TABLE OF CONTENTS

Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch

Scope and Content

Index Terms

Administrative Information

Processing Information

Custodial History

Preferred Citation

Contact Information

Box List

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Donald W. Buchanan fonds:

Finding Aid



Collection Summary

Title:Donald W. Buchanan fonds.
Dates:– ca. 1958-ca. 1963.
Quantity: – 886 photographs.

Biographical sketch

Donald William Buchanan, art historian, arts administrator, and author, was born in 1908 in Lethbridge, Alberta, the son of Senator William Ashbury Buchanan (1876-1954), publisher of the Lethbridge Herald, and Alma Maud Buchanan (née Freeman) (1877-1956). Buchanan studied modern history at the University of Toronto and held a fellowship at the University of Oxford. In 1934 he received a fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation to train in museum administration and to complete a biography on the Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924). The following year Buchanan founded the National Film Society of Canada (known as the Canadian Film Institute since 1950); from 1937 until 1940, he worked at the Canadian Radio Commission (now the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). After leaving the Canadian Radio Commission, Buchanan worked for the National Film Board, where he established the stills division; from 1947 until 1960 he was employed by the National Gallery of Canada, serving as director of the Industrial Design Division (1947-1953) and later as the Gallery's Associate Director (1955-1960). Buchanan returned to the Gallery in 1963 as a member of its Board of Trustees.

Buchanan wrote several books on art and design during his career, including James Wilson Morrice: A Biography (1936), Canadian Painting from Paul Kane to the Group of Seven (1945), Design for Use (1947), The Growth of Canadian Painting (1950), and Alfred Pellan (1962). In 1958, after developing an interest in photography, Buchanan took a six-month leave of absence from his job at the National Gallery to photograph areas of France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, and Jordan. The photographs produced by Buchanan during this trip led to an exhibition entitled entitled A Not Always Reverent Journey: Photographs by Donald W. Buchanan (1959), organized and circulated by the National Gallery of Canada. Buchanan continued his career in photography after he retired from the National Gallery, exhibiting his work at the Here and Now Gallery, Toronto, in 1960; La Galleria George Lester, Rome, in 1962; and The Blue Barn Gallery, Ottawa, in 1964. He also published two books of his photographs, A Nostalgic View of Canada (1962) and Sausages and Roses (1963). Buchanan's career as a photographer was put on hold in December 1963, when he was appointed director of the International Fine Arts Exhibition Man and His World at Expo '67. Buchanan died after being struck by a van on an Ottawa bridge in 1966.

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Scope and Content

The fonds consists of black-and-white contact prints and negatives produced by Buchanan during his travels throughout Canada and during trips to countries including France, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, and Tunisia from the late 1950s until the early 1960s. Photographs from some of the negatives were shown in exhibitions in Canada and abroad, and were reproduced in exhibition catalogues and books such as Ossip Zadkine (National Gallery of Canada, 1956) and A Nostalgic View of Canada (McClelland & Stewart, 1962).

Source of title proper: Title based on contents of fonds.

Physical description: Photographs include 223 b&w contact prints and 663 b&w negatives. The contact prints are individual images. Many of these have been cropped.

Immediate source of acquisition: Purchased from Thomas L. Beckett, Ancaster, Ontario, the former owner of Beckett Gallery Limited in Hamilton, Ontario

Terms governing use and reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material from the Donald W. Buchanan fonds must be obtained from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

Finding aids: Box list available.

Associated records: The collection of the National Gallery of Canada includes eight photographs (gelatin silver prints) by Donald W. Buchanan.

Accruals: No further accruals expected.

Related groups of records: The Donald W. Buchanan-James Wilson Morrice Collection at the E.P. Taylor Research Library and Archives, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, consists of letters solicited by Buchanan for his book entitled James Wilson Morrice: A Biography (1936). Correspondents include Léa Cadoret, W. Somerset Maugham, Gerald Faustus Kelly, Charles Prendergast, Elizabeth R. Pennell, Clive Bell, Walter Pach, David Morrice, Pavel Ettinger, and Henri Matisse.

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Index Terms

Names:
Buchanan, Donald W., 1908-1966
Document Types:
Negatives.
Photographs.

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Administrative Information

Processing Information

Collection arranged and described by Philip Dombowsky in 2014.

Custodial History

Purchased from Thomas L. Beckett, Ancaster, Ontario, the former owner of Beckett Gallery Limited, Hamilton, Ontario. Beckett obtained the collection from Donald Buchanan's brother, Hugh Buchanan, who had moved to Hamilton from Lethbridge, Alberta, in 1962. Hugh received the material from his brother's estate in 1966.

Preferred Citation

[Title of item], Donald W. Buchanan fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.

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Contact Information

Cyndie Campbell
Head, Archives, Documentation and Visual Resources 
Library and Archives 
National Gallery of Canada 
380 Sussex Drive 
P.O. Box 427, Station A 
Ottawa, Ontario 
K1N 9N4 

T 613-990-0597 
F 613-990-9818 

 
ccampbel@gallery.ca 


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Box List

Box Folder
Box 1 File 1 Canada, vol. 1 *note: file includes 16 b&w contact prints and 38 b&w negatives  
File 2 Canada, vol. 2 *note: file includes 17 b&w contact prints and 27 b&w negatives
File 3 Canada (Milan show), vol. 3 *note: file includes 22 b&w contact prints and 38 b&w negatives 
File 4 Canada (Montreal), vol. 4 *note: file includes 19 b&w contact prints and 18 b&w negatives 
File 5 Canada (1965), vol. 5 *note: file includes 19 b&w contact prints and 23 b&w negatives 
File 6 Canada, vol. 6 *note: file includes 11 b&w contact prints and 11 b&w negatives 
File 7 France, 1963 (autumn) *note: file includes 4 b&w contact prints and 6 b&w negatives 
File 8 France, Burgundy, vol. 1 *note: file includes 10 b&w contact prints and 23 b&w negatives 
File 9 France, Burgundy, vol. 2 *note: file includes 7 b&w contact prints and 7 b&w negatives 
File 10 Greece, Athens, 1965 *note: file includes 2 b&w contact prints and 4 b&w negatives 
File 11 Italy, 1963 (winter-spring) *note: file includes 11 b&w contact prints and 11 b&w negatives 
File 12 Italy (Giacometti) *note: file includes 7 b&w contact prints and 10 b&w negatives 
File 13 Japan, vol. 1 *note: file includes 1 b&w contact print 
File 14 Japan, vol. 2 *note: file includes 5 b&w contact prints and 9 b&w negatives 
File 15 Switzerland, vol. 1 *note: file includes 15 b&w contact prints and 32 b&w negatives 
File 16 Switzerland, vol. 2 *note: file includes 9 b&w contact prints and 9 b&w negatives 
File 17 Tunisia *note: file includes 10 b&w contact prints and 10 b&w negatives 
File 18 Birds and girls *note: file includes 7 b&w contact prints and 17 b&w negatives 
File 19 Children *note: file includes 11 b&w negatives 
File 20 Zadkine, vol. 1 *note: file includes 9 b&w contact prints and 35 b&w negatives 
File 21 Zadkine, vol. 2 *note: file includes 4 b&w contact prints and 14 b&w negatives 
File 22 Miscellaneous, vol. 1 *note: file includes 8 b&w negatives 
File 23 Miscellaneous, vol. 2 *note: file includes 1 b&w contact print and 5 b&w negatives 
File 24 Unlabelled, vol. 1 *note: file includes 6 b&w contact prints and 21 b&w negatives 
File 25 Unlabelled, vol. 2 *note: file includes 1 b&w contact print and 1 b&w negative 
File 26 Unlabelled, vol. 3 *note: file includes 9 b&w contact prints and 265 b&w negatives 

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