McIntosh Gallery


In the Beginning, 1942
March 23 to June 25, 2017
Opening Reception: March 23 at 7 PM

AY Jackson The Green Crassier

Image: Alexander Young Jackson, The Green Crassier, 1918, 1918. Oil on canvas, 86.7 x 112.0 cm, CWM 19710261-0183

This year, McIntosh Gallery celebrates its 75th anniversary as the oldest university art gallery in Ontario. In 1942 the opening exhibition presented thirty paintings commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund during the First World War as a unique record of Canadian achievements and war heroes. In the Beginning, 1942 reunites these paintings, now housed at the Canadian War Museum, for the first time in 75 years. Works by future Group of Seven artists A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, and Frederick Varley will join those of fellow Canadians Maurice Galbraith Cullen and John William Beatty, British artist Algernon Mayow Talmage, and Australian James Peter Quinn. The remaining twenty-three images will be represented digitally.

McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canadian War Museum in loaning 27 key works to both exhibitions.

About McIntosh Gallery:

McIntosh Gallery, located at the heart of Western University, is the result of a generous bequest by Wilhelmina Morris McIntosh which included funds to build a gallery and her personal art collection. Despite wartime limitations on construction, the building was officially opened on June 26, 1942 with an address by established Canadian artist Charles Comfort. Today, McIntosh Gallery is a centre for the production, exhibition, interpretation and collection of visual culture. The collection has grown to over 4,000 art objects by primarily Canadian artists, many of whom are local to London.

About the Canadian War Memorials Fund:

Beaverbrook established the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1916 to commission official war artists to paint the Canadian war effort. The official war art program would eventually employ close to 120 artists, most of them British or Canadian, who created nearly 1,000 works of art. While most of the works depicted the fighting forces and geography overseas, important artists like Mabel May and Manly MacDonald painted women in Canadian factories and fields.

Behind the Lines: Canada's Home Front During the First and Second World Wars
March 23 to June 25, 2017
Opening Reception: March 23 at 7 PM

Clark Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar

Paraskeva Clark, Maintenance Jobs in the Hangar, 1945. Oil on canvas, 81.5 x 101.9 cm, CWM 19710261-5678

Behind the Lines provides a glimpse into the personal sacrifice and hard work of determined Canadians at home who collectively supported the armed forces overseas during two world conflicts. Assembled from public and private collections across Canada, the artworks tell the stories of ordinary men and women who wielded tools, searched for submarines, worked the land, and guarded prisoners. Through them we witness unprecedented developments in manufacturing, travel, and social upheavals such as the changing roles of women entering the workplace and armed forces.

McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the Canadian War Museum in loaning 27 key works to both exhibitions.

The Red Door: McIntosh's Exhibition History
Weldon Library Display Cases on Ground Floor

Installation View

In recognition of the McIntosh Gallery's 75th anniversary, this exhibition creates a timeline of the gallery's activities over the years. Art catalogues, pamphlets, and invitations from the gallery's exhibitions provide insight into trends and concerns in the visual arts.

The display cases are organized in succeeding decades, chronicling the opening of the gallery in the 1940s, the European art series in the 1950s, and the evolution of the gallery's identity in the 1960s as it developed the permanent collection and started the artist-in-residence program. This program continued throughout the 1970s as the gallery showcased the work of emerging contemporary artists.

The 1980s and 1990s saw an increased awareness of previously overlooked narratives in visual arts, exploring feminist, ableist, and Indigenous perspectives. As the gallery entered the 2000s, the politics of space became a growing area of interest, with artists responding to themes of community and environment. Since 2010, the gallery has continued to present creative interpretations and scholarly research showing a commitment to uncovering London's art history.

Related Programs (free admission, everyone welcome)

2017 McIntosh Gallery Distinguished Lecture
"Home Front Canada, Looking Back and to the Future"
Sunday, April 2nd at 2 P.M.
BMO Financial Group Auditorium in Ivey Business School
Western University

This year's lecture will be presented by Canadian General (Ret'd) John de Chastelain whose career has included commands in Canada, Germany, Cyprus and ultimately as Chief of the Defence Staff. In 1993, he was appointed Canada's 17th Ambassador to the United States but the following year was recalled to Regular Force duty and re-appointed Chief of the Defence Staff until his retirement in December 1995. From 1995 to 2011, he was Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, which was responsible for ensuring the decommissioning of arms by paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.

In the beginning, 1942 and Behind the Lines: Canada's Home Front During the First and Second World Wars are part of Western's Canada 150 programming in celebration of Canada's sesquicentennial. McIntosh Gallery gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Western's Canada 150 Committee, which has made these exhibitions and related programs possible.

For more information contact Mitra Shreeram, Communications and Outreach Coordinator at or 519.661.2111 ext. 87576