f l e c t e d i n the communist approach to unionization. Organizing and f i g h t i n g against t h e i r employers demonstrated to working people that they need not be victims but could have some impact on t h e i r wages and.^c_o.nditions of work. This a t t i t u d e of c o n t r o l was necessary i n an ideology where the workers c o n t r o l the state. As discussed i n the l a s t chapter, even the a r t which operated within t h i s ideology i l l u s t r a t e d most g r a p h i c a l l y the confidence and programmatic a t t i t u d e of the Party toward s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l change. I t also created a climate and a forum within which a r t that made a s o c i a l comment could do so openly and d i r e c t l y , indeed, i t was the only acceptable form. The Party focussed i t s p o l i t i c a l p r o s e l y t i z i n g p r i m a r i l y on i n d u s t r i a l workers, miners, and the unemployed, as i t s response to the Depression was to f i g h t back with s t r a t e g i e s which would help b u i l d a t o t a l l y new s o c i a l order i n the long run. However, short term t a c t i c s , such as the benefits of s t r i k i n g were not immediately obvious to workers who suffered even greater deprivation during labour disputes and who were often p h y s i c a l l y injured by s t r i k e breakers i n the process. The CCF, on the other hand was comprised of people who believed the most d i r e c t and p r a c t i c a l response to the Depression was to r e l i e v e immediate hardships and work for major s o c i a l and economic reform i n the long term. Their focus was on the present, however, with the future a 19 very d i s t a n t eventuality, not of primary importance. The increasing urgency of the c r i s i s hastened the establishment of the new party which had been i n the incubation stage f o r several years. There had been a reluctance on the part of many groups to j o i n as they f e l t t h e i r autonomy would be l o s t i n a large organization. Consequently, the a l l i a n c e ' s hesitant beginnings and f a c t i o n a l structure created a party constantly wracked by doubts and in-party power struggles which 20 drained the a l l i a n c e of energy and resources. The i n s e c u r i t y of the c o a l i t i o n was consistent with i t s approach to s o c i a l change i n that i t was dominated by an a t t i t u d e of compromise. By seeking reform from the e x i s t i n g system, the CCF i n a sense l e g i t i m i z e d that system's c o n t r o l , and admitted c a p i t a l i s m was here to stay. Asking concessions from the powerful r e i n f o r c e d the federation's lack of confidence and i n f e r i o r p o s i t i o n . As the party had l i t t l e d i r e c t p o l i t i c a l power, i t functioned more as a lobbying a s s o c i a t i o n , as many of the component groups had always done. T y p i c a l were the farmers, whose standard., of l i v i n g was determined by powers i n the east. They had formed assoc-i a t i o n s i n the early 1900's to urge reform i n the banking and marketing systems; however, most farmers s t i l l believed i n the privately-owned, 21 family farm and free enterprise. And c e r t a i n l y S t a l i n ' s v i o l e n t c o l l e c t i v i z a t i o n of p r i v a t e l y held farms in the Soviet Union compounded t h e i r suspicion of s o c i a l i s t s . On some issuets such as the need for a planned economy and nation-a l i z a t i o n of public u t i l i t i e s the CCF and the CP shared p a r a l l e l views. This was awkward for the CCF which constantly d i s s o c i a t e d i t s e l f from the Communists even a f t e r the United Front overtures. In 1935 the United Farmers of Ontario f i n a l l y separated, as i t f e l t the CCF was 22 too close to the Communists. With t h i s kind of pressure, i t was d i f f i c u l t for the Federation to maintain an equilibrium, given the range of s o c i a l and l i b e r a l view of i t s members. Radical ideas were 23 often couched i n more innocuous terms. This hesitancy and unsure element was an important part of the ideology of the new l e f t and i s discussed here because i t was r e f l e c t e d i n a r t which made a p o l i t -i c a l l y c r i t i c a l statement during the same period. Even before the establishment of the CCF, workers and farmers had found some degree of p o l i t i c a l expression from both a communist and 24 non-communist point of view for decades. I n t e l l e c t u a l s , however, had never been a force in Canadian r a d i c a l p o l i t i c s . Unlike the United States, in the conservative dominion, i t was not considered acceptable for i n t e l l e c t u a l s to be p o l i t i c a l l y a c t i v e , e s p e c i a l l y 25 teachers and professors i n public i n s t i t u t i o n s . This controversy increased in the early and mid t h i r t i e s when the League for S o c i a l Reconstruction was established by a group of academics and profes-sionals in an attempt to analyze the causes of the Depression and propose so l u t i o n s . Although the LSR was not i t s e l f a f f i l i a t e d with the CCF, i t became known as the "brain t r u s t " f o r the s o c i a l democratic 26 l e f t . In the t h i r t i e s i t became more acceptable for academics to discuss p o l i t i c a l solutions to the problems of the Depression, as f a i t h in business to lead the nation out of the economic slump had deteriorated. At the same time, i t also became acceptable among some pro f e s s i o n a l a r t i s t s , trained within the " f i n e a r t " t r a d i t i o n to produce paintings and graphic work which responded to the s o c i a l and economic conditions of the Depression. During the 1920's businessmen had enjoyed a measure 27 of prestige consistent with the period of economic boom. Although i n t e l l e c t u a l s through the LSR were not advocating p o l i c i e s r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t from the p o l i c i e s that S o c i a l Gospel, farm and conservative labour groups had recommended before them, the League d i d approach both the problems and solutions from an a n a l y t i c a l and t h e o r e t i c a l point of view. The League published pamphlets, a r t i c l e s , and books examining the inadequacies of the c a p i t a l i s t system and proposing s o l u t i o n s . I t s two most important publications were The Canadian Forum, a monthly .magazine; and S o c i a l Planning for Canada, an in-depth a n a l y s i s of c a p i t a l i s m i n Canada along with a programme for a planned economy including n a t i o n a l i z a t i o n of key industries and the establishment of 28 a welfare s t a t e . Given the close r e l a t i o n s h i p between the CCF and the LSR, the Canadian Forum acted as much an organ f o r one as f o r the other. I t covered n a t i o n a l and i n t e r n a t i o n a l news and was a forum f o r theoret-i c a l debate on the l e f t . Culture was also a major focus. F i c t i o n and poetry were an important part of each issue, along with t h e o r e t i c a l a r t i c l e s discussing the r o l e "of a r t and l i t e r a t u r e i n society. The magazine provided a forum f o r s o c i a l l y concerned i n t e l l e c t u a l s to express t h e i r p o l i t i c a l sentiments, contribute to the a r t i c u l a t i o n of a s o c i a l democratic ideology, and publish drawings, p r i n t s and l i t e r a t u r e which would u n l i k e l y be pri n t e d i n more conventional magazines due to the subject matter of the a r t , which often focussed on Depression victims and car r i e d an a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t message. The pu b l i c a t i o n of these artworks contributed to f a m i l i a r i z i n g the readership with pictures which focussed on human topics e i t h e r through anti-war or Depression-related imagery. The Canadian Forum and the publications of the LSR generally, were aimed at an audience which was predominantly middle c l a s s . Consequently, many had at l e a s t some exposure to the conventions of l i t e r a t u r e , theatre, and a r t , ei t h e r through formal education or personal associations. A r t i c l e s on p o l i t i c s and economics, written by academics i n these f i e l d s , were w e l l researched and thoughtful, using s t a t i s t i c s and l o g i c , rather than r h e t o r i c and outrage to persuade the reader, as was the s t y l e common to the Communist Party supported newspapers. This r e f l e c t e d the p r o f e s s i o n a l and academic complexion of the s o c i a l democratic l e f t ' s 29 leadership during the mid 1930's. During the 1930's the character of Canadian nationalism changed. I t w i l l be remembered that i n the 1920's nationalism of the r i s i n g entrepreneurial class had focussed on breaking away from England and was thus a n t i - B r i t i s h i n sentiment. I t proclaimed what we were not, that i s , we were not a B r i t i s h colony any longer, as the old e l i t e t i e d f i n a n c i a l l y to England would pr e f e r . In the t h i r t i e s n a t i o n a l f e e l i n g emphasized what Canada was. This involved a more d e s c r i p t i v e approach to the Canadian i d e n t i t y . This attitu d e coincided with the increase i n resource exports. No longer dependent on the vagaries of wheat crops and markets to determine v i a b i l i t y of the economy, recovery 30 was centred around other exports, p a r t i c u l a r l y gold and base metals. The opening of these new markets contributed to changing the image of Canada from one of endless wheat f i e l d s . The need for an i d e n t i t y which would a r t i c u l a t e what i t meant to be a Canadian found expression i n many areas of society from p o l i t i c s to theatre, publishing and a r t . James Woodsworth, f i r s t President of the CCF, stated at the founding convention of the Party. Utopian Socialism and C h r i s t i a n Socialism, Marxian Socialism and Fabianism, the L a t i n type, the German type, the Russian type - why not a Canadian type? ...1 am convinced that we may develop i n Canada a d i s t i n c t i v e type of socialism. I refuse to follow s l a v i s h l y the B r i t i s h model or the American model or the Russian model. We i n Canada w i l l solve our problems along our own l i n e s . 31 Whereas Woodsworth had experienced l i t t l e p o s i t i v e reaction to t h i s same proposal i n the 1920's, i t received a very favourable response from s o c i a l 32 democrats i n the 1930's By r e j e c t i n g "the Russian type" Woodsworth was giving p u b l i c notice that the CCF was not another Moscow-dominated organization l i k e the Communist Party of Canada, and c e r t a i n l y t h i s was true. However, to d i s s o c i a t e equally from C h r i s t i a n Socialism and Fabianism was more i r o n i c , as the CCF grew i n part out of the 33 " S o c i a l Gospel" of the twenties and was strongly patterned a f t e r 34 the reformist Fabian movement i n England. Although progressives had been very a n t i - B r i t i s h i n the twenties, B r i t i s h t r a d i t i o n s were s t i l l the dominant component i n the Canadian s o c i a l synthesis. I t was important, however, to subsume these ideas into a c u l t u r a l compo-s i t e which could be i d e n t i f i e d as Canadian. In 1935 controversy developed around American publications entering Canada duty fr e e . Many of those who advocated a t a r i f f did so on nation-a l i s t i c grounds. An a r t i c l e i n The Canadian Magazine i n part discusses the disadvantages of a Canadian publisher who pays duty on everything that goes into making a newspaper, when competing with an imported American p u b l i c a t i o n . Comparing the publishing industry to r a i l r o a d b u i l d i n g , the author indicates that the e s s e n t i a l purpose of p u b l i c a t i o n i s to f o s t e r n a t i o n a l f e e l i n g . Because Canadian publications are undoubtedly a n a t i o n a l i z i n g force, and do express opinions that are d e f i n i t e l y our own, and because they have grown into a r e a l l y great v i t a l i z i n g force, i t i s surely not too much to ask that they might operate i n t h e i r own f i e l d on an economic p a r i t y with the great publications across the l i n e . 35 Although the author makes b r i e f mention of f i n a n c i a l d i s p a r i t y , the threat i s c l e a r l y i d e n t i f i e d as more c u l t u r a l than economic. Although nationalist"sentiment i n the 1920's usually expressed i t s e l f as a n t i -B r i t i s h , i n the 1930's nationalism was pro-Canadian rather than a n t i -American (the U.S. now having superseded B r i t a i n as the dominant i n f l u e n c e ) . Rutledge i s s p e c i f i c about this i n h i s a r t i c l e : We do not quarrel with the man who sings "The Star Spangled Banner", r e a l i z i n g that only a short while back we ourselves sang "Confound t h e i r p o l i t i c s , Frustrate t h e i r knavish t r i c k s " , with, we imagine, an equal lack of animus. 36 Even i n t h i s conservative magazine the need f o r a t r u l y Canadian i d e n t i t y i s expressed. However, the a r t i c l e i s very c a r e f u l not to offend America's r i g h t to free enterprise. Rutledge's reference to the popular a n t i - B r i t i s h song, sung to the tune of God Save the Queen i s defused by h i s phrase "an equal lack of animus". This i s rather odd. Surely those who f e l t no animosity toward B r i t a i n would not have been singing such an i r r e v e r e n t song, c e r t a i n l y not the supporters of the Canadian Magazine. I t was giving away a book e n t i t l e d R.B. Bennett free with subscriptions to the magazine i n 1935. R.B. Bennett g l o r i f i e s the leader of the Conservative Party, who happened also to be Prime Minist e r of Canada at the time. The author was Andrew D. MacLean, General Manager of the magazine. Rutledge, and the business class he spoke f o r , were looking for a Canadian n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y which could express i t s e l f but not offend the powerful. Coinciding with the changing nature of the l e f t and i t s s h i f t from a revolutionary viewpoint to a reform-from-within viewpoint was a change i n the character and v i s u a l appearance of art which functioned c r i t i c a l l y w ithin society. D i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l a r t , unsophisticated i n form and p r o p a g a n d i s t s and revolutionary i n purpose became les s dominant. Usurping i t s prominence was an a r t which made i t s c r i t i c i s m from within the e x i s t i n g p o l i t i c a l and c u l t u r a l structure. At the same time that s o c i a l l y concerned i n t e l l e c t u a l s were entering the p o l i t i c s of the l e f t i n response to the human needs of the Depression, s o c i a l l y concerned f i n e a r t i s t s , formally trained and e x h i b i t i n g within the g a l l e r y system made a r t which commented on the s o c i a l r e a l i t y of Depression Canada. I t i s important to emphasize here that my concern i s with the s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l function of the a r t , not the p r i v a t e i n t e n t i o n of the a r t i s t . Many of the works from t h i s period are not obviously c r i t i c a l ; however, when considered within t h e i r own h i s t o r i c a l context, we r e a l i z e they form or evoke associations and contradictions which have s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l implications that cannot be ignored without misunderstanding or severely l i m i t i n g the appreciation of these works. The new v i s u a l ideology was developed i n the pages of the s o c i a l democratic Canadian Forum and the Marxist monthly New F r o n t i e r . Between March 1936 and A p r i l 1937 many a r t i c l e s appeared which questioned and discussed the r o l e of the f i n e a r t i s t . New F r o n t i e r was published i n opposition to Canadian Forum by a group who broke away from the former, 37 b e l i e v i n g i t to be too mild i n i t s p o l i t i c s . While the Forum functioned as a c u l t u r a l organ f o r the s o c i a l democratic l e f t , F r o n t i e r followed more i n the t r a d i t i o n maintained by the now defunct Masses, that i s , i t c a l l e d on a r t i s t s to use art as a p o l i t i c a l weapon. However, unlike Masses, New F r o n t i e r aimed at a more educated, i n t e l l e c t u a l and generally middle class audience. This,combined with i t s United Front p a l l o r made i t appear quite s o c i a l democratic although i t was run by communists. The aims of NEW FRONTIER are twofold: to acquaint the Canadian public with the work of those writers and a r t i s t s who are expressing a p o s i t i v e reaction to the s o c i a l scene, and to serve as an open forum fo r a l l shades of progressive opinion. 38 Here the editors declare t h e i r support for a r t i s t s who respond to the s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n around them and who exercise t h e i r c u l t u r a l s k i l l s i n action against such conditions. But unlike the more d o c t r i n a i r e Masses, New F r o n t i e r c a l l e d f o r a United Front of culture i n i t s willingness to p r i n t a range of opinion. Indicated here i s a q u a l i t a t i v e change i n the kind of art the new l e f t i s supporting. No longer i s i t considered e s s e n t i a l for the a r t i s t to be p r o l e t a r i a n , make a s p e c i f i c partisan p o l i t i c a l commitment nor produce d i r e c t l y propagandistic work as defined by the Communist Party. "A p o s i t i v e reaction to the s o c i a l scene" i s s u f f i c i e n t l y vague to cover even the most general s o c i a l reference. At the same time, t h i s i s a very s p e c i f i c c r i t e r i o n , because i t i s the f i n e a r t i s t who i s being wooed here. I t must be remembered that r i g h t up to t h i s period the wilderness landscape s t i l l had a stranglehold on the art-viewing p u b l i c . Accord-i n g l y , for an a r t i s t to use urban scenes or people as primary subject matter was by i t s e l f a general s o c i a l comment whether or not the artwork made any d i r e c t p o l i t i c a l references. This was understood by those who i n s i s t e d on art being relevant to the immediate s o c i a l r e a l i t y . In an a r t i c l e i n Canadian Forum written p r i m a r i l y regarding l i t e r a t u r e but applicable to the p l a s t i c a r t s , i t i s d i r e c t l y stated: I t i s impossible for an a r t i s t to divorce himself from the s o c i a l concepts of h i s age. He cannot be simply n u e t r a l ; he cannot avoid taking sides. His a t t i t u d e towards the economic and s o c i a l ideas of h i s period may be i m p l i c i t or e x p l i c i t i n h i s novels, plays or poems; but i t i s there. The mere choice of subject matter w i l l i n d i c a t e h i s bias;, hds treatment of i t w i l l further betray h i s sympathies and antipathies. ...most of the supposedly "objective" a r t i s t s are i n f a c t biased i n favor of the kind of society we have...39 Consequently, to choose to produce images of wilderness landscape on the one hand, or people and c i v i l i z a t i o n on the other, was not a matter of making an inconsequential choice but involved these wider i d e o l o g i -c a l implications whether or not the a r t i s t was aware ot i t . Following t h i s premise, i t would seem that to choose to paint human subjects was to break with the wilderness landscape. To break with wilderness landscape was to r e j e c t the o p t i m i s t i c and entrepreneurial values assoc-i a t e d with i t . This coincides with the loss of f a i t h i n business to lead the Canadian economy out of the Depression. I t also refuses escapism and admits t h i s period had devastating s o c i a l consequences and that optimism was highly incongruent to the h i s t o r i c a l moment. To focus on the Canadian people and c i v i l i z e d r u r a l areas, instead of uninhabited, unclaimed wilderness was an approach reinf o r c e d by the changed nature of nationalism which concentrated on a r t i c u l a t i n g a Canadian i d e n t i y based on d e s c r i p t i v e observation. As i t was c l e a r that most inhabitants l i v e d i n c i t i e s and towns or on farms, i t seemed probable people and c i v i l i z a t i o n would figure prominently i n any a r t which claimed to be t r u l y Canadian i n the mid t h i r t i e s . Graham Mclnnes, well-known a r t c r i t i c i n the 1930's wrote an a r t i c l e f o r New F r o n t i e r i n June 1936 i n which he praised the a r t i s t s of the Canadian Society of Graphic A r t i s t s , whose high q u a l i t y he a t t r i b u t e d to t h e i r p a r t i -c i p a t i o n i n the "new movement". The p o s i t i o n may be b r i e f l y , i f imperfectly, summed up by s t a t i n g that the dominant feature of these exhibitions was an i n t e r e s t i n people rather than i n things, and, secondarily, the development of a s o c i a l consciousness among our a r t i s t s . 40 Mclnnes was a primary advocate of the new a r t . Here he not only i d e n t i f i e s people as important subject matter but also makes the connection between that subject matter and the s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of a r t . Mclnnes's comments are also of i n t e r e s t as he was not a f f i l i a -ted with the communist or s o c i a l democratic l e f t . He also wrote on art f o r conservative magazines such as Comment and Saturday Night. Thus his i n t e r e s t was with the f i n e a r t i s t , e x h i b i t i n g i n t r a d i t i o n a l forums, h i s t o r i c a l l y t i e d through patronage to the middle and upper classes. The implied connection between s o c i a l relevance of the a r t , and nature of the cl a s s targetted by the a r t i s t and c r i t i c i s i n keeping with the r e j e c t i o n of the working class as agent of s o c i a l change and supports the enlightened middle cl a s s voter as the new hope. Mclnnes also r e l a t e s t h i s emphasis on humanity and s o c i a l awareness to the concept of what a true Canadian a r t should be. Two of the things necessary to "save" Canadian art were i d e n t i f i e d as . . . a r t i s t s who f e l t f o r the new Canada that i s the work of m i l l i o n s of a c t i v e people and thousands of indefinable cross currents and fee l i n g s and desires...and some event which might shake the l a t . 45' painters from t h e i r complacency, and make them question t h e i r narrow and r e p e t i t i v e standards. There could be l i t t l e doubt that i n a young, v i t a l country these would be found. 41 He again emphasizes the need f o r a change of subject matter. Mclnnes also expresses here the sentiments of the new nationalism when he indicates that the r i c h and v a r i e d resources of the nation were.more relevant to people than geography. The emphasis on v a r i e t y encourages the reader to look beyond the narrow confines of landscape to f i n d a more complete and r e a l i s t i c n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y . This sentiment i s very s p e c i f i c a l l y d i r e c t e d to wilderness painters i n the author's second c r i t e r i o n . I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that whereas i n the teens and twenties the wilderness landscape was considered the very embodiment of "a young v i t a l country" i t now had become an entrenched, r e a c t i o n -ary p o s i t i o n , representing stagnation and a f a i l e d economy. I t should be noted that debate concerned mostly subject matter rather than s t y l e . Modern s t y l e s were not frequently discussed. P a r t i c u l a r l y , a b s t r a c t i o n was r a r e l y mentioned i n the press i n s p i t e of the experimental work done by w e l l known a r t i s t s such as Lawren Harris and Bertram Brooker. At the same time s o c i a l relevance was being encouraged, aesthetics was also being emphasized so that an equal balance between s o c i a l content and aesthetics became the desirable formula. The admission of aesthetics as an e s s e n t i a l element i n a r t which had some s o c i a l content (remembering how vaguely t h i s may be interpreted) indicates that a r t school t r a i n i n g , commercial a r t g a l l e r i e s , and bourgeois c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y and t r a d i t i o n were acceptable to those who supported t h i s a r t . Ag aLn the i n d i c a t i o n i s that the message was f o r middle class consump-tio n rather than a revolutionary p r o l e t a r i a t . In a review of an e x h i b i t i o n of Soviet art i n Toronto i n the winter of 1936 Mclnnes t r i e d to f i n d a balance between s o c i a l relevance and aesthetics. He does t h i s by discussing the a r t i n r e l a t i o n to p o l a r i t i e s , s i t u a t i n g the works somewhere i n the middle, a compromise p o s i t i o n which attempts to take a stand without a l i e n a t i n g e i t h e r those who make strong p o l i t i -c a l demands of a r t or those who b e l i e v e that a r t should have no relevance to the temporal world. He praises the work f o r i t s high aesthetic standard, which he i d e n t i f i e s by the awareness of modern French painting evident i n the Russian works. "There i s p r a c t i c a l l y no country i n the western world A 2 which does not show the influence of the school of P a r i s . " For Mclnnes t h i s indicates that Russian a r t i s t s are as a r t i s t i c a l l y astute as, and a e s t h e t i c a l l y the equal of, f i n e a r t i s t s i n the West. He i s c a r e f u l to d i s s o c i a t e the works i n t h i s show from d i r e c t l y propagandistic s t y l e s . "The Russians have apparently passed beyond the point where overt propa-43 ganda was an e s s e n t i a l part of Soviet A r t . " At the same time, the s o c i a l relevance of Soviet art was also emphasized i n the review. In the absence of e x p l i c i t s o c i a l content Mclnnes focusses on the a c c e s s i b i l i t y of Soviet a r t to the average c i t i z e n to make h i s point. In point of f a c t the showing was extremely f i n e and essent-i a l l y Russian. But l i k e a l l arts which are close to the people i t was both e a s i l y understandable, and vigorous without being nervously self-assertive...The arts i n Soviet Russia are looked upon as an i n t e g r a l part of a normal well-rounded existence, and t h i s means that the a r t i s t s are able to avoid...the aloofness of those who l i v e and work i n a society which treats them as unrelated phenomenon. 44 Although Mclnnes i d e n t i f i e s the art as " f i n e " , he connects i t not with an e l i t e patron class but with "the people". The works are "understandable" rather than e s o t e r i c and obscure. Even choice of vocabulary such as "vigorous" over "nervously s e l f - a s s e r t i v e " suggest an image of the robust Russian worker viewing the paintings rather than the f r a i l a r i s t o c r a t . At the same time he advocates the i n t e g r a t i o n of the a r t i s t into everyday l i f e he i n d i c a t e s the aesthetic standard of f i n e a r t need not be lowered. Rather than blaming the a r t i s t f o r h i s lack of s o c i a l concern, Mclnnes fur t h e r entreats him by soothing the a r t i s t ' s t r a d i t i o n a l sense of a l i e n a t i o n by i d e n t i f y i n g society as the force which has treated the a r t i s t as "unrelated phenomenon". This implies that c u l t u r a l workers who wish to integrate t h e i r art with the s o c i a l world would not necess a r i l y be v i o l a t i n g the true nature of a r t . Mclnnes's reference to the works being e s s e n t i a l l y Russian i s l i k e l y an expression of h i s own Canadian " d e s c r i p t i v e " nationalism popular i n the t h i r t i e s . I t suggests a key to the a r t i s t i c success of the Russian show was a strong sense of Soviet n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y i n s p i t e of French s t y l i s t i c references. One i s reminded of Woodsworth's insistence on a "Canadian" s o c i a l i s m which integrates, but i s not dominated by, foreign influences. Mclnnes's a r t i s t i c discussion of the works i s made i n p o l i t i c a l terms. When he situates the artwork i n the middle of two extremes they are not j u s t the s t y l i s t i c poles of overt propaganda and e s o t e r i c aestheticism but are d i r e c t l y connected to p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n s . [jChe show of Soviet art] was a sad disappointment to two t o t a l l y opposed types of people and demonstrated once again the f o l l y of t r y i n g to judge of art by any other than aesthetic standards. Those who expect the adoption of c e r t a i n creeds and dogmas to be immediately d i s c e r n i b l e i n the a r t of those who adopt them were heard to w a i l b i t t e r l y , "This i s n ' t a Russian show; i t ' s j u s t a French show. Why, i t Isn't even r a d i c a l . " Those who went prepared to damn the a r t i s t i c output of a country i n whose s o c i a l experiments they did not believe were likewise cheated of t h e i r r i g h t to vociferous disapproval. 45 When Mclnnes r e f e r s to those who expect the a r t i s t ' s p o l i t i c s to be "immediately d i s c e r n i b l e " he i s r e f e r r i n g to the d i r e c t l y propagandistic s t y l e associated with the Communist Party. This represents not only the extreme i n s o c i a l l y concerned a r t but the extreme l e f t i n p o l i t i c s as w e l l . In the adv e r s a r i a l p o s i t i o n are the conservative supporters of the status quo who condemn the " s o c i a l experiments" of a country and i t s " a r t i s t i c output" by a s s o c i a t i o n . A catalogue f o r a show of Russian a r t a few months e a r l i e r also approached i t s own e x h i b i t i o n from a p o l i t i c a l perspective, focussing on the formal organization of a r t i s t s , t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e and democratic p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n c u l t u r a l organizations and t h e i r freedom to produce whatever s t y l e and forms of a r t they wished. Robert Ayre, who wrote the a r t i c l e i n the catalogue was a respected w r i t e r on a r t from a middle c l a s s , conservative point of view generally. He makes a point of st a t i n g that an important element i n the loosening of r e s t r i c t i o n s on a r t i s t s and increase of aesthetic q u a l i t y i n the Soviet Union was the disbanding of the au t h o r i t a r i a n c u l t u r a l structures dominated by d i r e c t i v e s of the Central Committee, and the establishment of non-pa r t i s a n c u l t u r a l groups. "This", he quotes the Russian a r t i s t A l e x e i Kravchenko, "had a very healthy e f f e c t , since the more l i b e r a l a t t i t u d e of the new organization has brought back into creative a c t i v i t y many of the...communist sympathizers temporarily silenced because of the narrowness of v i s i o n of the old group." Ayre emphasizes lack of o f f i c i a l p o l i t i c a l c o n t r o l , freedom of experiment and the voluntary nature of the c u l t u r a l organizations. The i m p l i c a t i o n i s that through these measures aesthetic q u a l i t y had improved i n the Soviet Union since the days when the arts were regimented. Kravchenko's remarks also had some relevance to the Canadian s i t u a t i o n , the point being that a r t i s t s sympathetic to s o c i a l issues but not associated with a party could have a contribution to make through t h e i r a r t . If free to do so through t h e i r own s t y l e and form, i t would l i k e l y be of greater "aesthetic q u a l i t y " than that produced under the close authority of dogmatists. However, he i s also c a r e f u l to point out that the new Union of Soviet A r t i s t s s t r i v e s to bring a r t i s t s into more v i t a l contact with the l i v i n g issues of the day, to arouse t h e i r i n t e r e s t i n the problems of s o c i a l i s t construction, to use t h e i r g i f t s to the f u l l -est possible extent... 47 Consequently> Ayre too saw the need for a r t i s t s to maintain a balance between high aesthetic standard and s o c i a l relevance. This approach was i n keeping with the v i s u a l ideology a r t i c u l a t e d i n the pages of New F r o n t i e r and Canadian Forum and coincided with the s h i f t within the p o l i t i c a l l e f t from dominance by the Communist Party to dominance by the s o c i a l democratic movement. Like the new l e f t , a r t which function-ed c r i t i c a l l y was h e s i t a n t , ambiguous and p o l i t e . Both were cont-i n u a l l y j u s t i f y i n g t h e i r existence on humanitarian and n a t i o n a l i s t grounds. An anti-communist propaganda campaign, one i s reminded, was being waged at t h i s time i n an attempt to f i g h t i n d u s t r i a l unionism and the growing popularity of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. This undoubtedly contributed to the unwillingness of those who wished to c r i t i c i z e the i n a b i l i t y of the nation a l r u l i n g e l i t e to a l l e v i a t e the hardships of the Depression from being d i r e c t and demanding i n t h e i r methods. That communism would turn people into uniform automatons was w e l l permeated through the fears of Canadians, Loss of i n d i v i d -u a l i t y and freedom were important elements i n the campaign. The a n t i -union newspaper I n d u s t r i a l Worker, c i r c u l a t e d among miners and i n d u s t r i a l workers, suggested that workers would lose t h e i r autonomy to negotiate d i r e c t l y with t h e i r employers as free i n d i v i d u a l s i f they joined a union, and t h e i r l i v e s would thereafter be directed from Moscow. A r t i s t s are p a r t i c u l a r l y vulnerable to t h i s type of fear because they are t r a d i -t i o n a l l y the prime example of the free i n d i v i d u a l expressing h i s i n d i v i d -u a l i t y . This i s a p u b l i c as w e l l as p r i v a t e act. An a r t i s t ' s personal expressions are considered to be the s p i r i t u a l property of t h e i r whole society. I f the a r t i s t i s not free then neither i s the society. In Graham Mclnnes's review of the Russian e x h i b i t i o n he wrote for h i s regular a r t column i n Saturday Night he stated: ...though f i n e work may be i n s p i r e d by an i d e a l , as soon as that i d e a l hardens into dogma, i t degrades that which serves i t . ...we presumed that the t o t a l i t a r i a n state, whether f a s c i s t or communist, would shackle freedom of expression. 48 Although he t r i e d to redress t h i s a t t i t u d e toward Russian a r t i n h i s review, i t i s evident that anti-communist f e e l i n g and S t a l i n ' s own b r u t a l behaviour s t i l l influenced the opinions of many people. Com-pounding the message to a r t i s t s that t o t a l i t a r i a n s o c i e t i e s eliminated a r t i s t i c freedom was the knowledge that Nazi Germany s t r i c t l y c o n t r o l l e d i t s a r t i s t s . A major a r t i c l e i n The Studio appeared i n November 1936 which discussed o f f i c i a l government organization of the arts i n Germany and the Nazi a t t i t u d e toward d i f f e r e n t s t y l e s . P r a c t i s i n g a r t i s t s came under the authority of the M i n i s t r y of Propaganda. The ministry also had connections with the German Labour Front and 60 a r t exhibitions a 49 month were sent to f a c t o r i e s . Furthermore, artwork being o f f i c i a l l y promoted by the regime was the work of a r t i s t s regarded as exemplifying desirable q u a l i t i e s , such as patriotism, heroism, family piety, love of one's native countryside and powerful, poignant expression, held w e l l Lin r e s t r a i n t , rather than excessive sensitiveness. 50 Although the a r t i c l e i s written i n a very matter-of-fact manner and at times i s almost defensive or supportive of the Nazis, the message i s c l e a r : a r t under the t o t a l i t a r i a n state i s c l i c h e , unimaginative and repressed. Not only i s freedom of expression s t y f l e d but the a r t i s t himself may also be i n danger. A review of a large show of German a r t at the Pennsylvania Museum of Art appeared i n Time magazine i n October 1936. The o r i g i n a l e x h i b i t i o n was intended to cover German a r t from the 15th to the 20th centuries. "However, since p r a c t i c a l l y every important German painter of the past 35 years has been driven from the C n 51 the e x h i b i t i o n ended i n the 1870'sj". One year l a t e r , on the occasion of the Degenerate Art Show i n Munich, Saturday Night ran a f u l l page a r t i c l e on German a r t . The author gives a f u l l d e s c r i p t i o n of the disrespect with which the works are treated, quotes H i t l e r ' s speech i n which he c r i t i c i z e s Cubism, Dadaism, Futurism, and Expressionism as "the s i l l y concoctions of people to whom God denied 52 the b l e s s i n g of the true a r t i s t i c t a l e n t " . In a f r i g h t e n i n g example of a r b i t r a r y power H i t l e r continues: I therefore admit at t h i s time that i t i s my unalterable decision to do away with empty t a l k i n the realm of art j u s t as i n that of p o l i t i c a l confusion....1 was always determined—if fate should ever give us the power—not to discuss these matters with anybody, but here too to make decisions. 53 A connection between freedom of a r t i s t i c expression and freedom of p o l i t i c a l expression was established. Just as the Nazis used a r t as a propaganda t o o l i n f a c t o r i e s to i n s t i l desirable values of " p a t r i o t -ism, heroism, family p i e t y " etc. i n the German worker, the Soviets used an art e x h i b i t i o n i n which freedom of the a r t i s t to experiment with modern i n t e r n a t i o n a l s t y l e s also c a r r i e d a p o l i t i c a l message. As has been i l l u s t r a t e d , the message that a r t i s t i c freedom means s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l freedom was understood by those Canadians who wrote about the exhibitions and was intimated i n t h e i r reviews. Consequently, the exhibitions of Soviet art functioned as a negation of the undesirable image Russia under S t a l i n was experiencing i n the West, a s i t u a t i o n which contributed to a loss of support within the communist l e f t and i t s sympathizers, who were s u f f e r i n g increasing disillusionment. The connection between freedom and a r t was made i n New Frontier's i n i t i a l e d i t o r i a l . We stand f o r the extension, as w e l l as the defence, of democratic l i b e r t i e s . We hope to see those who have been s i t t i n g on the fence l i n i n g up i n support of culture and c i v i l i z a t i o n . 54 There i s a c e r t a i n urgency to t h i s e d i t o r i a l . The reference to defense of democratic l i b e r t i e s seems incongruous from a predominantly s o c i a l i s t / communist e d i t o r i a l board. From a l e f t perspective capitalism i s not a p a r t i c u l a r l y democratic system. For New F r o n t i e r to wish to defend what r e l a t i v e democracy existed i s an i n d i c a t i o n of how strong the fear of fascism was. The equation of culture with c i v i l i z a t i o n put the a r t i s t r i g h t i n the centre of that struggle. A climax i n the argument over the r o l e of art was reached i n an exchange of two a r t i c l e s by p r a c t i s i n g a r t i s t s i n the spring of 1937. Eliz a b e t h Wyn Wood's a r t i c l e was written i n reaction to a book review written by Frank U n d e r b i l l , h i s t o r i a n , co-founder of the League for S o c i a l Reconstruction and Associate E d i t o r of Canadian Forum i n which he c r i t i c i z e s w riters and a r t i s t s f o r not being moved by the "phenomenon of a c i v i l i z a t i o n d i s s o l v i n g before t h e i r eyes." 3 3 Wood, an e x h i b i t i n g sculptor, defends the status quo, which i s the a r t i s t ' s r i g h t :.to escape into landscape p r e c i s e l y i n order to l i v e i n peace, i n happiness and -in creative energy without knowing the organization we c a l l c i v i l i z a t i o n . . . t h e a r t i s t has always had some doubt about c i v i l i z a t i o n . He has only p a r t l y accepted i t . He has walked o f f into the hinterland at every opportunity...He has...leaned very heavily upon the wilderness f o r s p i r i t u a l stimula-t i o n and nourishment... 56 Wood's emphasis on the a r t i s t ' s s p i r i t u a l need to avoid contamination of h i s a r t i s t i c p u r i t y by too much contact with c i v i l i z a t i o n i s more than j u s t an expression of the romantic c a l l of the north. I t i s a defense of not only wilderness landscape as v a l i d content and s t y l e but of the associated values as w e l l . Our m i l l i o n a i r e s are f i n e fellows who mush through the north as we do, eating hardtack and b u l l y beef, and sometimes having t h e i r own doubts. Moreover, i f they are lucky enough to bring i n a mine or two, the worst that can be said of them i s that they are digging up gold f o r the People's Government to confiscate by and by. 57 This image i s reminiscent of the twenties. The adventurous entrepreneur bushwhacking h i s way through the rugged wilds of northern Ontario i n search of h i s fortune i n resource e x p l o i t a t i o n , i s a v i s i o n which supports a politico-economic system that many people were attacking as having created the Depression and as being incapable of coping with the r e s u l t i n g magnitude of human s u f f e r i n g . The d e s c r i p t i o n of m i l l i o n a i r e s as " f i n e fellows" i n the same year that durable invest-58 ment i n a g r i c u l t u r e was only 53% of the 1928 l e v e l and recovery was s t i l l minimal i n human terms, seems at best i r r e l e v a n t , at worst a g l a r i n g example of the o b l i v i o n that most f i n e a r t i s t s l i v e d i n which was so objectionable to U n d e r h i l l . The example of someone becoming a m i l l i o n a i r e through gold i s appropriatei however, to those who continued to support c a p i t a l i s m and i t s fantasy of personal wealth. With mining p r o f i t s reaching 50%, as mentioned e a r l i e r , and 1937 59 gold production more than double that of 1929, gold was a symbol of capitalism's r e s i l i e n c y and continuing a b i l i t y to b e n e f i t at l e a s t a minority of the population. (And i t i s appropriate to remember here how hard these " f i n e fellows" were f i g h t i n g unionization of the mines i n order to maintain t h e i r rate of p r o f i t s . ) Wood did not believe h e r s e l f to be expressing a p o l i t i c a l p o s i t i o n . I t i s c l e a r from her a r t i c l e she f e l t art which re g i s t e r e d s o c i a l or p o l i t i c a l response to the Depression was propaganda and consequently lacking i n q u a l i t y and aesthetics. To i l l u s t r a t e her point Wood refer s to Soviet a r t : "The bulk of a r t produced since the revolution...has been nothing more than commercial i l l u s t r a t i o n . . . , n o more a e s t h e t i c a l l y s a t i s f y i n g 6( than 'The Doctor' and other subject pictures of the V i c t o r i a n era." The same exhibitions of Russian a r t Graham Mclnnes and Robert Ayre regarded as of high aesthetic q u a l i t y Wood describes as " e s s e n t i a l l y f a l s e , d e r i v a t i v e and of l i t t l e s tature." For Paraskeva Clark, a r t and p o l i t i c s are i n t r i n s i c a l l y l i n k e d . In her reply to Wood's a r t i c l e , p rinted by New Fro n t i e r the following month Clark advocates an active r o l e f o r a r t i s t s . I t i s time to come down from your ivory tower, to come out from your pre-Cambrian Shield and d i r t y your gown i n the mud and sweat of c o n f l i c t . You need not be a f r a i d of l o s i n g your i n d i v i d u a l i t y ; that i s impossible i f you are convinced of the Tightness of your cause. I t i s only possible i f f e e l i n g and act i o n are divorced by i n t e r n a l c o n f l i c t . 62 Reference i s made here to the t r a d i t i o n a l e l i t i s t p o s i t i o n of f i n e a r t i s t s . The i n v i t a t i o n f o r a r t i s t s to come down from t h e i r ivory towers and i d e n t i f y with those who are i n c o n f l i c t implies a r e j e c t t i o n of the patron c l a s s , those who support and maintain the ivory tower because i n the context of t h i s polemic, the c o n f l i c t i s a p o l i t i c a l struggle between those who defend the e x i s t i n g power structure and those who demand s o c i a l / p o l i t i c a l / e c o n o m i c change. Fear of l o s i n g i n d i v i d u a l i t y i s synonymous with l o s i n g freedom of expression. When one's " f e e l i n g " f o r s o c i a l j u s t i c e i s inconsistent with one's "action", that i s , being a s o c i a l l y committed a r t i s t , one escapes the trap of pandering to those who promote the ivory tower and expresses true i n d i v i d u a l human f e e l i n g . "Think of yourself as a human being, and you cannot help f e e l i n g the r e a l i t y of l i f e around 63 you, and becoming impregnated with i t . " Consequently, Clark not 74 only f e l t the a r t i s t was under o b l i g a t i o n to take her part i n "defence 64 and advancement of c i v i l i z a t i o n " but that no loss of a r t i s t i c q u a l i t y or personal s e l f expression need be s a c r i f i c e d . Shortly a f t e r t h i s , Clark painted Petroushka, a work true to these sentiments. The d i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l statement i s conveyed with an awareness of Cezanne and Cubism i n t e r a c t i n g with elements of Russian f o l k a r t . The subject i s a puppet show held i n a c i t y s t r e e t (fig.4) f i l l e d with spectators. The painting was i n s p i r e d by front page photographs i n the Toronto Da i l y Star of June 1, 1937, one day a f t e r the "Memorial Day Massacre" where p o l i c e attacked s t r i k e r s at the Republic Steel Corporation plant i n South Chicago.^ 3 When 2000 s t r i k e r s marched on the plant, they were attacked by p o l i c e who shot ten ( k i l l i n g 6 6 f i v e ) , severely beat 28 and in j u r e d 30 others. Throughout the t h i r t i e s attacks on s t r i k e r s and t h e i r supporters by p o l i c e , m i l i t i a , and hired strikebreakers were common. Although t h i s p a r t i c u l a r event occurred i n the U.S., attempts of workers to e s t a b l i s h c o l l e c t i v e bargaining i n Canada were also met with h o s t i l i t y by employers, whose c o l l u s i o n with l o c a l and p r o v i n c i a l a u t h o r i t i e s resulted i n varying degrees of tension and violence. A p r i l 1937, when Paraskeva Clark's a r t i c l e appeared i n New F r o n t i e r was the same month that i n d u s t r i a l unionism was i n i t s a l l important struggle for existence i n Ontario with the Oshawa General Motors s t r i k e . Her painting Petroushka addresses these issues and makes a v i s u a l p o l i t i c a l analysis without using a d i r e c t l y propagand-ists s t y l e . A policeman with a trudgeon i s seen beating a worker. In his other hand he c a r r i e s a p i s t o l . This image r e l a t e s d i r e c t l y to the F i g . 4 Paraskeva Clark, Petroushka 1937 Reprinted from Mary E. MacLachlan, Paraskeva Clark;  Paintings and Drawings (Halifax: Dalhousie A r t Galler y , 1982), cover. Republican Steel s i t u a t i o n . However, Clark makes th i s a more general statement with the addition of the g l e e f u l c a p i t a l i s t positioned behind the policeman. Fancy dress, shiny top hat and money bags i n e i t h e r hand, he i s drawn from the t r a d i t i o n a l stereotype. His i n c l u s i o n i n the scene suggests a c e r t a i n economic and p o l i t i c a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between the f i g u r e s . The c a p i t a l i s t employs the p o l i c e force as an agent to control workers who organize against low wages, unf a i r treatment and poor working conditions. Hierarchy and chain of power are indicated i n the painting by the placement of the fi g u r e s . He who accumulates money i s s i t u a t e d at the top. D i r e c t i n g h i s attention at the policeman, he waves the money bags which acts as incentive f o r the policeman to attack the worker. That the policeman functions as an agent f o r the c a p i t a l i s t i ndicates that the c a p i t a l i s t holds economic and p o l i t i c a l power over the worker; p o l i t i c a l i n that the p o l i c e maintain the law, that i s , the j u d i c i a r y , an arm of the nationa l government. Petroushka i s a f i n e example of what Mclnnis termed "the new movement", that i s , the painting shows "an i n t e r e s t i n people rather than things" and "the development of a s o c i a l consciousness among our a r t i s t s . " Rejecting landscape i n t h i s instance, Clark responds to a s p e c i f i c i ncident i n the immediate s o c i a l r e a l i t y . I t i s also e a s i l y understandable without being heavy-handed or t r i t e , another q u a l i t y admired by Mclnnes as indicated i n h i s review of the Soviet a r t show. As Clark reacts against the apathy of the wilderness land-scape, v i s u a l l y , she r e j e c t s Wyn Wood's defence of that genre as a v a l i d escape from the mire of worldly struggles. Like many a r t i s t s i n the mid t h i r t i e s , Clark encouraged a r t i s t s to examine t h e i r r o l e i n society and approach t h e i r work with a greater sense of humanity: Think of yourself as a human being, and you cannot help f e e l i n g the r e a l i t y of l i f e around you, and becoming impregnated with i t . 67 Clark was c e r t a i n l y not unaware of the d i f f i c u l t i e s t h i s presented to p r a c t i s i n g f i n e a r t i s t s . Opportunities to show and buyers of Canadian a r t had never been numerous, but during the 1930's they diminished! considerably. The National Gallery had i t s budget reduced from $130,000 i n 1929 to $25,000 i n 1934. In the period 1932-1936 only two contemporary Canadian works were purchased, a s e l f p o r t r a i t and a landscape. Up u n t i l 1939 the g a l l e r y favoured the wilderness 68 landscape as did most of the few c o l l e c t o r s . Consequently, i f a r t i s t s wanted to be successful, i t was almost e s s e n t i a l that they pro-duce landscapes. Paraskeva Clark was no exception; the bulk of her work i s landscape. I t was the genre which was reviewed and which sol d . I never touched landscape before I came here, but i n Canada i t ' s landscapes, landscapes, land-scapes, a kind of natio n a l form of a r t , and i t ' s the only thing you can s e l l anyway, so involun-t a r i l y you s t a r t doing that... 69 Thus the c o n f l i c t between wanting to have a human focus and having to paint landscapes i f one wanted to s e l l was a constant problem for those who wanted to work i n a more relevant gentre. Clark dealt with t h i s by painting landscapes while at the same time doing s t i l l l i f e s , p o r t r a i t s , and s o c i a l comment works; and, by d i r e c t l y arguing through her a r t i c l e i n New F r o n t i e r f o r a more s o c i a l l y and p o l i c i t i c a l l y relevant a r t . 78 Although Petroushka functioned as s o c i a l comment, i n keeping with the c r i t e r i a f o r such a r t i n the mid and l a t e t h i r t i e s , which stressed a balance between s o c i a l comment and aesthetics, i t was also s o p h i s t i c a -ted and a r t f u l i n appearance. Drawing from her knowledge of Russian f o l k a r t Clark creates a l i v e l y surface of well-rounded figures and bri g h t colour r e s u l t i n g i n strong patterning extending over the whole surface. This gives the image a c e r t a i n i n t e n s i t y without being decorative. As mentioned e a r l i e r , among some c r i t i c s such as Graham Mclnnes and Robert Ayre, awareness of modern French painting s t y l e s was a sign of aesthetic q u a l i t y . This concept remained i n the abstract, however. As modern s t y l e s were r a r e l y s e r i o u s l y discussed i n Canadian pu b l i c a t i o n s , i t appears there was a general assumption that anything new and modern was by d e f i n i t i o n progressive and de s i r a b l e . In a b r i e f information piece Mclnnes wrote on Paraskeva Clark f o r Canadian Forum, the author centres on the Cezannesque q u a l i t y of a landscape painted by C l a r k . 7 ^ I t i s cl e a r from the glorious references to Cezanne Mclnnes f e l t : that to e x h i b i t an awareness of the French a r t i s t ' s approach to form was indeed a sign of q u a l i t y and aesthetics i n a r t . Although having l i v e d i n P a ris h e r s e l f , Clark's f a m i l i a r i t y with French a r t came more d i r -e c t l y through her teacher i n Moscow, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, who had studied, among other places, i n Munich and Paris. 7'' In his classes he emphasized substructure, form and geometry, considerations which informed Clark's work f o r many years whether landscape, p o r t r a i t , 72 s t r e e t scene or s t i l l l i f e . In Petroushka t h i s concern f o r the struc-ture of space i s a r t i c u l a t e d through the use of i n t e r l o c k i n g planes which d i s t o r t and confuse the viewer's v i s u a l expectations. The space behaves unpredictably; i t i s d i s o r i e n t i n g and di s t u r b i n g . Adding to the h e c t i c surface pattern, incongruous s p a c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and intense colour, i s the unusual placement of the b u i l d i n g at various contradic-tory angles to the horizon. They teeter at insecure angles, appearing to be f a l l i n g out of the p i c t u r e frame. The conscious manipulation of space i n t h i s painting r e s u l t s i n a disqui e t i n g image which challenges the viewer to question h i s accepted notion of s p a c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s and v i s u a l presentation of the world as i t has generally been described to him. The image i s insecure also i n that i t entreats the viewer to think and a r t i c u l a t e the nature of h i s s o c i a l existence but does not o f f e r any tidy s o lutions. Clark attempts to be true to the complexity of soc i a l / p o l i t i c a l / e c o n o m i c r e l a t i o n s within society. The v i s u a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l q u a l i t i e s i d e n t i f y the painting as belonging to the post United Front period whan the new l e f t was characterized by concomitant i n s e c u r i t y , greater i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m , and i t s appeal to a broader range of Canadians including farmers, urban workers and i n t e l l e c t u a l s . A much less obviously p o l i t i c a l work i s Orchard, Township Bentinck, Hanover painted by Carl Schaefer i n 1935. Orchard i l l u s t r a t e s a d i f f e r -ent approach to s o c i a l comment than the d i r e c t l y c r i t i c a l approach of Paraskeva Clark. Rejecting wilderness landscape as an option, Schaefer most often painted "farmscapes". Although equally unpopulated as w i l d -erness scenes, emphasis i n Schaefer's r u r a l landscapes i s on c i v i l i z a t i o n . Evidence of human society i s everywhere—in the fences, the farmhouses, the t i l l e d f i e l d s and the planted orchards. In 1935 Carl Schaefer pro-duced a series of o i l paintings which question the optimism of the e x i s t i n g dominant landscape s t y l e . By always r e i n f o r c i n g the human q u a l i t y of the r u r a l landscape and at the same time introducing j a r r i n g elements, Schaefer expresses "a p o s i t i v e reaction to the s o c i a l scene" as proposed by New F r o n t i e r . Orchard i s one of these works, ( f i g . 5) Schaefer's r e j e c t i o n of wilderness landscape was i n part due to h i s d i s i n t e r e s t i n mountains and h i s lack of finances to t r a v e l and paint i n Northern Ontario. From 1932 to 1940 Schaefer and h i s family were forced to l i v e t h e i r summers at h i s grandparents farm i n southern Ontario due to Carl Schaefer's d i f f i c u l t y i n f i n d i n g year-round employment i n Toronto. 7^ Consequently, Orchard i s to the a r t i s t intensely personal, both i n terms of h i s immediate f i n a n c i a l anxiety and i n terms of h i s family heritage and i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y . For whatever personal reasons Schaefer chose not to paint the dominant theme, that r e j e c t i o n also functioned as a c r i t i q u e . Reinforcing the aspect of c r i t i c i s m was h i s introduction of disturbing elements into h i s work during the mid t h i r t i e s , such as a farmhouse perched precariously on a r i s e of land, dead, stark trees, and ominous storm clouds. Usually combined with more o p t i m i s t i c elements, Orchard represents a personal extreme. This i s not an image of optimism or contentment. Nothing could be farther from the notions and abundance and prosperity one associates with the idea of an orchard. Unlike the r i c h , comfortable panoramas of the wilderness landscape, Orchard o f f e r s no solace, hope, or promise fo r the future. The trees appear..to be dead and nothing grows i n the f i e l d . What l i t t l e growth e x i s t s , i s l a s t year's dri e d up grass. Stumps bear witness to the permanent destruction of three a d d i t i o n a l trees. Orchard exudes despair and f r u s t r a t i o n . Unromanticized and undecora-t i v e i n s t y l e , t h i s i s an intense and v i o l e n t image. Dark furrows, gap-ing l i k e open wounds, d i r e c t the eye up to an abrupt horizon. At t h i s point we are threatened by sabre-like branches. The trees go out to both side frames, as well as quite close to the top frame—we are unable to go around, through, or over t h i s menacing b a r r i e r . Yet we are unable to retreat as the very dominant d i r e c t i o n l i n e s of the furrows do not reverse. The r i s e of the h i l l , with i t s outer sloping edges, also reinforces the upward movement. Anxiety i s heightened by tension i n the negative space between the branches. The compressed and co n t r o l l e d composition allows no escape for the viewer. The image stands as a symbol of the despair and a g r i c u l t u r a l devast-ation of the Depression. A g r i c u l t u r e suffered very much more than any 74 other industry and was the slowest to recover. Although Carl Schaefer did not l i v e i n the p r a i r i e s , but i n the r e l a t i v e l y l e s s affected south-ern Ontario,Orchard, by v i r t u e of i t s bleak imagery, Depression context and uniqueness i n Canadian landscape painting at the time, s t i l l function-ed as a c r i t i c a l statement on a n a t i o n a l s c a l e . This i s also consistent with the demands of the new " d e s c r i p t i v e " nationalism which emphasized the d i v e r s i t y of the Canadian experience and encouraged a r t i s t s to describe that p a r t i c u l a r i t y . In his a r t i c l e "New Horizons i n Canadian Art", Graham Mclnnes supported a concept of the n a t i o n a l as a composite of s e l f - i d e n t i f i a b l e regions.. In t h i s way the personal and the l o c a l are linked to a n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y . Regions maintain t h e i r i d e n t i t y ; t h i s creates the structure f o r n a t i o n a l pride which has as i t s essence d i v e r s i t y i t s e l f . Mclnnes promoted . . . a r t i s t s who f e l t f o r the new Canada that i s the work of m i l l i o n s of active people and thousands of indefinable cross currents and f e e l i n g s and desires... 75 He also i d e n t i f i e d a new Canadian landscape. ...the land as i t looks a f t e r Canadians have t i l l e d i t , l i v e d by i t and died i n i t — t h e land which has l e f t i t s mark on a people and has i n turn been marked by them. 76 A connection i s intimated between Mclnnes's demand for a r t i s t s to be s e n s i t i v e to t h e i r surroundings and New Frontier's support of a r t i s t s who express a " p o s i t i v e reaction to the s o c i a l scene". Mclnnes f r e -quently commended Schaefer and other like-minded a r t i s t s who observed and interpreted t h e i r own immediate environment. I t i s c l e a r from h i s a r t i c l e on the new movement that t h i s r e f e r r e d to s o c i a l , as w e l l as, p h y s i c a l environment. At the same time, throughout a l l h i s a r t i c l e s Mclnnes con s i s t e n t l y emphasized that response to one's s o c i a l and material circumstances must be synthesized through the a r t i s t ' s aesthet-i c appreciation and expressed i n a s k i l l e d and mastered technique. A good native art must be the product of i t s environment, but i t must also be the product of imagination and aesthetic s e n s i b i l i t y . 77 Mclnnes f e l t Schaefer was successful i n bringing together the r e a l and the aesthetic worlds. In an a r t i c l e e n t i r e l y devoted to the a r t i s t , Mclnnes emphasized Schaefer's long years t r a i n i n g i n wood turning and church decorating as w e l l as i n various graphic media and p a i n t i n g . He connected t h i s to the a r t i s t ' s regional s e n s i t i v i t y and thereby promoted the combination of aesthetic judgement and a r t i s t i c profes-sionalism with awareness of immediate environmental ( s o c i a l and physical) surroundings. ...the long process of steeping himself i n h i s native environment began to fuse with h i s imaginative q u a l i t i e s , h i s sense of form and h i s command of h i s media, and to produce the s p i r i t e d , highly i n d i v i d u a l work by which he i s now known. 78 When Mclnnes was w r i t i n g about a r t , whether i n a review or a general a r t i c l e , he usually emphasized these points. He accepted the concept of a r t i s t s as an e l i t e class but he did want them to be more aware of the world around them. Always of paramount importance to Mclnnes was aesthetics. Although he did support some printmakers and a r t i s t s such as Laurence Hyde, Leonard Hutchinson and Nathan Pet r o f f when they pro-duced work.for e x h i b i t i o n , any work they produced f o r i l l u s t r a t i o n i n r a d i c a l p e r i o d i c a l s was not discussed. The new a r t movement, l i k e the new l e f t , t r i e d to f i n d a balance between s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m and an a r t f u l , pleasing, c a s t i g a t i o n of the status quo. M i l l e r B r i t t a i n , a St. John, New Brunswick a r t i s t of the same period produced a series of s a t i r i c a l drawings i n the mid t h i r t i e s . Although they appear closer to book i l l u s t r a t i o n or c a r i c a t u r e , Mclnnes praised these works i n a "Fine A r t " context. B r i t t a i n ' s human focus i d e n t i f i e d him as an a r t i s t making " p o s i t i v e reaction to the s o c i a l scene" as defined by New Frontier. He drew and painted longshoremen, factory workers, union meetings and a range of other s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n s . Unlike Paraskeva Clark, who painted many landscapes i n s p i t e of her preference f o r other subject matter and at the same time she was painting s o c i a l comment-works, M i l l e r B r i t t a i n never painted landscapes. This was p a r t l y due to h i s residence i n St. John. S u f f i c i e n t l y removed from Toronto, hub of the wilderness landscape c u l t , B r i t t a i n found i n s p i r a t i o n elsewhere. In 1930 at age 18 he went to New York to study at the Art Students 79 League f o r two years. The school attracted teachers and students -Interested i n making s o c i a l l y aware a r t . Although he intended to study commercial i l l u s t r a t i o n , h i s earthy s t y l e was not conducive to 80 the " t r i c k y slap-dash" requirements of the d i r e c t o r . While at the 81 school he became an admirer of Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya and Daumier. In New York and throughout the United States, American S o c i a l R e a l i s t s were active and i n 1932 George Grosz a r r i v e d from Germany. A few years l a t e r , back i n St. John, B r i t t a i n became involved f o r a time with the Oxford Group. The organization sought C h r i s t i a n solutions to s o c i a l problems and was quite inte r e s t e d i n the struggles of workers and unions. B r i t t a i n ' s s a t i r i c a l and s o c i a l comment works became admired by those who supported the new movement i n Canadian a r t . Not only did h i s work have a human focus, i t was i n s p i r e d by a s o c i a l concern f o r people i n general during the Depression but was expressed i n a manner s p e c i f i c to h i s own experience, p e r s o n a l i t y and environment. This was consistent with nationalism i n the t h i r t i e s which encouraged >: regional i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . I t was also important to those who advocated an a r t which responded to the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of society i n the Depres-sion, but which did so i n an a r t f u l , s o phisticated manner. Emphasis on personal response of the i n d i v i d u a l functioned to d i s s o c i a t e a r t i s t s of the new movement from communist c o r r e l a t i o n s . A f t e r the S t a l i n i z a t i o n of the Soviet Union, communism was often i d e n t i f i e d with s t y f l i n g i n d i v i d u a l i t y and f o r c i n g people into the mould of unthinking automatons dominated by foreign ideas. Focussing on freedom of the a r t i s t to express h i s i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y and at the same time o'f-fe'-ring p u b l i c c r i t i c i s m of the established s o c i a l order had the e f f e c t of making a statement against Stalinism at the same time as pointing out the i n j u s t i c e s of capitalism, while presenting i t as a f r e e r , more desirable system. Like Paraskeva Clark and C a r l Schaefer, M i l l e r B r i t t a i n was "nominated" by Graham Mclnnes " f o r the h a l l of fame i n the vanguard 83 of t h i s new movement". Mclnnes chose B r i t t a i n as one of the feature a r t i s t s i n h i s s e r i e s "Contemporary Canadian A r t i s t s " published regu-l a r l y i n the Canadian Forum. To accompany the text Mclnnes selected a s a t i r i c a l work "D'Ye Ken John Peel?", ( f i g . 6) M i l l e r B r i t t a i n . . . h a s sounded a note of genuine s a t i r e without b i t t e r n e s s , while there i s a, s u f f i c i e n t l y high regard for a r t i s t i c canons i n hi s work to suggest great promise f o r the future. 84 The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of t h i s work as legitimate s a t i r e d i s s o c i a t e s i t from p o l i t i c a l cartoons and i l l u s t r a t i o n s common i n communist publications M i l l e r B r i t t a i n , "D'Ye Ken John Peel?" Reprinted from The Canadian Forum, December 1937 before 1935 and with which i t shares c e r t a i n elements. Just as the new l e f t worked f o r s o c i a l change i n a p o l i t e , cooperative manner, Mclnnes preferred h i s s o c i a l c r i t i c i s m "without b i t t e r n e s s " . His d e f i n i t i o n of s a t i r e was dependent upon equality between the j e s t e r and h i s object. S a t i r e requires an audience f o r success, and an audience implies a nation that has learned to laugh at i t s e l f . 85 This approach to s a t i r e dismisses as propaganda any s a t i r e which functions within an attacker-victim model. Consequently, the communist cartoons of the twenties and early t h i r t i e s which s a t i r i z e the r u l i n g class and t h e i r p o l i t i c a l system as the causes of the Depression are not within the framework of legitimate s a t i r e as defined by the exponents of the new movement. Thus i n B r i t t a i n ' s drawing, the subjects are poked fun at but they are not attacked as a c l a s s . In t h i s sense the image contradicts i t s e l f . I t purports to be s o c i a l comment yet i n f a c t i t gives the i l l u s i o n , but not the substance of c r i t i c i s m . This indicates the audience f o r these works was those elements of the middle class not ravaged e i t h e r economically or ps y c h o l o g i c a l l y by the Depression and i s reinforced by the subject matter of the drawing. The characters appear to be of B r i t i s h stock indicated by the form of fancy dress, very B r i t i s h moustaches on two of the men, and the room decor complete with academic p o r t r a i t and what are possibly small watercolours matted and framed i n an acceptable B r i t i s h manner. Their tune i s an English hunting song. B r i t t a i n chose to s a t i r i z e them not by d i s t o r t i n g them into s t e r e o t y p i c a l absurdies common to the communist cartoons, with bloated b e l l i e s and bags of money, but by i n t e n s i f y i n g t h e i r concentra-ti o n and by adding a c e r t a i n grotesqueness to the hands. Considering the high l e v e l of s k i l l among some Canadian a r t i s t s with which Mclnnes was no doubt f a m i l i a r , t h i s drawing does not seem as strong i n t r a d i -t i o n a l a r t i s t i c canons as Mclnnes states. However, as a high aesthetic standard was paramount to h i s c r i t e r i a f o r the new movement i t was e s s e n t i a l this aspect be emphasized. To r e i n f o r c e the notion of q u a l i t y i n B r i t t a i n ' s work, Mclnnes related h i s work to a w e l l known European a r t i s t . " B rittain...has more r i g h t than anyone since Krieghoff to be c a l l e d the Canadian Breughel". 86 This i s not to say Mclnnes was d i s t o r t i n g the a r t i s t ' s intentions. Like Paraskeva Clark, B r i t t a i n undoubtedly did not believe that a r t was ' best l e f t to the Ivory Tower and the Pre-Cambrian Shield. I have no patience with those i n d i v i d u a l s who think of pictures merely as embellishments to a decorative scheme...A pi c t u r e ought to emerge from the midst of l i f e and be i n no way divorced from i t . 87 On the other hand, t h i s did not mean that the a r t i s t should lend h i s s k i l l to outright propaganda. "D'Ye Ken John Peel?" was conceived not as a cartoon but as an a r t object. I t i s of easel s i z e and was drawn i n charcoal, a substance which does not to l e r a t e much handling. Clear-l y , time and planning were an i n t e g r a l part of the work. Care was taken in the f u l l completion of every f i g u r e and a r t i c l e i n the image. Unlike cartoons which usually have a c e n t r a l , immediately recognizeable focus, B r i t t a i n ' s drawing has an o v e r a l l composition. Balanced with a d e l i b e r -ate arrangement of shapes and s k i l l f u l manipulation of l i g h t and shadow, the a r t i s t ' s eye i s manifest. Every d e t a i l i s completed d i l i g e n t l y and every face p a r t i c u l a r i z e d . 90 As with Paraskeva Clark and C a r l Schaefer, Mclnnes emphasized aesthetic judgment informed with s o c i a l awareness, when w r i t i n g of B r i t t a i n ' s work. Clark's s o c i a l l y responsive paintings were d i r e c t and i n t e l l i g e n t i n t h e i r approach. Schaefer's were usually more i n t e r p r e t -a t i v e and possibly l e s s d i r e c t l y intended. B r i t t a i n ' s drawings, again d i f f e r e n t from the others, were s a t i r i c a l but p o l i t i c a l l y harmless. C l e a r l y , the a r t which functioned as s o c i a l comment i n the middle and l a t e t h i r t i e s was much more a r t f u l and subtle i n i t s imagery than the e a r l i e r communist-associated a r t . However, l i k e the communist i l l u s t r a -tions before i t , the new art made reference to economic hardships of the Depression, s o c i a l i n j u s t i c e s of capitalism and the dynamic of class struggle. Yet i t did so i n a t a s t e f u l , i n o f f e n s i v e , t r a d i t i o n a l l y comfortable way, p r e c i s e l y i n the s t y l e of the new s o c i a l democratic movement, the new v e h i c l e f o r p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l change i n Canada. FOOTNOTES Ivan Avakumovic, The Communist Party i n Canada: A History (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1978), p. 99. 2 Norman Penner, The Canadian L e f t : A C r i t i c a l Analysis (Scar-borough: P r e n t i c e - H a l l of Canada Ltd., 1977), p. 153. 3 4 5 6 as quoted i n Penner, p. 151-2. Penner, p. 154. I b i d . Lita-Rose Betcherman, The Swastika and the Maple Leaf: F a s c i s t  Movements i n Canada i n the T h i r t i e s (Toronto: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, .15751, p. 45. 7 Avakumovic, The Communist Party, p. 124-5. g Penner, p. 138. 9 Avakumovic, The Communist Party, p. 106. ^ Norman Thomas, as quoted i n G.M.A. Grube, "The Moscow T r i a l s , " The Canadian Forum 16 (March 1937), p. 12. ^ Avakumovic, The Communist Party, p. 101. 12 Grube, p. 12. 13 Although manufacturing and metal mining were leading the r e l a t i v e recovery, increased p r o f i t s i n those i n d u s t r i e s f a i l e d to i n s p i r e improve-ments i n wages and working conditions. In the spring of 1937 garment workers i n Montreal were s t i l l working an eighty hour week f o r $11. (Desmond Morton with Terry Copp, Working People, Ottawa: Deneau Publishers, 1980, p. 151) And i n mining, where p r o f i t s reached 50% of t o t a l production i n 1936, the incentive to keep unions out of the mines was e s p e c i a l l y acute. (Irving A b e l l a , "Oshawa 1937", i n I r v i n g Abella, ed., On S t r i k e : Six  Key Labour Struggles i n Canada 1919-1949, Toronto: James Lorimer, 1974, p. 117) The struggle against i n d u s t r i a l unionism was very intense i n Ontario due to i t s concentration of manufacturing and metal mining. H o s t i l i t i e s reached a peak i n the 1936 Oashawa s t r i k e against General Motors. The p r o v i n c i a l premier, M i t c h e l l Hepburn, personally i n t e r -vened i n h i s anti-union zeal to prevent auto workers from organizing and to keep the Congress of I n d u s t r i a l Organizations (CIO) out of Canada. F i r i n g h i s Labour M i n i s t e r and Attorney General, who d i s -agreed with h i s extremism (Abella, p. 113), he took over both t h e i r posts, as w e l l as, declaring himself negotiator f o r General Motors. Hepburn had t i e s with the p r i n c i p a l s of Algoma Steel and Maclntyre-Porcupine mines who were h i s stock advisers and close f r i e n d s , and was aware of what would happen to h i s share values should the mines be unionized. Another useful f r i e n d of the Premier's was George McCullough, e d i t o r of the mining i n t e r e s t Globe and M a i l , a major propaganda organ of the anti-communist/uriion forces.(Abella, p. 98, and John Charles "Tactics i n the Ontario E l e c t i o n s " , The Canadian  Forum, 17, Sept. 1937, p. 194) 14 Hepburn to Lapoint, 13 A p r i l 1937, as quoted i n I r v i n g Abella, "Oshawa 1937", i n Irving A b e l l a , ed., On S t r i k e : Six Key Labour  Struggles i n Canada 1919.-1949 (Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1974), p. no:. ^ "Do You Want I t Here?" Maclean's E d i t o r i a l , Maclean's magazine, 49 (December 1, 1936), p.4. 1 6 A b e l l a , p. 124. ^ Avakumovic states i n The Communist Party i n Canada that CP membership i n 1931 was e i t h e r 1,385 or 4,000. I t climbed s t e a d i l y to 14,000 i n 1938 (p. 115). In Socialism i n Canada he confirms there are no r e l i a b l e CCF membership s t a t i s t i c s i n i t s early days. Membership did increase sharply i n the f i r s t few years, and stood at about 20,000 i n 1938 (p. 93). 18 "No CCF government w i l l r e s t content u n t i l i t has eradicated capi t a l i s m . . . " , from the Regina Manifesto, i n i t i a l statement of the CCF. As quoted i n Ivan Avakumovic, Socialism i n Canada: A Study of the  CCF-NDP i n Federal and P r o v i n c i a l P o l i t i c s (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1978), p. 59. 19 Members were teachers, s o c i a l workers, ministers, etc, who saw f i r s t hand every day the p h y s i c a l and emotional t o l l poverty and hopelessness was having on i n d i v i d u a l people and f a m i l i e s . League f o r S o c i a l Reconstruction, S o c i a l Planning for Canada, Toronto: Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd.,1935, p. 10) 20 Penner, p. 203. 2 ^ Avakumovic, Socialism i n Canada, p. 38. 22 Gerald L. Caplan, "The F a i l u r e of Canadian Socialism: The Ontario Experience, i932-1945," The Canadian H i s t o r i c a l Review.. 44 (June 1963), p. 96. 23 Penner, p. 68. 24 Although the CCF congratulated i t s e l f on i t s combination of labour, farm and i n t e l l e c t u a l , the farm groups involved i n the org-anization were of a conservative v a r i e t y and i t s labour support was more abstract assumption than-, concrete a l l i a n c e . (Caplan, p. 94 and Penner, p. 213) 25 M i c h i e l Horn, The League f o r S o c i a l Reconstruction: I n t e l l e c t u a l  Origins of the Democratic L e f t i n Canada 1930-1942 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980), p. 18, 12. 26 Avakumovic, Socialism i n Canada, p. 50. 2 7 Horn, L.S.R., p. 12, 13. 28 Forward to the volume was w r i t t e n by J . S. Woodsworth, prominent leader of the CCF and long time s o c i a l democrat. He says of the book " I t should be of great service i n the formation of the future p o l i c i e s of the CCF." (p. v i ) 29 Avakumovic, Socialism i n Canada, p. 91-92 and Horn, L.S.R., p. 187 30 A. E. Safarian, The Canadian Economy i n the Great Depression (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1970), p. 204. 31 Horn, L.S.R., p. 77. 32 I b i d . 33 Avakumovic, Socialism i n Canada, p. 29. 34 I b i d , p. 50, 67. 35 Joseph L i s t e r Rutledge, "Magazines and National Unity," The  Canadian Magazine, (January 1936), p. 13. I b i d , p. 12. 37 Dorothy Livesay, Right Hand L e f t Hand ( E r i n : Press Porcepic Ltd., 1977), p. 219. O Q " E d i t o r i a l " , New F r o n t i e r , 1 ( A p r i l 1936), p. 3. 39 'John F a i r f a x , "Art for Man's Sake," Canadian Forum 16 (August 1936), p. 24. 4 ^ G. Campbell Mclnnes, "New Horizons i n Canadian A r t , " New Fr o n t i e r , 2 (June 1936), p. 19. 4 1 I b i d , p. 20. 42 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "Art Under the Soviets, Canadian Forum. 16 (November 1936), p. 24. I b i d . 44 Ib i d . 4 5 I b i d ' 46 "Ex h i b i t i o n of Soviet A r t , " Henry Morgan & Co. G a l l e r i e s , May 15th-June 1st 1935, n.p. 4 7 TU-A I b i d . 48 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "the World of A r t , " Saturday Night, 51 (October 24, 1936), p. 22. 49 Bernard Causton, "Art i n Germany Under the Nazis," The Studio, 112 (November 1936), p. 236. 5 0 I b i d . , p. 240. 5 1 "Art: Retreat," Time -28 (October 19, 1936), p. 48. 52 Naomi Jackson, "Modern Art i n Germany," Saturday Night 52 (October 16, 1937), p. 2. I b i d . 5 4 " E d i t o r i a l " , New F r o n t i e r , p. 3. Frank H. U n d e r h i l l , review of Yearbook of the Arts i n Canada, by Bertram Brokker, i n Canadian Forum- 16 (December 1936), p. 28. 5 6 Eliz a b e t h Wyn Wood, "Art and the Pre-Cambrian Shield," Canadian Forum• 16 (February 1937), p. 14. Ib i d . 58 Safarian, p. 199. 5 9 I b i d , p. 205. ^ Wood, p. 15. I b i d . 6 2 Paraskeva Clarke ( s i c ) , "Come Out From Behind the Pre-Cambrian Shi e l d , " New F r o n t i e r , 1 ( A p r i l 1937), p. 16. 63„ T, ., Ib i d . I b i d . ft s "Five Steel S t r i k e r s K i l l e d i n Clash With Chicago P o l i c e , " Toronto Daily Star (June 1, 1937), p. 1. 6 6 Thomas R. Brooks, T o i l and Trouble: A History of American Labor (New York: Delacorte Press, 1971), p. 190-91. 6 7 Clarke, p. 16. 6 8 Charles H i l l , Canadian Painting i n the T h i r t i e s (Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, 1975), p. 13-14. 69 Lawrence Sabbath, " A r t i s t s i n Action Series: 3-Paraskeva Clark," Canadian Art 17 (September 1960), p. 292. 7 ^ G. Campbell Mclnnes, "Contemporary Canadian A r t i s t s : No. 7-Paraskeva Clark," Canadian Forum, 17 (August 1937), p. 166. 7 * Mary E. MacLachlan, Paraskeva Clark: Paintings and Drawings (Halifax: Dalhousie Art G a l l e r y , 1982), p. 11. I b i d , p. 12. 73 Carl Schaefer to Toby Smith 13 February 1983, and H i l l , p. 89. 74 Safarian, p. 195. Even as l a t e as 1937 a g r i c u l t u r a l and veget-able products were 57% below 1928 l e v e l s whereas non-ferrous metals, fo r example, had increased over 100% with gold i n the extreme—up 250%. (Safarian, p. 163) The p r a i r i e economy was h i t the worst because of d r a s t i c decreases i n world wheat p r i c e s and nine years of drought and crop f a i l u r e . A g r i c u l t u r e income dropped by almost 80% between 1928 and 1933. (Safarian, p. 194) 75 Mclnnes, "New Horizons ', p. 20. 7 6 TU-A I b i d . 7 7 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "Thoughts on Canadian A r t , " Saturday Night, 51 (August 1, 1936), p. 8. 78 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "Contemporary Canadian A r t i s t s : No. 1-C a r l Schaefer," Canadian Forum 16 (February 1937), p. 18. 79 Donald F. P. Andrus, M i l l e r G. B r i t t a i n : Drawings and Pastels  1930-67 , (Fredericton, Beaverbrook Art G a l l e r y , 1968), p. 7. 80 Peg! N i c o l , M i l l e r B r i t t a i n , " Maritime Art,, 1 ( A p r i l 1941), p. 17. Andrus, p. 8. H i l l , p. 98. 83 Mclnnes,, "New Horizons", p. 20. 8 4 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "Contemporary Canadian A r t i s t s : No. 11-M i l l e r B r i t a i n ( s i c ) , " Canadian Forum,, 17 (December 1937), p. 312. I b i d . 8 6 G. Campbell Mclnnes, "The World of A r t , " Saturday Night, 52 ( A p r i l 10, 1937), p. 20. 8 7 N i c o l , p. 17. CONCLUSION During the twenties and early t h i r t i e s the wilderness landscape image, painted i n the manner of the Group of Seven was the dominant painting s t y l e . This s t y l e represented the values of the new entre-prenuerial nationalism and emphasized spontaneity, courage, chance and the con t r o l of unpredictable elements. At the same time, images of a d i r e c t l y p o l i t i c a l nature c r i t i c i z e d the c a p i t a l i s t system and these concomitant values. This c r i t i c i s m c i r c u l a t e d within p u b l i c i -cations of the Communist Party, appearing i n the forms of cartoon and i l l u s t r a t i o n . The e x p l i c i t purpose of these works was to i n c i t e the working class to revolution. In the early t h i r t i e s a rupture within the p o l i t i c a l l e f t resulted i n t h e s o c i a l democratic movement gaining i d e o l o g i c a l primacy over the Community Party. This brought i n t e l l e c t u a l s into the l e f t f o r the f i r s t time, and p r e c i p i t a t e d a s h i f t i n focus from working class m i l i t a n t to middle class voter. With t h i s change came the i n c l u s i o n . of l i b e r a l elements. Individualism, used as a too l by the s o c i a l democratic l e f t to counter images of communist automatism and S t a l i n i s t authoritarianism, functioned also to create d i f f i c u l t y f o r the l e f t , discouraging co-hesiveness and plaguing i t with i n d e c i s i o n . In the f i n a l a n a l y s i s , the s o c i a l democratic l e f t , with i t s emphaphis on compromise and con-cession, affirmed the c a p i t a l i s t version of democracy and i t s promise of peaceful s o c i a l change. Did s o c i a l comment a r t e x i s t i n response to the Depression? Was the changing nature of the l e f t relevant? As we have seen, s o c i a l comment a r t did e x i s t i n resistance to the Depression. This art took many forms and occurred i n a l l media. Analysis and discussion of three selected s t y l e s indicates that the ar t of s o c i a l comment which complemented the ideology of the new l e f t exhibited the same values of in d i v i d u a l i s m and p o l i t e resistance. It becomes c l e a r that not only did the form and approach of a r t i s t i c protest change from the twenties and early t h i r t i e s to the mid t h i r t i e s but much more importantly, the fundamental message changed as w e l l . As long as the Communist Party dominated the l e f t , the message of s o c i a l protest was strongly and unmistakenly a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t . With the ascend ancy of the s o c i a l democratic movement, protest became anti-poverty and anti-Depression but never r e a l l y a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t i n s p i t e of some r h e t o r i c . I t became p o l i t e i n tone and reformist i n nature. Just as the aesthetic of the s o c i a l democratic l e f t never questioned the essence of a r t or the s o c i a l function of the a r t i s t , the p o l i t i c a l posture of the new l e f t accepted the dominance of capi t a l i s m and worked f or concession and reform within that context. Was th i s a r t of aesthetic s o c i a l comment i s o l a t e d or were other a r t forms involved? Did other forms also experience t h i s fundamental change? Culture was the obvious t o o l of protest and struggle f o r those involved i n the a r t s . I t i s worth noting that l i t e r a t u r e , theatre, f i l m , music and dance also f e l t to d i f f e r i n g degrees the demand they be more s o c i a l l y relevant. The concept of p r o l e t a r i a n l i t e r a t u r e popular i n the United States i n the teens and twenties never developed to the same degree. This was p a r t l y due to the l a t e a r r i v a l of i n t e l l e tuals into p o l i t i c s and p a r t l y due to the lack of networking necessary to t r a i n workers i n w r i t i n g s k i l l s , as existed with organizations such as the John Reed Clubs i n the U.S. The Progressive Arts Club was the closest equivalent. Although most of i t s a c t i v i t y was based i n Southern Ontario, i t did have chapters i n some c i t i e s across the country. As with the v i s u a l a r t s , writers were required by the communist aesthetic to integrate t h e i r medium with the revolutionary cause. The Labor Defender, a communist p u b l i c a t i o n ran an a r t i c l e supporting Masses, the organ of the Progressive Arts Club. For many years the Canadian working class have continued t h e i r struggle without any great aid from i n t e l l e c t u a l s , a r t i s t s and w r i t e r s . In the b e l i e f , apparently, that this condition must soon be remedied...there has recently appeared on the s t r e e t s a monthly p r o l e t a r i a n l i t e r a r y mag-azine, Masses. They address themselves "to the workers, to the poor farmers, to the jobless man i n the breadlines," and c a l l on a l l class-conscious a r t i s t s , w riters and i n t e l l e c t u a l s to j o i n t h e i r ranks. 1 This i s consistent with the communist aesthetic as applied to the v i s u a l a r t s : the a r t i s t i s to i d e n t i f y with the working class and not see himself as s p e c i a l or e l i t e ; h i s job i s to i l l u s t r a t e and expose the i n e q u a l i t i e s of capitalism, h i s a r t i s a t o o l of revolution, not a s e l f indulgence. The unashamedly propagandistic approach applied equally to a l l the a r t s . However, a f t e r the passing of Masses i n 1934 and the United Front p o l i c y of the CP a f t e r 1935, the concept of p r o l e t a r i a n art making d i r e c t contributions to the impending r e v o l u t i o n gave iv-ay to a focus on the t r a d i t i o n a l middle class w r i t e r and poet, i n other words the f i n e a r t i s t of the l i t e r a r y world. Canadian Forum, which was bought by the League f o r S o c i a l Reconstruction C'think-tank" for the CCF) i n 1935 and New F r o n t i e r , representing the United Front l e f t , acted i n dialogue to a r t i c u l a t e a contempoary aesthetic f o r Theatre also experienced s i m i l a r changes. The Progressive Arts Club had been very successful i n the early t h i r t i e s i n organizing non-professionals and semi-professionals into theatre groups. A group from Toronto toured the Niagara Peninsula, performing t h e i r plays i n union and church h a l l s , at picket l i n e s and anywhere they could a t t r a c t a working class audience, t h e i r primary enthusiasts. Some of the plays they presented were S o l i d a r i t y Not Charity, 3 Farmers' Figh t, and E v i c t i o n . I t i s c l e a r that i n t h i s e a r l i e r . phase, the audience targeted was the revolutionary p r o l e t a r i a t and the message was the same as the cartoons and i l l u s t r a t i o n s discussed i n Chapter One, that i s , the c a p i t a l i s t system i s unjust and unequal and i t must be overthrown by the working c l a s s . In the mid t h i r t i e s the Workers' Theatre changed i t s name to the Theatre of Action and although i t was s t i l l progressive i n nature, there was a s h i f t toward professionalism. They wanted to "broaden 4 th e i r audience" and attempt "more ambitious productions". In 1935 a pr o f e s s i o n a l d i r e c t o r was h i r e d from New York. He also gave acting classes i n which he emphasized the combination of "Truth and Beauty". 3 A more middle c l a s s , sophisticated audience i s c l e a r l y being sought; the concept . of combining truth and beauty alludes to the expression of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l truths i n an a r t f u l and pr o f e s s i o n a l manner. The audience i s to be persudaded, not beaten over the head with a hammer and s i c k l e . The f l e x i b i l i t y of the new c r i t i c a l aesthetic and the lack 101 l i t e r a t u r e as w e l l as a r t . Leo Kennedy, a poet himself, wrote an a r t i c l e f o r New F r o n t i e r in. which he laments the state of Canadian poetry. Trap-ped by the romance of landscape, Canadian poetry had become to some an i r r e l e v a n t s e l f indulgence. Kennedy conveys hi s f r u s t r a t i o n with the e l i t i s t poet who c l o i s t e r s himself i n an Ivory Tower while bread l i n e s are forming. An a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t , a c t i v e , p o l i t i c a l role i s implied f o r the a r t i s t . The w r i t e r does not, however, entreat poets to write about poverty and degradation i n order to i n s p i r e the p r o l e t a r i a t to overthrow the c a p i t a l i s t system. He uses a n a t i o n a l i s t i c approach, and asks that the poet be s e n s i t i v e to the Canadian r e a l i t y and the Canadian experience. This meant, of course, being responsive to the hardships and deprivation of the Depression. Consequently, i n actual p r a c t i s e the a r t i s t Is encouraged to i l l u s t r a t e the f a i l u r e of capitalism. We need poetry that r e f l e c t s the l i v e s of our people, working, l o v i n g , f i g h t i n g , groping for c l a r i t y . We need s a t i r e , — f i e r c e . , scorching, aimed at the abuses which are destroying our culture and which threaten l i f e i t s e l f . 2 This i s consistent with the humanistic and d e s c r i p t i v e focus of nationalism i n the t h i r t i e s . I t i s also consistent with the s h i f t within the v i s u a l arts i n the mid t h i r t i e s which rejected the r o l e of outright propagandist f o r the a r t i s t and moved to a sort of n a t i o n a l i s t , describer-of-Depression-Truths f i n e a r t i s t . Rather than encouraging the working class to write poetry, which would have been a twenties', pre-United Front approach, Kennedy admits most p r a c t i s i n g poets are of the middle c l a s s , are u n i v e r s i t y educated and see the a r t i s t / p o e t as a s p e c i a l person removed from ordinary l i f e , and he d i r e c t s h i s remarks to them. 102 of grounding i n a c l e a r l y a n t i - c a p i t a l i s t ideology allowed most of the same a r t i s t s to lend t h e i r s k i l l s to support of the Second World War without apparent contradiction and without ever returning to the a r t of s o c i a l comment. M i l l e r B r i t t a i n became a bombardier with the Royal Canadian A i r Force and C a r l Schaefer was commissioned as one of a large number of o f f i c i a l war a r t i s t s . Paraskeva Clark was commis-sioned by the National Gallery of Canada to record the duties of the Women's D i v i s i o n of the Royal Canadian A i r Force. The war ended the Depression and gave a sense of pride and purpose to the demoralized nation. A f t e r the war, the focus for a r t i n Canada was centred i n Montreal and with t h i s s h i f t came the callenge of abstraction and v i r t u a l l y the a r t of s o c i a l comment disappeared from the f i n e a r t scene. FOOTNOTES E.C.S. (Edward C e c i l Smith), "Review: Worker's A r t " , Labor  Defender.3 ( A p r i l 1932), p. 3. 2 Leo Kennedy, "D i r e c t i o n f o r Canadian Poets", New Frontier 1 (June 1936), p. 24. 3 "Workers' Theatre i n Action", Masses 2 (May-June 1933), p. 13. 4 Toby Gordon Ryan, Stage L e f t : Canadian Theatre i n the T h i r t i e s (Toronto: CTR Pu b l i c a t i o n s , 1981), p. 75. 5 I b i d , p. 120. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Abella, Irving. "Oshawa 1937." in Abella, Irving, ed. On Strike: Six Key Labour Struggles in Canada 1919-1949. Toronto: James Lorimer & Company, 1974. Abell, Walter. Representation and Form. 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