Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

World Premiere of Baltic Light: Early Open Air Painting in Denmark And North Germany at The National Gallery of Canada

Ottawa, Canada - September 24, 1999


 « Une première mondiale au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada : Lumière du nord. Les débuts de la peinture de plein air au Danemark et en Allemagne du nord » 
The world premiere and only North American presentation of Baltic Light: Early Open-Air Painting in Denmark and North Germany opens at the National Gallery of Canada on 15 October 1999, and continues until 2 January 2000. This major exhibition, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, the Hamburger Kunsthalle, and Thorvaldsens Museum, Copenhagen, features some 100 paintings by early 19th century Danish and German artists, and is the first to concentrate on the common interests shared by Danish and North German landscape artists centred in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Berlin, and Dresden.

The exhibition features the work of such important and innovative artists as Casper David Friedrich,

C.W. Eckersberg, Carl Blechen, Friedrich Wasmann and Johan Christian Dahl, noted for their new and original concept of nature, based on observation of what they saw, rather than on formal concepts and idealized compositions. For many early 19th century artists, light was not a backdrop but a subject in itself, captured through the practise of plein air or open air painting, which they introduced to the North. The majority of paintings have been borrowed from important public and private collections in various regions of Germany and Scandinavia with several works coming from Russia, Poland, France, and the United States.

"This exhibition marks the first time that many of these important artists are exhibited in Canada, "stated Pierre Théberge, Director of the National Gallery of Canada, "although their aspirations were similar to those of Canadian artists of a later generation and many of their compatriots were among early settlers in this country. The National Gallery is especially pleased to have worked with colleagues at the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the Thorvaldsens Museum in organizing this magnificent exhibition in Ottawa."

Baltic Light focuses on landscapes and maritime scenes, such as the luminous On the Sailboat, 1818-19 by Casper David Friedrich. The scale of works varies between oil sketches entirely executed on the spot, whether a view or concentrated study of foliage or clouds, and bigger canvases executed in the studio on the basis of these sketches, or before an open window. Also included are large panoramic views, including cityscapes, such as in two sections that comprise the Panorama of Berlin from the Roof of the Church of Friedrichswerder, 1836, by Eduard Gaertner, and seascapes that evoke the romance and drama of marine life, as in C. W. Eckersberg's stately The Russian Ship of the Line "Asow" and a Frigate at Anchor in the Elsinore Roads, 1828.

These and the many other exquisite paintings featured in Baltic Light: Early Open-Air Painting in Denmark and North Germany, demonstrate the clear and uncomplicated view of nature that characterizes the outlook of such artists, as well as their interest in representing their native terrain with the particular qualities of light and atmosphere to be found there.

A media preview will take place on Wednesday 13 October, beginning at 10 am in the Great Hall. A tour of the exhibition by Catherine Johnston, Curator of European and American Art and organizer of the exhibition for the National Gallery, will be followed by a luncheon. Viewing continues until 2 pm.

Tickets for Baltic Light may be purchased in person at the National Gallery of Canada. Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, and free to Friends and visitors under 18 years of age.

A fully-illustrated catalogue will be available in English and French, with Danish and German editions to follow at subsequent showings. An excellent program of lectures, workshops, and tours has been organized to complement the exhibition. Please call the National Gallery for general and ticket information, or consult our Web site at http://national.gallery.ca/.

The international transportation of passengers and cargo has been generously supported by Air Canada Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo, and by Air Canada and Lufthansa German Airlines, partners in Star Alliance. The exhibition has also been generously supported by corporate partners Bayer Inc. and CAE Inc.

Following its showing in Ottawa, the exhibition will be on view at the Hamburger Kunsthalle from 26 January to 26 March 2000, and at the Thorvaldsen Museum from 19 April to 18 June 2000.
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