A rare David Milne painting acquired by the National Gallery of Canada with the help of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Canadian Art Fund
Ottawa - February 21, 2007
A rare work of art by Canadian artist, David Milne (1882-1953), has been added to the National Gallery of Canada's collection, with the support of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Canadian Art Fund. The National Gallery and its Foundation are pleased to invite the public to see Milne's masterly work, Alcove (1914), presently on view in the Canadian art galleries of the National Gallery of Canada.
Established in 2002, the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Canadian Art Fund provides additional funds to the National Gallery for acquisitions of Canadian art. Andrea (1945-2006) and Charles Bronfman are well-known Montreal philanthropists, who have always demonstrated a passion and deep love for the arts. Indeed, their support to artistic institutions across the country is legendary. The Gallery was able to acquire a first painting with the help of the Bronfman Fund, In the Orchard (Spring) (1892), by William Brymner, in 2002.
"David Milne is without a doubt one of the most important artists Canada has produced. What better than to purchase a work depicting where much of his day was spent -- the interior view of a studio!", said Charles Bronfman.
"We are extremely grateful to the Bronfman family for their loyalty to the National Gallery and its Foundation. The Andrea and Charles Bronfman Canadian Art Fund enhances the Gallery's ability to purchase exceptional works of Canadian art, such as Milne's Alcove", declared Marie Claire Morin, President and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.
"The National Gallery is privileged to have been able to acquire one of David Milne's most important canvases from his New York years. The simplicity and directness of the subject and composition are enhanced by the subtlety of design and colouring. This painting marks a major advance in Milne's work and is a landmark of early twentieth-century modernist Canadian painting", said Charles Hill, Curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery.
David Milne was born in Bruce County, Ontario, and moved to the United States in 1903 to study at the Art Students' League of New York. An exceptionally gifted and brilliant painter, he was the leading Canadian modern artist in the early years of the twentieth century. Differing from his Canadian contemporaries, Milne's roots lay in the work of Cézanne and Matisse. His formal approach, devoid of anecdote or ideology, would determine the growth of his painting during a career that spanned over forty years.
Alcove is not signed, which suggests it was never exhibited during Milne's lifetime. It was catalogued by Douglas Duncan and returned to the artist's estate after his death. The painting was first published and exhibited by John O'Brian in 1981. The most striking quality of the painting is the broad open space and simplicity of composition and subject. This is a superb and unique work in Milne's oeuvre and an outstanding complement to the small group of paintings from his New York years held by the National Gallery.
Alcove is currently on view in the Canadian art gallery A-107.
National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery and its affiliate, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography in fulfilling their mandates. By fostering strong partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada's visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy enables the National Gallery of Canada to preserve and interpret Canada's visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments.
National Gallery of Canada Foundation
Chief, Corporate Giving and Sponsorship