In 1918, the Canadian War Memorials Fund commissioned two artists to document the port of Halifax, Nova Scotia in the wake of the explosion that had wrecked such havoc the previous December. Harold Gilman was a British artist who came to Canada to do the assignment (as fate would have it he would be dead by the following year, one of the many victims of the influenza that swept across the world in the wake of the Great War). Arthur Lismer was the Canadian artist, already known for landscapes, and who would wind up being one of the founders of The Group of Seven. Their paintings and sketches are the basis of this temporary exhibit, 1918 Halifax Harbour.
Mine Sweepers At Sea is a 1917 oil painting by Lismer, depicting the naval ships engaged in hazardous duties.
These are studies for the painting that follows. Lismer, like the rest of The Group Of Seven, tended to use small canvases in the field and would transfer his ideas to a larger canvas in studios. These show the dazzle ships- the patterns used during the Great War to break up a navy ship's outline. The harbour at Halifax was a busy spot throughout the war for such ships, and the dazzle camouflage pattern interested Lismer.
Dazzle Ship At Night is a formal painting by Lismer.
Winter Camouflage is a 1918 Lismer oil painting giving us the wide view of the Bedford Basin in winter, with navy ships out in the harbour waiting for their time to commence the crossing across the ocean.
The Sentinels dates to 1919; Lismer created this lithograph on paper.
Another lithograph from the same period by Lismer is Harbour Defence- Winter. German submarines were known to be in the waters off the East Coast, and this captures defensive measures in place around Halifax.
Halifax Harbour is a large Gilman painting dating to the fall of 1918. It was the last painting finished before his death.
This pen and ink sketch is also by Gilman. House At Halifax, Nova Scotia is on loan for this exhibit from the Higgins Art Gallery and Museum in Bedford, United Kingdom.
This smaller canvas is Study For Halifax Harbour, a 1918 painting Gilman did to prepare himself for the larger work.
And here we see the two paintings across from each other. Tomorrow I wrap up this series.