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EXHIBITION OF ART OF CANADIAN WARTIME PAINTER COMMEMORATES VETERANS WEEK


Thunder Bay, October 2, 2001 - The National Archives of Canada, The War Amps and the Thunder Bay Museum open an exhibition this week entitled No Man’s Land: The Battlefield Paintings of Mary Riter Hamilton, 1919 - 1922. The exhibition runs from October 2 to November 15, 2001, coinciding with Veterans Week, November 5 to 11.

Mary Riter Hamilton (1873 - 1954), one of Canada’s leading war artists in the early part of the 1900s, was commissioned by the War Amputations Club of British Columbia to reproduce the battlefields of France and Belgium a few months after the end of the First World War. Over the next three years, living alone in huts and dodging “gangs of criminals”, she painted over 300 landscapes. Her paintings capture the places where war and death had occurred, before the reconstruction began.

The works received tremendous acclaim when exhibited in France and England. Hamilton declined many offers to sell her battlefield paintings, and in 1926 donated 227 of them to what was then the Public Archives of Canada.

“The collections of the National Archives of Canada include thousands of paintings and other works of art which tell the history of Canada and its people. This exhibition can also be found as a component of the Canada and the First World War feature on our Web site, at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/05/050801_e.html ,” said Ian E. Wilson, National Archivist.

“Mary Riter Hamilton’s paintings are a first-person account that convey the impression which the horrifying scenes had upon her,” said Cliff Chadderton, Chief Executive Officer of The War Amps of Canada.

“Not only are these works significant to the development of Canadian art, but they are important to the people of our city and region,” said Dr. Tory Tronrud, Director and Curator of the Thunder Bay Museum. Mary Riter Hamilton lived in Thunder Bay with her husband from 1889 until his sudden death in 1893.

The Museum is open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays. Special evening tours can be arranged for groups. For admission prices and other information, contact the Museum at (807) 623-0801. A preview of the paintings is available on the Web Site at http://www.collectionscanada.ca/05/050801_e.html.

For more information, please contact:
Louisa Coates
National Archives of Canada
Telephone: (613) 992-9361
E-mail: media@lac-bac.gc.ca
Tory Tronrud
The Thunder Bay Museum
Telephone: (807) 623-0801
E-mail: info@thunderbaymuseum.com