Carl Fellman Schaefer
Barley in Stooks, John Voelzing Farm, Hanover, 1936
watercolour on paper
39.8 x 57.7 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with the assistance of the Canada Council
The 1930s were defined by global depression and military escalation that presaged World War II. It was also an era of change in Canadian art. Many landscape painters turned their attention toward regional and human-centred subjects and away from wilderness and the nationalistic sentiment popularized by the Group of Seven. The watercolour medium, as seen in Schaefer’s agrarian landscapes, was adopted by an increasing number of these artists for its technical effect and low cost, relative to oil paint. Hit by economic strife, Schaefer was forced to move with his family to his in-laws’ farm in rural southern Ontario. The artist’s paintings from the 1930s convey a sense of despair and lost hope, alluding to the dire social and economic situation facing many Canadians during this decade.