Canadian War Museum launches commemoration of First World War Centenary with two art exhibitions

April 9, 2014

Ottawa, Ontario, April 9, 2014 — The Canadian War Museum launched its commemoration of the centenary of the First World War today with two new exhibitions exploring the historic conflict through art. Transformations – A. Y. Jackson and Otto Dix and Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War, supported by National Presenting Sponsor TD Bank Group, are the first in a series of exhibitions and activities planned by the Canadian War Museum over the next five years to illuminate one of the most important periods in Canadian history.

Both exhibitions offer visitors an opportunity to see unique and rarely displayed works. In addition to iconic works by A.Y. Jackson, Transformations presents the largest collection of landscape paintings by Otto Dix ever assembled in North America. Of the 54 works in Witness, which includes both official war art and intimate sketches made in trenches and prisoner-of-war camps, most of the art by ordinary soldiers has never been publicly displayed.

“As Canada’s foremost museum of military history, we are uniquely positioned to tell the many stories of the First World War,” says James Whitham, Director General of the Canadian War Museum. “Both these exhibitions use incredible pieces from the Canadian War Museum’s Beaverbrook Collection of War Art to shed light on the First World War, its tools and impact — in often very personal ways.”

“TD is honoured to participate in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the First World War,” says Tom Dyck, Executive Vice President, Community Banking, TD Bank Group. “During the war, approximately half our employees were enlisted in the Armed Forces and we continue to remember and honour the men and women who served our country then as well as those who continue to serve today.” 

Transformations, developed by the War Museum with the generous support of the National Gallery of Canada, examines the First World War’s influence on the landscape art of two now-celebrated artists who fought on opposing sides in their early years: future Group of Seven member A. Y. Jackson and German painter-printmaker Otto Dix. Arranged chronologically into five sections, from the artists’ early years to their deaths, this ground-breaking exhibition draws upon rich historical and art resources, including over 70 paintings, drawings and prints from public and private collections in Canada, the United States and Germany.

Witness, by contrast, 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. The works of art presented here are deeply personal testimonies that stand as a record of the conflict, and help to expand our visual understanding of the personal and national impact of this major event in Canadian history.

Transformations – A. Y. Jackson and Otto Dix and Witness – Canadian Art of the First World War will be on display in the Canadian War Museum’s Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae Gallery from April 10 to September 21, 2014.

About the Canadian War Museum

The Canadian War Museum is Canada’s national museum of military history. Its mission is to promote public understanding of Canada’s military history in its personal, national, and international dimensions.

TD Community Giving

TD Bank Group invests in communities in order to effect positive change in the places where it operates and where its clients and employees live and work. In 2013, TD donated over $74.7 million to support community organizations in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. In Canada, TD focuses on education and financial literacy, creating opportunities for young people and the environment.

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Media contacts:

Yasmine Mingay
Manager, Public Affairs
Canadian War Museum
Telephone:   819-776-8608

Avra Gibbs Lamey
Communications and Media Relations Officer
Canadian War Museum
Telephone: 819-776-8607

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