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Art Canadian

Canadian Art

From Its Beginnings to 2000

by (author) Anne Newlands

Firefly Books
Initial publish date
Oct 2000
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2000
    List Price

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Out of print

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In a country that can boast nearly 50,000 artists from its prehistoric beginnings to the present, it is a daunting challenge to compile a collection of some 300 artists that reflects the depth and breadth of Canada's art heritage. Yet in Canadian Art: From Its Beginnings to 2000, author Anne Newlands does just that. Departing from the usual narrative of standard Canadian art histories, Newlands organizes the artists alphabetically, thus removing them from predictable associations and chronological relationships and freeing us to forge new connections. The result is an original and engaging approach to the subject, one that at once refreshes, surprises and teaches. When the paintings of such artists as Emily Carr, Lawren S. Harris, Cornelius Krieghoff and Horatio Walker are placed side by side with works by Kenojuak Ashevak, General Idea, Maud Lewis, Bill Reid and Jeff Wall, the diversity and wonder of the creative process come irresistibly to life.

While Canada's most beloved artists and their art are generously represented in Canadian Art, Newlands also strives to guide us to less familiar media, whose formats and themes seek to redefine art itself even as they reflect the cultural realities of the time. Here, we find not only traditional oils and watercolors but also a rich collection of sculpture, photography and installation art. Each of Newlands' beautifully printed selections is accompanied by an engaging text that focuses on the featured art, provides a brief biographical sketch of the artist and offers us an informed departure point for our own critical appreciation.


About the author

Anne Newlands worked for twenty-seven years as an educator and researcher-writer at the National Gallery of Canada. She is the author of numerous books including Canadian Paintings, Prints and Drawings, Canadian Art: From Its Beginnings to 2000, Clarence Gagnon: An Introduction to His Life and Art, Emily Carr: An Introduction to Her Life and Art, and The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson: An Introduction. She is currently writing a book about the Quebec textile artist Mariette Rousseau-Vermette (1926-2006).

Anne Newlands' profile page

Editorial Reviews

[An] engagingly eclectic ... intriguing juxtaposition of works. Along with the expertly printed color plates ... there's reader-friendly text with interesting bio notes, helpful descriptions and unpretentious commentary.


Terrific reference source for Canadian art ... excellent.


This is one of the better biographical encyclopedias of Canadian art to have come along in the last decade. Not only is it informative, but it's beautiful to browse as well.

Edmonton Journal

[Newland's] coverage of historical art is balanced, her inclination to include multimedia, installation art and photography is laudable.

Canadian Geographic

Each and every evocative and masterful work is redolent of Canada's magnificent landscape and sensitive to the tenuousness of human life. Each double-page spread both vibrates with contrasting styles and creates surprising and affective formal and emotional harmonies. These diverse paintings, photographs, and sculptures chart a vital and many-splendored visual heritage.


A rich A-Z history of Canadian artists ... introduces the oeuvre of each artist with a concisely written critique of one major work.

Canadian Art

Long overdue, comprehensive and wide-ranging survey of 320 artists.

Ottawa Life

A much-needed current and comprehensive survey of Canadian art.

Library Journal

With Canadian Art, the rich legacy and stylistic diversity of the Canadian visual arts have been stylishly encapsulated in print.

Quill and Quire

I was delighted that much attention was paid to Inuit and First Nation artists... has much to commend it visually.

British Journal of Canadian Studies

Has much to recommend it ... To have more than 300 plates in color is luxurious ... informative and attractive.

Globe and Mail

It's impressively comprehensive, the art is beautifully reproduced, the writing has a nice, light touch -- all in all, an excellent contribution.

National Post

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