Virginia Berry, 1978. Winnipeg Art Gallery.
This year, Manitoba officially celebrates its centenary as a Canadian province. To mark the anniversary, the WAG organizes the first major historical survey of Manitoba art with 150 Years of Art in Manitoba. Reflecting the combined scholarship of Director Ferdinand Eckhardt (1905-1995), former President of the Women’s Committee Dr. Virginia Berry (1915–2003), and a dedicated group of research assistants, the exhibition catalogue represents the first history of art in the province. Running throughout spring and summer, A Struggle Towards a Visual Civilization is divided into two sections: the period from 1820 to 1912 (displayed at the Provincial Legislature Building), including works by Peter Rindisbacher (1806–1834), Frederick A. Verner (1836–1928), and Paul Kane (1810–1871); and from 1913 to 1970 (shown at the Gallery), featuring work by Charles Comfort (1900 –1994), David Milne (1882–1953), Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (1890–1956), George Swinton (1917-2002), Kenneth Lochhead (1926–2006), Don Reichert and Ivan Eyre. The exhibition, running throughout the summer, is shown at the Provincial Legislature Building and the Gallery. [image/article: May 1970]
The exhibition is massive, containing 379 works of art by 200 artists ranging from the 1820s to 1970. Research took over two years, and involved “haunting attics, searching through archives and examining paintings by men and women who, at some point lived or worked in Manitoba.” The exhibition is seen by 20,000 people during its four-month installation.