National Gallery's Index sheds light on 19th-century Canadian art
Ottawa, Canada - October 4, 2004
L'Index du MBAC fait la lumière sur l'art canadien au XIXe siècle
Research into 19th century Canadian art is getting a boost from a unique new reference tool published by the National Gallery of Canada. The Index to Nineteenth-Century Canadian Catalogues of Art is a 2,000-page, two-volume resource that helps identify, date and establish previous ownership of artworks, thus facilitating research on the history of artistic production, art collecting and the art market in 19th-century Canada.
Because many of the 266 catalogues upon which the Index is based are scarce, fragile and scattered sparingly among Canada's museums and research libraries, the organization of their contents into a single source is a welcome advance.
The Index was edited by Jonathan Franklin, Head of Collections and Database Management of the Library of the National Gallery. The five-year undertaking required 1,000 workdays of indexing, with half of this effort contributed by volunteers to the programs of the Library and Archives. The Friends of the National Gallery, meanwhile, provided crucial financial support.
"The volunteers' hard work and tireless enthusiasm, along with the generosity of the Friends, were instrumental in bringing this project to fruition," says Murray Waddington, Chief Librarian of the National Gallery of Canada. "This has been a remarkable endeavour, and we're very pleased to be able to share the results with the research community."
The Index is arranged by artist, listing 4,545 names, and also contains a supplementary index of 1,660 collectors. It includes all surviving catalogues of art exhibitions, auctions and permanent collections published in Canada before 1900. These range from the catalogue of an 1823 auction in Quebec City and exhibitions of paintings in 1830s Halifax, to the annual catalogues of the Art Association of Montreal, the Ontario Society of Artists, and the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Lesser-known societies such as the Women's Art Association of Canada are also covered. The extensive Art sections of the Toronto Industrial Exhibition catalogues are indexed, as are the Canadian contributions to the great international exhibitions in London, Paris and Chicago. Three catalogues from the National Gallery of Canada (founded in 1880) are included in the Index.
The Index to Nineteenth-Century Canadian Catalogues of Art ($175, ISBN 0-88884-786-6) is the sixth title to be published in the Occasional Papers series of the Library and Archives of the National Gallery of Canada. Copies are available through the National Gallery Bookstore firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 613-990-0962).
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