Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscape 1860-1918

June 18 - September 27, 2009

 



 

Chronology

 
1860
 
Canada
Founding of the Art Association of Montreal. The Association's goal was to foster appreciation of the fine arts, in keeping with a widespread philanthropic tradition in North America. It organized exhibitions and drawing classes.
 
The United States
Abraham Lincoln, an antislavery Republican, elected president.
 
Europe
Advances in the science of meteorology. Synoptic maps were being drawn up, and forecasts became a daily occurrence. Many artists began working out of doors, since the weather could now be predicted.
 
 
1861
 
The United States
April 12, outbreak of the American Civil War due to the opposition between the North and South over slavery. The South hoped to win the support of future western states, while the North wanted to stop the expansion of slavery into the western territories.
 
For the first time, photography was used systematically as a journalistic tool.
 
 
1863
 
The United States
July 1 to 3, the decisive Battle of Gettysburg, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania turned back the Confederate Army's invasion of the North.
 
 
1865
 
The United States
April 9, Robert E. Lee, commander in chief of the Confederate Army, was surrounded after the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. He surrendered to Ulysses Grant, bringing the Civil War to an end.
 
April 14, Abraham Lincoln assassinated by a Southern sympathizer at a Washington theatre.
 
 
1867
 
Canada
In March, British Parliament passed the British North America Act. This law established the Dominion of Canada and defined how the government was to function. Charles S. Monck was named the first Governor General of Canada and John A. Macdonald, the first Prime Minister.
 
July 1, the creation of the Canadian Confederation (Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia).
 
The United States
Russia sold Alaska to the United States for seven million dollars.
 
 
1869
 
Canada
Canada's first crisis since Confederation occurred when the politician Louis Riel, chief of the Metis, defended his territory in the Canadian prairies, a centre of the fur trade that had just been sold to Canada by the Hudson's Bay Company.
 
The United States
May 10, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads came together at Promontory Point, Utah, to create the first transcontinental railroad in the United States.
 
Elsewhere in the World
Opening of the Suez Canal.
 
 
1870
 
Canada
With the passing of the Manitoba Act, Manitoba became a province in the Canadian Confederation.
 
The United States
The American geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden explored Colorado and Wyoming on behalf of the U. S. Geological and Geographical Survey, with a view that a transcontinental railway was soon to be built. He was accompanied by the photographer William Henry Jackson. The two men catalogued and photographed natural sites. These images helped promote legislation supporting the creation of protected areas-the future national parks, like Yellowstone.
 
In the following years, other large-scale explorations, for example those headed by John W. Powell, Lieutenant Wheeler and Clarence King, led to the discovery of natural resources in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, the Grand Canyon and the Rockies. Enthusiasm for the West grew more intense as the region developed.
 
Europe
Beginning of the Franco-Prussian War, between Second Empire France and the Kingdom of Prussia.
 
Proclamation of the Third Republic after the defeat of Napoleon III at Sedan.
 
 
1871
 
Canada
Fearing the annexation of British Columbia by the United States, the Dominion of Canada promised to link the Pacific Coast to the eastern provinces by rail. On July 20, British Columbia joined the Confederation and became a Canadian province.
 
Europe
Founding of the German Empire by Wilhelm I.
 
 
1872
 
Canada
Founding of the Ontario Society of Artists.
 
The United States
Creation of Yellowstone, the world's first natural park.
 
Opening of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, with John Taylor Johnston as its president. His father, James Boorman Johnston, had founded the Tenth Street Studio, where Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church and Winslow Homer worked.
 
 
1873
 
The United States
Inauguration of Central Park, New York, after thirteen years' work by four thousand men.
 
 
1874
 
Europe
First Impressionist exhibition. Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley, Cézanne, Berthe Morisot and Degas were the main organizers.
 
 
1876
 
Canada
Inauguration of Montreal's Mount Royal Park, laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect who had designed Central Park (1858­1861), Prospect Park (1865­1873) in Brooklyn and later the landscaping of the Niagara Falls State Reserve on the American side of the falls. The Reserve was reclassified as Niagara Falls State Park in 1885.
 
The United States
June 25 and 26, the Battle of the Little Bighorn ("Custer's Last Stand") in southeast Montana. Sitting Bull, the Lakotas and Cheyennes defeated the troops of General George Armstrong Custer, who was killed in the fighting.
 
 
1879
 
Canada
Inauguration on Phillips Square of the Art Association of Montreal's Art Gallery, the first building in Canada designed to house artworks.
 
 
1880
 
Canada
Inauguration of the first exhibition of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA), at the Clarendon Hotel in Ottawa, by the Governor General, the Marquis de Lorne, and his wife, Princess Louise, the daughter of Queen Victoria. Lucius O'Brien was named president of the RCA, which became the National Gallery of Canada in 1913.
 
 
1881
 
Canada
Beginning of construction of Canada's first transcontinental railroad by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company. The rail link between Vancouver and Montreal fostered the development of the Canadian West.
 
 
1882
 
Canada
Oscar Wilde visited Toronto and formed a friendship with Homer Watson. The writer compared him to the great English landscape painters, calling him the "Canadian Constable." At about the same time, Queen Victoria commissioned works from Watson.
 
 
1883
 
Europe
The Orient-Express made its first run from Paris to Giurgiu, Rumania.
 
 
1885
 
Canada
Banff National Park became Canada's first national park.
 
The Red River Rebellion broke out after Louis Riel, who had returned from exile in the United States, presented the Canadian government with the Metis people's demands for an independent state. The new railway allowed rapid deployment of the army. Riel was arrested, tried, found guilty of treason and hanged.
 
The United States
The American portion of Niagara Falls became the first state park in the United States.
 
 
1886
 
Canada
Creation of Yoho National Park.
 
The United States
In April, the art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel organized an exhibition of thirty-six paintings and pastels by Renoir in New York, giving Americans its first look at Impressionism.
 
Inauguration in New York of the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France commemorating the centennial of American independence and a symbol of the two countries' friendship.
 
 
1888
 
The United States
George Eastman introduced the Kodak, an easy-to-operate camera that used the gelatin-paper roll film he had invented four years earlier. By replacing glass plates, he revolutionized the world of photography.
 
 
1889
 
Europe
World's Fair in Paris. One of the designers of the Statue of Liberty, Gustave Eiffel, erected a three-hundred-metre-tall iron tower that is now named for him.
 
 
1890
 
The United States
December 29, the massacre at Wounded Knee. This confrontation between the Seventh Regiment of the U. S. Cavalry and the Lakotas was the last armed conflict with the Aboriginal people, putting an end to long years of warfare.
 
In California, Yosemite classified a national park.
 
 
1893
 
Canada
Algonquin Park, in Ontario, became Canada's first provincial park.
 
 
1894
 
Europe
Alfred Dreyfus, a French army officer of Alsatian-Jewish origin, accused of handing information over to the German military attaché in Paris, setting off what came to be known as the Dreyfus Affair, a scandal tinged with espionage and antisemitism arising from a judicial error. Four years later, Émile Zola published an open letter, "J'accuse," denouncing the flaws in the Third Republic. It caused a stir on the political and social scene in France.
 
 
1896
 
Canada
Wilfrid Laurier became the first French Canadian to serve as Canada's Prime Minister. He held office from July 1896 to October 1911.
 
Discovery of gold in the Yukon, in several tributaries of the Klondike River. The Gold Rush drew more than a hundred thousand people to the region.
 
The United States
Henry Ford road-tested his first motor car.
 
 
1898
 
The United States
Formation of an Impressionist group, the Ten American Painters, also known as The Ten. Childe Hassam, John Henry Twachtman and Julian Alden Weir were among its members (William Merritt Chase joined in 1902, after Twachtman died). An exhibition of their work opened on March 31 at the Durand-Ruel gallery, where they would exhibit frequently until 1919.
 
In April, onset of the Spanish-American War, which led to Cuban independence and the taking over of control of various Pacific and Caribbean colonies by the United States.
 
 
1901
 
The United States
In September, William McKinley, twenty-fifth president of the United States, assassinated. Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him. From an eminent New York family, Roosevelt was a nature lover known for his prowess as a hunter. A strict naturalist, he preached the conservation of fauna and the dissemination of knowledge about animals. Roosevelt was very popular with the American people because of his key role in the preservation of forests and nature reserves, now overseen by the National Parks Service, as well as for his remarkable stand on foreign policy.
Europe
Death of Queen Victoria. Her son acceded to the throne as Edward VII.
 
 
1902
 
The United States
Construction of the Flatiron Building in New York.
 
The National Arts Club of New York presented Photo-Secession, an exhibition of the new group formed by Alfred Stieglitz to gain recognition for photography as an art in its own right. With other members, including Alvin Langdon Coburn, Edward Steichen, Clarence H. White and Fred Holland Day, Stieglitz founded the magazine Camera Work.
 
 
1905
 
Europe
A group of young European painters using strong, "wild" colours in an exuberant style exhibited at the Salon d'automne in Paris and adopted the term "Fauvism." Emily Carr was strongly influenced by them.
 
 
1907
 
Canada
Creation of the Canadian Art Club, made up of members of the RCA. Homer Watson was its first president.
 
Europe
Pablo Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, considered to be the starting point of Cubism.
 
 
1908
 
Canada
Founding of the Arts & Letters Club of Toronto, a private club for the city's architects, painters, musicians, graphic designers and stage actors. Artists of the future Group of Seven were members.
 
The United States
The Macbeth Gallery in New York presented The Eight (Ashcan School), a new movement of realist painters that counterbalanced American Impressionism. Among its members were Maurice Prendergast, Robert Henri and Ernest Lawson. Some of The Eight were responsible for the landmark Armory Show held in 1913.
 
 
1909
 
Canada
The British Columbia Society of Artists was founded to promote artists there.
 
 
1911
 
Canada
The future members of the Group of Seven met for the first time.
 
Europe
In June, Coronation of George V, grandson of Queen Victoria, at Westminster Abbey, London. In May, a Festival of the Empire at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park had celebrated the coming event.
 
At the Salon des Indépendants, the first exhibition by the Cubists, artists who flattened forms and depicted multiple viewpoints simultaneously of a single object.
 
 
1912
 
Canada
The most talented cowboys met in Alberta to take part in the Calgary Stampede, an international rodeo.
 
 
1913
 
Canada
After the previous year's success of her more traditional works produced in Europe, Emily Carr exhibited paintings whose subject matter featured Native communities. The exhibition, held in Vancouver, was a failure.
 
A. Y. Jackson joined the Group of Seven.
 
The United States
February 17 to March 15, the legendary Armory Show in New York presented the European avant-garde to a scarcely receptive American public for the first time.
 
 
1914
 
Canada
In January, opening in Toronto of the Studio Building financed by Dr. James MacCallum and Lawren Harris, a painter and heir of the Massey-Harris Co., which manufactured farm machinery. Many artists, including Tom Thomson, Franklin Carmichael and A. Y. Jackson, had studios there.
 
August 4, Great Britain declared war on Germany. The nations of the British Empire were thus at war as well. The regular Canadian army numbered only three thousand one hundred, but Canada recruited more than thirty-two thousand soldiers in just a few weeks. The majority were briefly trained at Valcartier, near Quebec City, before crossing the Atlantic to Salisbury, England. Canadian losses would total more than sixty-seven thousand soldiers.
 
Europe
In late July, the beginning of World War I with Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia. The assassination in Sarajevo on June 28 of Archduke Francis Ferdinand, successor to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, is considered the incident that unleashed the conflict. One after another in the first days of August, the nations of the Triple Entente (France, Great Britain and Russia) and the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy) declared war on one another.
 
Elsewhere in the World
Inauguration of the Panama Canal.
 
 
1916
 
Canada
John Singer Sargent visited Yoho National Park and the Rockies, where he painted many oils and watercolours, producing two series of North American landscapes during a two-year stay.
 
 
1917
 
Canada
April 9, the thirty-five thousand combatants of the Canadian army stationed at Vimy took possession of the two last pockets of resistance, in Canada's first military victory as an independent nation.
 
July 13, the painter Tom Thomson's body was found in Canoe Lake, in Algonquin Park. The cause of his death has remained a mystery to this day.
 
December 6, a French boat loaded with ammunition collided with a Norwegian boat in Halifax harbour, causing the largest accidental non-nuclear explosion. The flames reached nearly 2 km into the sky, and the conflagration caused a tidal wave. Two thousand were killed and nine thousand wounded.
 
The United States
April 6, President Woodrow Wilson brought the United States into the War. A poster design for the recruiting campaign featured Uncle Sam saying, "I Want YOU for U. S. Army." More than one million two hundred thousand American soldiers went to the front.
 
Europe
In February, demonstrations and clashes in Russia forced Czar Nicholas II to abdicate. The last rulers of the Romanov Dynasty, on the throne since 1613, were imprisoned in western Siberia and executed there the following year. In October, Lenin's Bolshevik Party came to power.
 
 
1918
 
Europe
November 11, end of World War I. Human loss amounted to nine million dead and six million maimed. At the same time, the Spanish influenza spread around the world. According to the Institut Pasteur, it caused thirty million deaths. Approximately forty-five thousand Canadians died in the epidemic.

Please click here to return to Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscape 1860-1918.


Search Resource Library for thousands of articles and essays on American art.

Copyright 2009 Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc., an Arizona nonprofit corporation. All rights reserved.