The organizers of the first Winnipeg Show, c. 1955. Winnipeg Art Gallery.
On November 2, the Gallery launches the first Winnipeg Show, which would run annually until 1961 and biannually from 1962 to 1970, to fanfare and controversy.
Organized by the Women’s Committee and the Art Students’ Club of the University of Manitoba, this annual juried exhibition and sale features art by emerging and established Canadian artists. Jurors for the first Winnipeg Show are senior Canadian artist Maxell Bates (1906–1980) and Jean Ostiguy, former art critic for Le Devoir and future Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada. Award winners include B.C. Binning (1909–1976), Harold Town (1924–1990), Oscar Cahen (1916–1956), Eli Bornstein, Tony Tascona (1926–2006), Anne Kahane, and Louis Archambault (1915–2003). The exhibition, which also included work by emerging artists like Greg Curnoe (1936–1992) and Guido Molinari (1933–2004), stirs controversy. While artist B. C. Binning praises the exhibition for showing Winnipeg’s “increasing maturity,” others are left “physically nauseated” and threaten to withdraw support from the Gallery.
To hear more about the beginnings of the Winnipeg Show, as told by Dr. Virginia Berry (d. 2003), longtime volunteer and President of the Women's Committee (1959-1960), click the link below.