Indepth Arts News: |
"Brigdens of Winnipeg"
2001-06-07 until 2001-08-26
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Brigdens, one of Canada’s oldest graphic arts firms, opened a branch in Winnipeg
in 1913 to produce the western Canadian version of the Eaton’s mail-order
catalogue. Subsequently, Brigdens of Winnipeg became the largest employer of
artists in the city, thus having a significant impact on the developing Winnipeg art
scene in the first half of the 20th century. Many of these artists would also
become well-known figures in the world of Canadian art. Brigdens enabled these
artists to survive financially while working in an art-related field.
Perhaps the greatest significance of Brigdens is that it provided a nurturing
environment. At Brigdens, like-minded creative people worked together in a
business run by family members who strongly encouraged employees to pursue
outside fine art endeavours and studies. Its apprenticeship program provided
almost a preliminary artistic training, with its manager, Arnold O. Brigden,
sending employees to courses at the School of Art during the off-season.
The exhibition Brigdens of Winnipeg provides an alternative approach to the
study of art production in Winnipeg. Brigdens, like its counterparts, Notmans in
Montreal and Grip in Toronto, not only provided the graphics for advertising, it
also held an important place in the social and cultural history of the city.
Brigdens of Winnipeg will examine the impact of the commercial art industry in
Winnipeg on the expansion of popular mass communication and on Canadian art
as a whole.