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Art for War and Peace book cover

Art for War and Peace

When walking into the Reception at Hastings House, guests often ask, “Is that an original Emily Carr?”

The iconic white church surrounded by West coast foliage is an oil silkscreen produced by the Sampson-Matthews print program, the largest public art project in Canadian history.

At the dawn of the Second World War, under the guidance of the National Gallery of Canada and A.Y. Jackson, many of Canada’s renown paintings were recreated as multi-layer oil serigraphy prints. These works of art were then displayed in schools, libraries, banks, government offices and department stores across Canada, as well as at Canadian embassies and military bases internationally.

Those who grew up in the last century likely remember seeing Canadian art all around them thanks to this project. To keep the story of the creation of these incredible works alive, in 2015, Salt Spring resident and owner of Pegasus Gallery, Ian Sigvaldason, co-produced Art of War and Peace, an astounding full-colour compendium of all 117 of the silkscreen reproductions. The volume offers an incredible view of works by artists including A.Y. Jackson, Tom Thompson, Lawren Harris, A.J. Casson, and J.W.G. MacDonald.

According to the book’s introduction, the Globe and Mail called the Sampson-Matthews print program “one of the most interesting and successful cultural projects ever undertaken in Canada.”

At Hastings House, we are thrilled to display the silkscreen of Emily Carr’s Indian Church. The original oil painting was completed in 1929 and was appreciated so much by fellow artist Lawren Harris that he purchased it himself. Pegasus Gallery has kindly loaned us the silkscreen of J.W. Morrice’s The Ferry, which hangs proudly in our heritage dining room.

In celebration of this historic project that gave people easy access to viewing Canadian art in their everyday environment, and the work of scholarship that continues this legacy, we have a copy of Art for War and Peace guests can view in our Lounge in the Manor House. The book can be purchased in our Reception gift shop for those who wish to take a piece of this art history home with them.

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