Note, access to the Gallery will be intermittently disrupted on March 23 and 24 due to road closures. Learn more
Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 - 1918
Immerse yourself in Canada a century ago and discover a new chapter of art history.
At the National Gallery of Canada
From November 8, 2013 to February 2, 2014
Beginning November 8, and until February 2, 2014, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) invites the public to immerse itself in Canada at the turn of the 20th century by walking through its ambitious exhibition Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 – 1918. Bringing together more than 320 objects, this fascinating exhibition explores the energetic productivity of art makers and designers during a prosperous time in Canadian history. Organized by the NGC, Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 – 1918 is sponsored by Heffel Fine Art Auction House. For more information, visit www.gallery.ca/aaa and watch the interview with NGC Curator of Canadian Art and exhibition co-curator Charles Hill.
“Artists, Architects and Artisans breaks new art historical ground,” explained NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer. “It’s not the final word on a period of immense creativity in Canada. It is, rather, a proposal for new ways to look at the history of the arts in our country, offering viewers and scholars numerous themes to be pursued and expanded in the future.”
The exhibition examines the architecture, urban plans, decorative painting, applied arts, graphic design and photography of Canada’s first boom period, when artistic quality reached a level previously unknown in the country’s short history.
Among the many artists featured are painters Ozias Leduc, George Reid, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Côté, Tom Thomson and Lawren Harris ; sculptors Louis-Philippe Hébert and Alfred Laliberté; photographers Sydney Carter and Harold Mortimer Lamb; and architects Edward et William Maxell, Percy Nobbs and Samuel Maclure.
1890 – 1918: a prosperous and prolific era in Canada
The decades following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1886 to the end of the First World War saw Canada grow from an awkward alliance of formerly independent colonies to an agricultural and industrial nation. Optimism and a new spirit of national pride marked the peak boom years, stimulated by the immense growth in population due to immigration. Urban growth demanded new buildings, which became shells for civic ambitions and new opportunities for art workers. From the furnishings and interiors of a house, to the design and decoration of a public building, to the planning of the streetscape and larger urban fabric, it was an age of reform. Artists, architects and artisans worked together in cooperative ventures, introducing painting into architecture, design and furniture.
One exhibition, one national portrait
Entering the first room of Artists, Architects and Artisans: Candian Art 1890 – 1918, visitors are greeted by Alfred Laliberté’s lively bronze sculpture Boy with Turkey (Air), 1915, brought from Montreal’s Marché Maisonneuve for the duration of the exhibition. This sculpture and Boy with Fish, 1915, which stands at the exit, have been generously loaned by the City of Montreal.
Walking through a dozen rooms in the exhibition, visitors will discover numerous objects – painted murals, detailed architectural drawings and plans, prints, photographs, sculptures, finely crafted jewellery, ceramics, metalwork, furniture, stained glass, and textiles – from across Canada, from Halifax and Charlottetown to the Île d’Orléans, Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Burnaby, Vancouver and Victoria.
About the curators
The National Gallery of Canada’s Curator of Canadian Art, Charles Hill, is the lead curator of Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890 – 1918. During the six years of exhibition planning, he was supported by the expertise of a curatorial team: NGC Associate Curator of Photographs Andrea Kunard, as well as curators and art historians Christine Boyanoski, Laurier Lacroix, Rosalind Pepall, Bruce Russell and Geoffrey Simmins.
Charles Hill has worked in the National Gallery of Canada’s curatorial department for Canadian art for more than 40 years. As Curator of Canadian Art, he is responsible for acquisitions, research and presentation of historic Canadian paintings, sculpture and decorative arts. Mr. Hill was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2000, received an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia University, Montreal, in 2007, and was given the Award of Distinguished Service by the Canadian Museums Association in 2012.
Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890-1918 is accompanied by a catalogue, containing over 400 illustrations, which shows how art makers and designers in various disciplines promoted an aesthetic that integrated art in all aspects of daily life. Published by the NGC, the 340-page volume features a foreword by the Gallery’s Director, as well as essays by Charles Hill, Andrea Kunard, Laurier Lacroix, Geoffrey Simmins, Rosalind Pepall, Christine Boyanoski and Bruce Russell. The catalogue is on sale at the NGC Bookstore for $45 and at www.ShopNGC.ca, the Gallery's online boutique.
Saturday 9 November from 1 pm to 5 pm. In the Auditorium. Ticket required:
$15 (adults), $12 (seniors and students), $10 (members). A panel of experts examines a period in Canadian Art in which interdisciplinary collaboration in the arts expressed a common vision through brick and stone, wood and metalwork, textiles, furnishings and painted decorations. Coffee and tea will be served during the break.
Meet the Curator
Saturday 18 January at 11 am. Free with Gallery admission. Visit the exhibition with curator Charles Hill.
Ticket required: $ 8 (adults), $7 (seniors and students), $6 (members).
Thursday 5 December at 6 pm. In the Auditorium. Rediscover Ottawa and its surroundings with urban planning specialist and historian David Gordon.
Thursday 12 December at 6 pm. In the Lecture Hall. Kathleen M. Fenwick Annual Memorial Lecture. Guest speaker: Rosalind Pepall.
Adult Art Tour
Friday 20 December at 1:30 pm. Ticket required: $7 + Gallery admission
Discover the exhibition Artists, Architects and Artisans: Canadian Art 1890-1918 and share your insight with others. One-hour guided tour in English. Groups can also schedule a visit upon request through the Group Reservations Office: 613-998-8888 or [email protected]
Weekends and statutory holidays. Daily 26-31 December and 2–5 January 2014. From 11 am to 4 pm. Free with Gallery Admission. Innovative activities allow families to view works in the exhibition and explore their own creativity in the Garden Court. Participants consider urban design and architecture while creating their own miniature environment.
NGCmagazine.ca, the National Gallery of Canada’s online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events at the National Gallery of Canada. Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine also includes interviews with artists. This month, read the article After the Last Spike: Artists, Architects, Artisans.
Connect with Artists, Architects and Artisans
The NGC regularly publishes information about the exhibition on its social media networks. To find out more, connect with:
Tickets: $12 (adults); $10 (seniors and full-time students); $6 (youth: 12-19); $24 (families: two adults and three youth). Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members. Includes admission to the NGC Collection.
The NGC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, including Remembrance Day, November 11. Open between December 26 and 31. Closed on December 25 and January 1. For more information call 613-990-1985 or 1-800-319-ARTS.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information: gallery.ca.
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National Gallery of Canada