Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Canadian painting before 1950

Paintings account for a small percentage of the gallery’s holdings, the majority of which were made in the latter half of the twentieth century. But the collection does include a significant cluster of pre-war painting, due in part to the generosity of Frances and Jack Barwick. Active members of Ottawa’s cultural scene, the Barwicks took a particular interest in Carleton's music department and, by extension, in the university as a whole. Mrs. Barwick notified the University In 1971 that upon her death, Carleton would eventually receive their art collection.

The most significant portion of the Barwicks’ bequest was a group of sixteen works by David Milne, including four oil paintings. Two oils from 1922, New England House No. 2 and Clark’s House After Snow, are restrained treatments of architectural themes, while Milne made the classic landscape Rock in the Bay (1937) at Six Mile Lake in Ontario, one of his favourite sketching places in the 1930s. The Barwicks also donated two oil sketches by A.Y. Jackson and the elegant canvas Mountain Ash, Grace Lake (1940), which had been in the family for decades.

Subsequent gifts by a range of donors, Dr. Naomi Jackson Groves among them, have added other paintings by the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, including Petite Rivière, Nova Scotia and Agawa Canyon, Algoma, both oil sketches made in the 1920s by J.E.H. MacDonald; Flower Carts (ca. 1942) by Pegi Nicol MacLeod; and Jackson’s Camp at Grace Lake (ca. 1933). An earlier generation of Canadian artists is represented in the collection by Antoine Plamondon’s striking Allegorical Figure (1895) and three modest landscapes painted by Mary Evelyn Wrinch, Florence McGillivray, and Franklin Armington.

Like many university art galleries, CUAG is custodian of a group of oil paintings documenting the history of Carleton University, founded in 1942. They include Ernest Fosbery’s portrait of its founder, Henry Marshall Tory; Ann Lazear’s portrait of its second president, Maxwell MacOdrum; and Lilias Torrance Newton's portrait of an early benefactor, Henry Stevenson Southam. These portraits hang in the buildings named after them on campus. The realism of these portraits is echoed in a different register by Alex Colville’s contemporaneous Windmill and Farm (1947), an important early oil painting by the artist who in the immediate post-war years was developing the mature style for which he is acclaimed internationally today.