National Gallery Sends Works by Vincent van Gogh and Rembrandt van Rijn to Alberta for Landscape Exhibition

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Rembrandt van Rijn, The Windmill (1641), etching on cream laid paper, 14.7 x 20.7 cm. NGC. Gift in memory of Margaret Wade Labarge from her collection, 2010

The Art Gallery of Alberta’s partnership with the National Gallery of Canada will fill Edmonton's spring with Dutch historical landscapes alongside well-known Canadian works on the same theme.

“We recently opened two exhibitions exploring the Canadian landscape through paintings,” explains Catherine Crowston, AGA Executive Director and Chief Curator. “So it’s nice to have this exhibition of European works on paper from the National Gallery open at the same time, for people to compare Canadian and European traditions side by side.”

The exhibition Dutch Landscapes from Rembrandt to Van Gogh, organized by the National Gallery, features over 60 works on paper, including a drawing by Vincent van Gogh: The Swamp (1881). Sketched from nature in the province of North Brabant very early in Van Gogh’s career, The Swamp demonstrates the artist’s passion for the landscape of his native country.

The exhibition also features landscapes by Jan van Goyen, Jacob van Ruisdael and Rembrandt: some of the greatest Dutch artists working in landscape painting and drawing from its emergence in the early 17th century, through Netherlands' Golden Age, and into the 19th century.

Most are familiar with Rembrandt’s more famous religious or portrait work, but Dutch Landscapes presents another side of the artist. His works on paper demonstrate just how seriously he took the medium, considering works on paper to be as important as painting.

“Rembrandt’s landscapes showcase the deep appreciation he had for nature,” says Christopher Etheridge, NGC Assistant Curator, Historical International Art. “The works are small, but Rembrandt takes them seriously, creating refined, yet powerful, compositions, often experimenting with his technique along the way.

“The prints in the exhibition were greatly admired across Europe, especially by fellow artists working at the time,” he adds.

This exhibition will be presented at the same time as two Canadian exhibitions exploring landscape. The first is A Story of Canadian Art: As told by the Hart House Art Collection, which features works by A.Y. Jackson, Emily Carr, David Milne and Lawren Harris. The paintings in the exhibition are on loan from Hart House at the University of Toronto.

The second exhibition, The Bequest: Ernest E. Poole and the AGA Collection, features a number of works from the 90 donated to the AGA in 1975 by the Ernest E. Poole Foundation—the most significant contribution ever made to the AGA’s collection of historical Canadian art. Works in this show include paintings by the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson.

“When we’re planning exhibitions with respect to the @NGC program, one of the things we like to take advantage of is the fact that the National Gallery has such a rich historical European collection,” says Crowston. “It’s a really nice way for Albertans to have a look at the European collection of the National Gallery.”

Dutch Landscapes from Rembrandt to Van Gogh runs until 16 June 2013.

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