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

Annual Bulletin 6, 1982-1983 

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by Joseph Martin

Article en français

Page  1  

The National Gallery of Canada transmitted its revised and updated architectural programme to the new Canada Museums Construction Corporation created by the Government in February 1982. During the summer and fall of 1982, Jean Sutherland Boggs, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of this Corporation, invited the Gallery's managers to participate in selecting the architect for the new Gallery. At the end of the year, they gave their views regarding the plans prepared by those architects invited by the Construction Corporation to submit designs for a fine-arts museum. Immediately following the government's decision last February on the architects and the new site on Sussex Drive, staff members were able to study and comment on the architects' preliminary plans, and thereby influence the design of the new National Gallery. This close collaboration between the Canada Museums construction Corporation and the National Gallery will ensure that the new facility meets museological needs and reflects the ideal for a new building.

Staff participation in this project, however, did not hold up work in other areas and there was intense activity throughout the National Gallery over the course of the year.

The Public Programmes Branch presented an impressive number of high-quality exhibitions. Some deserve particular mention, in view of their content and the interest they aroused. They include: F. H. Varley: A Centennial Exhibition, the first large-scale retrospective of Varley's work in thirty years; Modernism in Quebec Art, 1916-1946, dealing with the concept of modernism in Quebec art; Paraskeva Clark: Paintings and Drawings, a salute to the work of this major Canadian artist; A. Y. Jackson: A Centennial Celebration, which marked the centenary of one of Canada's best-known artists, and Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection, a very important exhibition which proved a great attraction. At the end of the year, Fantin-Latour, a brilliant exhibition of the work of this French artist, organized in conjunction with the Réunion des musées de France, emphasized the cultural links between Canada and France. An impressive series of photography exhibitions also attested to the wealth of the Gallery's photography collection. In publications, the level of production equalled that of the previous year.

A number of very exciting acquisitions of Canadian art were made during the year, both by purchase and by many generous gifts. Additions included works by Emily Carr, Lismer, Morrice, Borduas, Lyman, Ozias Leduc, O'Brien, Ron Martin, Liz Magor, Greg Curnoe, Michael Snow, Mark Prent, Paterson Ewen, and Guido Molinari. The European art collection was enriched with the acquisition of a still-life by Jan Davidsz de Heem, a painting by Emanuel de Witte (thanks to a government contribution under the Cultural Property Export and Import Act), a major work of the Dadaist period by the painter Picabia, a seventeenth-century Florentine cabinet, and one work each by present-day artists Richard Long and Giuseppe Penone. Drawings by François Boucher, Louis de Boulogne, and Guido Reni were added to the prints and drawings collection. Seventeen engravings by the Dutch artist M. C. Escher were generously donated by his son, George Escher, now living in Nova Scotia. A gift from Phyllis Lambert of 280 photographs by Walker Evans improved the already - noteworthy photography collection. On the whole, the National Gallery has once again provided evidence of its vitality through its varied and numerous activities. Anticipation of the new building, and the close co-operation between architects and staff in realizing this dream, have generated new energy throughout the National Gallery.

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