National Gallery of Canada presents Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons
The first exhibition of its kind highlighting the untold story of the spread of Impressionism and the role of Canadian Impressionists in the development of modern art in Canada
On view until July 3, 2022
The exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons just opened to the public and is on view at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) until July 3, 2022. This groundbreaking exhibition highlights the contribution of Canadian artists to the worldwide phenomenon of Impressionism. Featuring 108 paintings from private and public collections from across Canada and abroad, the exhibition organized by the NGC introduces visitors to the paintings of 36 Canadians, men and women, from coast to coast to coast, created between the 1880s and the late 1920s abroad or at home.
Curated by the National Gallery of Canada’s Senior Curator of Canadian Art, Katerina Atanassova, the exhibition received critical acclaimed in Munich, Germany; Lausanne, Switzerland; and Montpellier, France where it was first presented in 2019 in an adapted version for a European audience unaware of the contribution of Canadian artists to the Impressionist movement.
The exhibition presented in Ottawa is organized around seven major themes while following a chronological progression. The narrative traces some of the earliest paintings produced by Canadian artists in and around Paris or Barbizon en plein-air and then follows them on their trips to major painting sites traditionally associated with French Impressionism. Locations such as Giverny, Moret-sur-Loing, Grez-sur-Loing and scenes along the river Seine speak of artistic experiences in the French countryside, eventually taking the Canadians to the water’s edge in Brittany and Normandy. Visitors will then follow in the footsteps of the Canadian Impressionists beyond France, to sites in Italy, Spain, and the Mediterranean region, as far as the coast of North Africa, and to the Caribbean. “For those Canadian painters, who fully embraced the tenets of Impressionism, the challenge came not from foreign sites but upon their return home—when the knowledge and experiences gained during their travels and studies abroad were put to the test through adapting and transforming the impressionistic approach to painting to the new reality, “explained Katerina Atanassova.
From gallery to gallery, visitors will explore the various themes through paintings celebrating everyday life, whether in the metropolitan city of Paris, or at the popular seaside resorts along the coasts, or in studies of women and children at work or leisure. The final section of the exhibition looks at the contributions of Canadian Impressionists upon their return home, as they adapt to and embrace modernism at home. Along with the late Impressionists, visitors will notice the inclusion of paintings by members of the two best-known groups of Canadian modern painters—the Beaver Hall Group, in Montreal, and the Group of Seven, in Toronto. The exhibition also gives nods to certain individual interests towards other modernist approaches to painting such Post-Impressionism, Fauvism and Art Nouveau, who further enlightened the development of the arts in Canada during this period.
The exhibition features paintings by nine women artists, Mary Bell (1864–1951), Florence Carlyle (1864–1923), Emily Carr (1871–1945), Prudence Heward (1896–1947), H. Mabel May (1877–1971), Helen McNicoll (1879–1915), Kathleen M. Morris (1893–1986), Laura Muntz (1860–1930), and Sophie Pemberton (1869–1959), alongside their male counterparts, Henri Beau (1863–1949), Franklin P. Brownell (1857–1946), William B. Bruce (1859–1906), William H. Clapp (1879–1954), Maurice Cullen (1866–1934), Clarence Gagnon (1881–1942), Lawren S. Harris (1885–1970), Ernest Lawson (1873–1939), James W. Morrice (1865–1924), Paul Peel (1860–1892), Robert Pilot (1898–1967), Arthur Rozaire (1879–1922) and Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Côté (1869–1937) whose works are featured in the exhibition.
‘We are delighted to present the art of Canadian Impressionists to North American audiences. We are grateful to the public and private collections from across Canada and beyond who have shared their works, some of which have rarely been exhibited before. The exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons shows how these painters made Impressionism their own. It also brings to light the work of nine remarkable women artists, who celebrated modernity through their art.’—Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO, National Gallery of Canada
‘As we celebrate the exhibition’s long anticipated homecoming after a successful European tour, the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, with our community of dedicated philanthropists, is proud to support Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons as a stellar example of the innovative partnerships which empower the Gallery’s mission to bring Canadian art to the world stage. The Foundation is profoundly grateful to Exhibition Patron the A. K. Prakash Foundation for their leadership and exceptional generosity, and to the Lassonde Family Foundation, the Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation, Power Corporation of Canada and the Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation for their championship of Canadian art and artists at home and abroad.’—Ann Bowman, Chair, National Gallery of Canada Foundation
‘The story of the spread of Impressionism in Canada is no longer a missing chapter in the history of world Impressionism. Until very recently, the contribution of Canadian Impressionists was barely known both in Canada and abroad. The first of its kind, this exhibition examines their contributions in a broader context of this international art movement. Our hope is that after seeing it, Canadians will come away with a greater sense of pride and joy in recognizing the achievements of these exceptionally talented painters. “ —Katerina Atanassova, curator of the exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons, and Senior Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada, who also conceptualized the scholarly publication that accompanies the exhibition.
The exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons, and the richly illustrated scholarly publication that accompanies it, were made possible thanks to the support of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, the A. K. Prakash Foundation as the exhibition’s patron, as well as with contributions from the Power Corporation of Canada, the Pierre Lassonde Family Foundation, The Donald R. Sobey Family Foundation, and the Department of Canadian Heritage.
The Gallery also gratefully acknowledges the additional support of the following: Heffel Fine Art Auction House; Masters Gallery Ltd; Dr. Kanta Marwah; Michael J. Tims, C. M. and Renae N. Tims; ; Karen Colby-Stothart; Thomas and Susan d’Aquino; George and Doone Estey; Jim Fleck; Félix Furst; Rosamond Ivey; Galerie Eric Klinkhoff; Tracey Novak and Scott MacDonald; Don and Sheila Pether; Fred and Beverly Schaeffer; Anne Stanfield; Arni Thorsteinson and Susan Glass; RBC; the Canadian Embassy in Berlin; and the Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. Special thanks to the many public and private lenders to the exhibition.
The exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons is accompanied by a richly illustrated scholarly publication of the same title. Edited by Katerina Atanassova and Rosemary Shipton, the 296-page catalogue includes contributions and texts by leading Canadian and international scholars that situate Canadian artists in the global context of Impressionism. Also available in French and German. On sale for $40 + taxes at the National Gallery of Canada’s gift shop and online at ShopNGC.ca.
The paintings in the exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons have been generously loaned from the following collections:
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Art Gallery of Alberta
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Art Gallery of Hamilton
Art Gallery of Ontario
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Musee national des beaux-arts du Québec
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Woodstock Art Gallery
As well as a number of Private Collections
To deepen and enrich the experience of visitors to the exhibition, the Museum offers a series of activities:
Audio Tour—Using their mobile devices, visitors to the exhibition will be able to stream a free self-guided audio tour that will provide additional context for select artworks.
Virtual Lecture—Women and Impressionism in Canada: On the trail of modernity— On Thursday, March 17, 2022, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. EST, exhibition curator Katerina Atanassova will speak with Professor Anna Hudson from York University about how Canadian Impressionists reinvented the traditional portrayal of the female model. On Zoom. In English, with simultaneous interpretation in French.
Let’s Talk Art—Interpreters will be available in the exhibition on Thursday evenings, weekends and holidays to answer visitors” questions.
Self-guided Tour—Families will be able to explore the exhibition with the help of a specially designed leaflet.
Creative Thursdays— A landscape artist will demonstrate impressionist techniques which participants can then put into practice. Date to be announced.
Admissions for the exhibition Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons are time-ticketed to allow the Gallery to manage the limited capacity of the exhibition spaces. Tickets can be purchased in advance, online, at gallery.ca.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to a rich contemporary international Indigenous art collection, as well as important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian and European Art from the 14th to 21st centuries. Founded in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for more than a century. Through the visual arts, the Gallery nurtures interconnection across time and place, and creates dynamic experiences that open hearts and minds and allow for new ways of seeing ourselves, each other, and our diverse histories. To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities visit gallery.ca and follow on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. #CANIMPRESS #Ankose #EverythingIsConnected #AmplifyVoices.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic 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 empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation.
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