National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

Annual Bulletin 4, 1980-1981

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by Joseph Martin

Article en français

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The introduction to the Annual Bulletin is usually written by the Director of the National Gallery. For the fourth annual bulletin, however, we must make an exception, owing to the departure of the Director, Miss Hsio-Yen Shih, on March 31, 1981. As Acting Director, it falls to me to perform this task which Miss Shih did not have time to carry out before she left.

The year 1980-1981 marked the centennial of the National Gallery, and throughout the year there were exhibitions of every kind to celebrate the event. In addition to the important historical exhibition, To found a national gallery: the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880-1913, which launched the celebration, I would like to mention two other exhibitions which aroused a great deal of interest and which, though they are quite different from one another, aptly demonstrate the vitality of our institution - namely, Pluralities / 1980 / Pluralités, a mirror of the past decade, and The Young Van Dyck, an exhibition of the works of the seventeenth-century master of the portrait.

Despite budget restrictions, we were able to enrich our art collection with such important acquisitions as Skeletons in the Studio by James Ensor, Foggini's marble Portrait Bust of Cosimo III de' Medici, grand duke of Tuscany, Cornelius Krieghoff's Portrait of a Man, and works by contemporary artists such as Paterson Ewen, John McEwen, Michael Snow, and Serge Tousignant.

I would like to pay particular tribute, at this time, to the remarkable adaptability and loyalty of the National Gallery staff.

In order to carry out a coherent programme of museum activities, special qualities of tenacity and endurance, which go beyond the contribution a museum staff might normally be expected to bear, have been called for. Despite the instability of the present and uncertainty over the future, the continued cooperation of staff members has enabled us to fulfill our role to the best of our ability. The existence of this institution depends on the enthusiasm and hard work of these people. The time has come to express our gratitude. In my capacity as Acting Director I would like to praise all the Gallery's employees for their work during 1980-1981.

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