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Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War

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Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War examines how Canadians depicted their First World War experiences in art, both at home and overseas, whether as official war artists or as soldiers in the field.


From massive canvases completed in studios in England and Canada during and immediately after the war, to intimate sketches and drawings made in trenches and prisoner-of-war camps, this innovative exhibition will show never-before exhibited works and expand our visual understanding of the personal and national impact of this major event in Canadian history.

The vast majority of works have been brought out of the Museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, one of the largest collections of war art in the world. Witness features works by celebrated Canadian artists such as A. Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley and Franz Johnston alongside ordinary Canadian soldiers.

An exhibition developed by the Canadian War Museum.


Complete your visit by picking up the Witness souvenir catalogue, on sale online and at the Museum Boutique.





A Poppy Field, France

Vivian Cummings, A Poppy Field, France, around 1918 © Beaverbrook Collection of War Art, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario 20110004-024



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No flash photography permitted in the exhibition, please.

No tripods, bags, umbrellas or coats permitted inside the John McCrae Gallery.