Art and Work: A Social History of Labour in the Canadian Graphic Arts Industry to the 1940s

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McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP, 1995 - History - 187 pages
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This book is a history of the development of commercial illustration and the graphic arts industry in Canada from the late eighteenth century to the 1940s. It suggests that the foundations of Canadian art and a Canadian popular culture rest not only within the European traditions of fine art but also with the work of those artists who practised in the commercial environment of the early graphic arts houses.
It is also a history of a type of "work" that was new during this period. The mechanized reproduction of art works in the nineteenth century meant that artists found themselves within an industrial atmosphere similar to that of other workers. This history traces the beginning of that process in England, follows its transference to Canada, and demonstrates how illustrators, engravers, photo-engravers, and lithographers became part of an increasingly commercially oriented industry. It was an industry of major importance in the fields of printing and new forms of advertising, but it was also an industry that led to a change in status for the members of its work force who considered themselves to be artists.
The study is not concerned with aesthetic values of works of art or with the impact that commercially produced art work has had on consumer culture. Rather, it seeks to understand artists as workers, and work itself, within the changing commercial and industrial milieu of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Canada.

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Social History and the Graphic Arts
Artists and Commercial
The Spread
Labour and Art 19141940

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About the author (1995)

Angela Davis was an assistant professor in the Department of History at St John's College, University of Manitoba.

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