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Art Monographs


The Life and Work of Alma Duncan

with Tom McSorley

by (author) Anne Mahaux

Ottawa Art Gallery
Initial publish date
Oct 2014
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2014
    List Price

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This striking publication resurrects the ambitious career of an important Canadian artist and accompanies the first retrospective exhibition of her work in over 25 years. Largely self-taught, Alma Duncan (1917-2004) was extremely prolific and worked in a variety of media. Her paintings were first shown at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1937, and in 1942 she won an honorable mention in the Western Hemisphere Poster Competition held by the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In the early 1940s, she studied life drawing with Goodridge Roberts while making sketches on her own in the Anatomy Department of McGill University. Often considered an unofficial war artist, she made drawings of arms factories and shipyards, and depicted the activities of the Canadian Women's Army Corps. Her interest in war and industrial images continued throughout her career and was useful in her later work at the Canadian War Museum and National Gallery of Canada. In 1943, Duncan joined the Graphics Division of the National Film Board and, later on, their Animation Department.

About the authors

Tom McSorley is the executive director of the Canadian Film Institute, a sessional lecturer in Film Studies at Carleton University, the film critic for CBC Radio One's Ottawa Morning, and a contributing editor at POV Magazine.

Tom McSorley's profile page

Anne Mahaux's profile page

Other titles by Tom McSorley