Contemporary arts society montreal


Founded in 1939 by artist John Lyman who then served as its first president, the CAS purpose was to promote Canadian public awareness of modern art by bringing together artists of "non-Academic tendencies." Joint exhibitions became a part of their agenda. Twenty-five names were on the initial list with most of them being "French-influenced post impressionists". The roster included Fritz Brandtner, Stanley Cosgrove, Philip Surrey, Louis Muhlstock, and Paul-Emile Borduas. In May, 1939, membership opened to non-artists, many whom were collectors, critics, and teachers, and most whom lived in Montreal. At that time, CAS also held its first exhibition, "Art of Our Day", an overview of modernist art in Canadian collections. By the mid-1940s, nearly every prominent modernist painter in Montreal was a member, but the group became divisive as some members, such as Paul Borduas, were perceived as increasingly 'radical' relative to other members. CAS, having met its goals, especially in Montreal, terminated in 1948. Sources: Christoper Varley,; M.D. Silverbrooke, Art Historian and Collector, West Vancouver, British Columbia.