George Campbell Tinning RCA 1910-1996 (known as “Cam”) was a Canadian painter, graphic designer, muralist and illustrator. He was an Official Canadian War Artist in World War II – the only one born in Saskatchewan. Post-war he resided in Montreal where he established his career. He also travelled extensively and painted in every Canadian province, the United States, Jamaica, Italy, Germany, France, England and Scotland.
Art exhibited on this site includes oils, pastels, mixed media and watercolours in a multiplicity of genres – landscapes, seascapes, cityscapes, still life, portraits, murals, and abstracts. There are numerous sketches, Christmas cards from over fifty years and ephemera from his estate – all arranged within six chronological categories: 1920-39, 1940-45, 1946-50, 1951-59, 1960-69, 1970+.
In addition, art from private and public sources with biographical information will be published on an irregular basis in the blog. Older entries will be reformatted, edited and inserted at the appropriate timeline within each category. The focus of this website is to raise an awareness and appreciation of Tinning’s art within a modern context, pay tribute to the artist in relation to his environment and the times in which he lived and to develop a source for referenced, creditable biographical material.
George Campbell Tinning paintings are in the collections of the:
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec
Confederation Centre Art Gallery, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan
Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario
Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
McGill Alumni Association, Montreal, Quebec
Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario
Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan
Agnes Etherington Centre, Kingston, Ontario
Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario
Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Société historique côte-nord, Baie Comeau, Quebec
Musée de Lachine, Lachine, Quebec
McCord Museum, Montreal, Quebec
MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan
Stewart Hall Art Gallery, Pointe Claire, Quebec
Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia
Mann Art Gallery, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s, Newfoundland
Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, British Columbia
Musée des beaux-arts de Sherbrooke, Quebec
1910 Born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (25 Feb); family moves to Lethbridge, Alberta (Sep)
1916 Family moves to Regina, Saskatchewan.
1919 Family moves to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1924 Attends art classes in Winnipeg (Alexander J. Musgrove, Instructor)
1925 Family moves to Regina, Saskatchewan; paints at Scout Camp in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan
1926 Enrols at Regina Central Collegiate (Jan); works on a farm north of Piapot, Saskatchewan (Jul); completes buffalo designs for the Saskatchewan government; wins first prize in Art at the Regina Boys’ Fair.
1927 Exhibits at the Local Council of Women Annual Saskatchewan Art Exhibition at City Hall, Regina (Nov)
1928 Paints at Echo Lake, Qu’Appelle Valley (Jul/Aug); Exhibits at the Fine Arts Hall Regina Fair (July) under the auspices of the Regina Local Council of Women (LCW).
1931-34 Enrols in Art Program at Regina College (JH Lee-Grayson, Instructor); attends Regina Sketch Club; paints grocery store signs; decorates Novia and Monico Cafés in Regina; paints scenery for Regina Little Theatre; designs/decorates the Forum for the first Skating Club Carnival, Regina
1935 Works on a farm near Lumsden, SK and paints with Illingworth Kerr (Sep); Exhibits at the LCW Annual Exhibition of Saskatchewan Art, Regina College Oct/Nov)
1936 Paints in Lake Louise, Alberta.
1937 Group Exhibition of Paintings by Saskatchewan Artists at Regina College.
1938 Attends Elliot O’Hara School of Watercolour, Goose Rocks Beach, Maine (Jul) and also instructs during a second session in August; attends Art Students League of New York (Arnold Blanch, William C Palmer Instructors) (Oct/Nov); Group Exhibition, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto, Ontario. (Nov); Group Exhibition, 36th Annual Pennsylvania Watercolor Show, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; moves to Montreal, Quebec (Dec)
1939 Solo Exhibition, Sidney Carter Galleries, Montreal (Jan); Group Exhibition, Art Association of Montreal, 56th Spring Exhibition, Montreal (Mar); Group Exhibition at World’s Fair, New York City, New York; paints in the Adirondacks, New York and Prout’s Neck, Maine (Jun/Jul); opens a studio in Montreal , Quebec; elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours
1940 Employed as a graphic artist and window designer by The Robert Simpson Montreal Limited; Group Exhibition, Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours travelling show; Group Exhibition, Canadian National Committee on Refugees and Auction of Canadian Painting (Oct)
1941 Group Exhibition, Art Association of Montreal, 58th Annual Spring Exhibition, Montreal, Quebec (Apr); paints at the Royal Canadian Air Force Base Trenton, Ontario (Jul) ; Group Exhibition, Canadian Society of Graphic Art travelling show (Jul); Solo exhibition at Sidney Carter Galleries, Montreal, Quebec (8-22 Nov)
1942 Enlists in Royal Montreal Regiment (M.G.) Reserve Army (Jan); Group Exhibition, Art Association of Montreal, 59th Spring Exhibition and wins Jessie Dow Prize for watercolour (Airstrip at R.C.A.F. Base Trenton); enlists in The 2nd Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) as a Private (29 Jun); army training in Saint Jean, Quebec (Jul) and Camp Sussex, New Brunswick (Aug-Dec); posted to Halifax, Nova Scotia with The Black Watch (Dec-Apr 43); Solo Exhibit Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia (Jul); Solo exhibition at Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. (Oct)
1943 Appointed Lieutenant (Specialist) to Historical Section (General Staff) as a War Artist (15 Apr); “On Command” to Halifax, Nova Scotia (3 May- 13 Sep); paints in Fortress Halifax area, Camp Aldershot and Sydney, Nova Scotia (May-Aug) and St. John’s, Newfoundland (21 Aug – 6 Sep) ; Embarkation Leave to see his parents in Vancouver, British Columbia (31 Oct – 9 Dec); embarks from Halifax (15 Dec) on SS Mauritania and arrives Liverpool, England (21 Dec); Attached to Canadian Military Headquarters, London
1944 “On Command” to 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, Bulford, Wiltshire (5 Jan – 12 Feb); awarded clasp to Canadian Volunteer Services Medal for service overseas (6 Feb); admitted to No. 10 Canadian General Hospital, near Watford, England (18 Feb – 24 Mar); posted to Canadian Training School (Windlesham), Washington, Sussex (31 May – 16 Jun); embarks Southhampton on SS Volendam (16 Jul) and arrives Naples, Italy (29 Jul); attached to the 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Florence area (Aug) and to No. 5 Canadian Armoured Division, Adriatic Sector (30 Aug- 25 Nov); Group Exhibition of War Artists at Rimini Casino (Nov); attached to 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, Ravenna (26 Nov- 5 Jan 45)
1945 Attached to HQ First Canadian Corps (15 Jan- 20 Feb); embarks from Leghorn, Italy (26 Feb) and arrives Marseilles, France (28 Feb ); attached to 5th Canadian Armoured Division in Holland (21 Feb – 30 Jun) and Canadian Military Headquarters in London (2 Jul – 15 Sep); Group Exhibition Canadian War Artists at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (12 Jul – 26 Jul) ; paints his ancestral home in Ayrshire, Scotland (Jul); Promoted to Captain (7 Aug); Group Exhibition, Canadian War Artists’ Exhibition, Horsham, England (24 Aug – 7 Sep); embarks Southampton (10 Nov) on HMTS Queen Elizabeth and arrives Halifax (15 Nov)
1946 Attached to National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa (5 Jan- 15 Oct); Group Exhibition, Canadian Water Color assembled by the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Color with the cooperation of the Art Gallery of Toronto for the Arnot Art Gallery, Elmira, New York, United States (Mar); struck off strength Canadian Army (19 Oct)
1947 Moves to an apartment/studio at 1178 Phillip’s Place, Montreal, Quebec; Group Exhibition, Art Association of Montreal, 64thAnnual Spring Exhibition , Montreal, Quebec
1948 Reproductions of 6 paintings published in The Montrealer (Jan); Group Exhibition, Art Association of Montreal, 65th Spring Exhibition (March) and wins Jessie Dow Prize for Watercolour (San Giovanni in Romagna); iIllustrations appear in Ford Times: “Meet Me In Montreal” (Aug); paints in Lorlie, SK and the Okanagan Valley B.C. (Sept) on a commission with Canadian National Railways; Group Exhibition Current Trends in Montreal Painting travelling exhibition by the Federation of Canadian Artists (1 Feb – 15 Aug) in 8 galleries in Western Canada; Group Exhibition, Contemporary Canadian Painting, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (11-29 Nov) transferred to the Canadian Club quarters in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City (2-10 Dec)
1949 Writes an article with illustrations that appears in Canadian Art: “The Prairies Rediscovered” (Spring); Group Exhibition, Regional Art for the U.S. Traveler, Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan (11 May – 1 Jun) ; paints in Newfoundland (Aug – Sep); Joint Exhibition with William Walton Armstrong at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Nov)
1950 Six Newfoundland paintings published in The Montrealer (Jan); promoted to Chief Designer, The Robert Simpson Company, Montreal ; writes an article with illustrations that appears in the Atlantic Guardian “Pictures to Remember” (Feb); Exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Arts: Oil and Pastel, Water Colour, Sculpture, Graphic Arts, Architecture, Crafts, The Art Gallery of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Mar); paints in Baie St Paul, Quebec (Jul – Aug); Solo exhibition at Henry Morgan’s Antique Salon, 5th Floor, Montreal (Oct); Dominion Bridge Company commission (Dec); Group Exhibition (Travelling) Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolours (Sep 50 – Apr 51)
1951 Commissioned painting on calendar printed by the Canadian Bank of Commerce; 5 Baie St Paul paintings published in The Montrealer (Jan); Group Exhibition, Contemporary Artists and Collectors, Quebec section of the Federation of Canadian Artists, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Apr); illustrations appear in Lincoln-Mercury Times: “Newfoundland Fishing Village” (Jul-Aug); paints in England (Swindon), France (Nice) and Italy (Florence) (Aug); Illustrations appear in Lincoln-Mercury Times “A Tour Through Time” (Nov-Dec)
1952 Resigns from The Robert Simpson Company (Sep); Illustrations appear in Lincoln-Mercury Times: “Italian Heartland” (Mar-Apr); Royal Bank of Canada commission for 2 paintings; paints in Prince Edward Island and St. Andrews, New Brunswick (Jul – Aug)
1953 Group Exhibition, 27th Annual Exhibition of the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour. The Art Gallery of Toronto (9 Jan-22Feb); Exhibition with Michel Rostand and Henry Simpkins, Gallery XII, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec (Jan); designs and decorates Ritz Carlton Hotel for Coronation of Queen Elizabeth event (May); elected Associate Member of the Royal Canadian Academy; Group Exhibition, American Byways an exhibition of paintings by Ford Times and Lincoln-MercuryTimes, The Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan (1 Jun- 7 Sep); illustrations appear in Lincoln-Mercury Times: “New Roads Going North” (Jul-Aug); paints in Naramata, British Columbia (Sep-Nov)
1954 Group Exhibition, 71st Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Art; designs and decorates Royal Canadian Academy of Arts 75th Anniversary Ball at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Nov)
1955 Group Exhibition, Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto; paints in New Orleans, USA (Feb) and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Solo Exhibition Silver Room, Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec (Oct); designs and decorates Museum Ball, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1955−59 Group Exhibition; An Exhibition of Paintings from the Ford Times Collection of American Art, “Artists and Fishermen”, Ford Motor Company and New England Journeys Exhibits toured New England museums, art galleries and libraries in the United States
1956 Writes an article with Illustrations that appears in the Lincoln-Mercury Times: “My Hearts in the Highlands” (Sept-Oct); Group Exhibition, 73rd Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Miner Rubber Company calendar commission, Granby, Quebec; Ritz-Carlton Hotel commission (Ritz Cafe), Montreal, Quebec
1957 Group Exhibition, Official Canadian War Artists 1939-1945 organized in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada at the Hélène-de-Champlain Restaurant, Montreal, Quebec (Feb); Group Exhibition, 74th Spring Exhibition, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Group Exhibition and Art Auction, The Herman Abramowitz Chapter of Hadassah, Montreal, Quebec (Nov)
1958 Group exhibition and sale The Ladies Committee of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (January); Exhibition with Joseph Guinta, Hélène-de-Champlain Restaurant, Montreal, Quebec (Jan/Feb); designs and decorates Museum Ball, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Nov)
1959 Solo Exhibition, The Montreal Repertory Theatre, Montreal, Quebec; Group exhibition and sale The Ladies Committee of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Jan)
1960 Jenkins Valve commission for a 2 storey mural in the Administration Building, Lachine, Quebec; Group exhibition and sale The Ladies Committee of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Feb)
1961 Completes Bank of Montreal commission for 3 murals in the President’s Lounge, Head Office Building Montreal, Quebec; completes Readers Digest commission of Montreal and Toronto skylines for President’s Office, Montreal, Quebec (Jun); Group Exhibition with Canadian War Museum Travelling Exhibition to Northern Ontario and Maritimes (Jul -Apr ’62)
1963 Solo exhibition, Hambleton Gallery, Kelowna, British Columbia; Solo Exhibition, Recent Water Colours of British Columbia, Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, Quebec (Nov 21-30); stage designs for the Ritz Café in the lower level of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec
1964 Designs the ceiling of the Maritime Bar, Ritz Carlton Hotel, Montreal, Quebec; Solo Exhibition, Jack Hambleton Galleries, Kelowna, British Columbia (Mar 20-Apr 2); donates paintings to The Salvation Army, Eventide Home, Montreal and fundraiser event for The Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Manitoba; sublets an apartment at # 1202- 3468 Drummond Street, Montreal
1965 Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada commissions 4 paintings for Board Room, Montreal, Quebec (Sep); moves to The Linton Apartments #73- 1509 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal
1966 Le Chateau Champlain Hotel commission for public rooms and some suites, Montreal, Quebec
1967 Group Exhibition, Prize Award Winners 1908-1965 Spring Exhibitions, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec (Apr)
1968 Le Manoir Hotel commission for 135 paintings, Baie Comeau, Quebec; “Check List of the War Collections” National Gallery of Canada is published with 224 Tinning war art listed numerically
1969 Solo exhibition, Gavreau Gallery, Montreal, Quebec (Mar)
1970 Elected full member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
1971 Solo exhibition, Kastel Gallery, Montreal, Quebec (Nov)
1972 Group Exhibition, Aviation Paintings from the Art Collection of the Canadian War Museum, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario
1974 Submission of Diploma Work to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts; an abstract painting (oil) appears in Architectural Digest (Sept/Oct )
1975 Buys Unit #52 in The Linton, 1509 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec and rents an office/studio across the street which is sublet after 4 months
1976 Group Exhibition, FIFTY YEARS: The Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour 1925-1975, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario (Dec 75/Jan 76)
1979 Auditapes an interview by Lily Koltun of the National Photography Collection about Sidney Carter (Mar 5) and an interview by Joan Murray of the Robert McLaughlin Gallery for Canadian Artists of the Second World War catalogue (May 16) Photo Credit: VIDA/Saltmarche, Toronto
1980 Group Exhibition, Watercolour paintings in Saskatchewan 1905-1980; Mendal Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Group Exhibition, Acadia University Art Gallery, Wolfville, Nova Scotia (Jul/Aug)
1981 Group Exhibition, Canadian Artists of the Second World War, The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, Ontario. (27 Oct – 30 Nov)
1982-83 Group Exhibition in a Travelling Canadian War Museum Exhibition, Poor Bloody Infantry to Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia (Jan ‘82- Mar ‘83)
1985 Group Exhibition, The Battle for Freedom, Maison de la culture Notre-Dame-de-Grace, Montreal, Quebec (May/ Jun)
1988-89 Group Exhibition, The Sweetest Spring, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario ( May/ Mar)
1990 Solo Exhibition, Galerie Francis Alexandre Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario (Feb); Group Exhibition, Victory Parade, Canadian War Artist in Holland 1944-45, Legermuseum, Delft, Holland (May – Dec); 3 paintings reproduced in Images of War, The Artists’s Vision of World War II edited by Ken McCormick and Hamilton Darby Perry; Published by Orion Books, New York, 1990
1991 Group Exhibition, 32 Artists of the Quebec Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, Toronto, Ontario; Group Exhibition, From Regionalism to Abstraction: Mashel Teitelbaum and Saskatchewan Art in the 1940’s, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1993 Group Exhibition, The Art of War: Works on Paper from the Canadian War Museum. The Art Gallery of the Canadian Embassy, Washington, D.C. (Jul/Sept)
1994 Group Exhibition, The Art of War: 1914-18, 1939-45: An Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings by Canadian and British Artists Produced During the Two Great Wars, Canadian High Commission, London, England (May-Aug); Solo exhibition, George Campbell Tinning Selected Work: 1938-1994, Dominion Gallery, Montreal (Jun); 1 reproduction appears in “Naming Names: The War Art of Atlantic Canada Part One.” Arts Atlantic 49, vol. 13, no. 1 (spring/summer9 35-37.
1995 A watercolour featured on the cover of Canadian Military History (Spring) and 2 watercolours are featured in an article by Teresa McIntosh (Page 21) of The Archivist (Magazine of the National Archives of Canada) (No. 109)
1996 Dies in Montreal, Quebec (28 Feb) and is buried in Mount Royal Cemetery; an obituary by Laura Brandon appears in Canadian Military History (Autumn) and a feature article is published in Legion Magazine with 6 colour reproductions of Tinning’s war art (Nov/Dec)
1998 Group Exhibition, Drawing The Line, Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Saskatchewan (Oct/Dec)
1999-2000 Solo exhibition, The War Art of George Campbell Tinning, Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and at the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, Ontario
2000-2004 Group Exhibition, Canvas of War, Masterpieces from the Canadian War Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization, toured Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, British Columbia. “The biggest touring show of war art ever mounted in Canada” (Tor Star 2011)
2010 Cover picture and sixteen Tinning paintings are featured in The Canadian Battlefields in Italy The Gothic Line & The Battle of the Rivers by Eric McGeer with Matt Symes, Published by Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, Waterloo, Ontario
2010-12 Solo Exhibition, The Newfoundland Paintings George Campbell Tinning, Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; tours to Newfoundland, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
2014 Solo Exhibition, George Campbell Tinning Un atrista di guerra a Tavullia nel 1944 Tavullia, Italy (Sept-Dec) – ten paintings in commemoration of seventy years since the breakthrough of the Gothic Line at Tavullia
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Eight Decades of Tinning’s Flower Paintings
Campbell Tinning was noted for his watercolour painting of flowers. The Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery has one of his earliest watercolours – completed at the age of 9 for his grandmother – showing flowers in a garden. Here is a thematic retrospective of floral still life from eight decades – 1926 to 1991. Although primarily a watercolourist he did paint in other media as seen below in the sunflower and jug – a 1979 oil on canvas.