Skip to product information
1 of 11

Bertram Brooker

When We Awake!

Michael Parke-Taylor

Regular price
$60.00 CAD
Regular price
Sale price
$60.00 CAD

The first comprehensive look at a leading figure in Canadian modernism and the many facets of his artistic creativity.

Bertram Brooker (1888–1955), an associate of the Group of Seven, was a multi-disciplinary artist who was deeply engaged with the visual, literary and performing arts in Canada during the dynamic inter-war period. This was a time of dramatic change in Canadian cultural life, and Brooker was one of the artistic community’s most gifted first responders.

In 1927 he burst onto the Toronto art scene at the Arts and Letters Club with his painting exhibition World and Spirit, considered to be the first show of abstract paintings in Canada. An advertising executive by day, he was inspired by music and mystical experience throughout his polymathic creative career. Brooker combined elements of abstraction and figuration as a painter, illustrator and graphic designer – the focus of this publication – and reflected myriad strains of contemporary thought in his efforts as a novelist, poet, short-story and essay writer, screenwriter, playwright, actor, musician, and as one of the most influential art critics of his day.

Bertram Brooker: When We Awake is the fully illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by noted Canadian art scholar Michael Parke-Taylor, placing Brooker’s career as a visual artist in the context of his wider creativity at last. It includes 150 of his paintings and drawings, a detailed chronology of his career, and new critical reflections on his trailblazing contribution to Canadian cultural life.

Learn more about this book and author at