top 10

Top 10 articles of 2021

Looking back, we reflect upon the features that resonated most with our readers this year. What art, artists and activities at the National Gallery of Canada caught your attention?

One of the positive aspects of online publishing is the extensive back catalogue that stays available to the reader. Some articles, such as Marie-Antoinette and her Children: An Icon of French Painting published back in 2016, reappear regularly in the list of most-popular articles. For this selection, however, we focused solely on those published within the last twelve months, including the articles that were most read, shared or commented on across both language sites. You will find interesting topics, including women artists in the first half of the 20th century, the Montreal Canadiens, and discussions of works by Alex Janvier, Frank Bowling and Kazuo Nakamura. Rembrandt van Rijn of course features prominently, represented by two perspectives on the Gallery’s Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition exhibition and recent research on a portrait of the artist.

 A new article is always a jumping-off point that can guide you down myriad different avenues. Whether you want to pursue an artist in greater depth, explore a theme and the way artists have represented it, or focus on a medium and how it is used, the 2021 list is a good place to start. Settle back, enjoy the read and share with others.

Florence Wyle as a young sculptor in Chicago (Photographer unknown). Photograph

TRAILBLAZING: SIX WOMEN ARTISTS FROM 1900–1950

A look at six women artists who were seminal key figures on the Canadian art scene during the first half of the 20th century.

 

Follower of Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Rembrandt, c.1640–49. Oil on canvas

THE EMERGENCE OF A FRAUD: A PORTRAIT OF REMBRANDT

Investigating the first painting the National Gallery of Canada bought as a Rembrandt brings new conclusions.

 

Frank Bowling, Middle Passage, 1970, paint and silkscreen ink on canvas

FRANK BOWLING: IN THE GLOW OF LIGHT AND COLOUR

Frank Bowling’s painting "Middle Passage" is the latest monumental addition to one of the National Gallery of Canada’s most iconic spaces.

 

Alex Colville, January and December from A Book of Hours: Labours of the Months, 1979. Photolithograph on wove paper

ALEX COLVILLE’S “LABOURS OF THE MONTHS” FOR A NEW YEAR

In 1979 Colville created a print portfolio version of twelve small works he had painted on the medieval tradition of the “Labours of the Months,” reflections of moments in each month.

 

Rembrandt van Rijn, Heroine from the Old Testament, 1632-33

REMBRANDT AND AMSTERDAM: LIVING AND WORKING IN A GLOBAL TRADE CITY

The Gallery’s Rembrandt exhibition explores the transformative decades of the artist’s career in the commercial capital of the Dutch Republic, a nascent democracy funded by colonialism and trade.

 

Jake Thomas, Two-Row Wampum belt (reproduction), 1993. Plastic imitation shell and sinew

READING REMBRANDT: AN INDIGENOUS LENS

For its showing in Ottawa, the Gallery has added two different voices that trace connections and explore the impact on Indigenous and Black peoples of the Dutch Republic’s colonial projects in the 17th century.

 

Turofsky, The Old and the Young Make Up New Line for Montreal Canadiens. From left, 38-year-old Rocket Richard; his brother Henri, 23, and Rookie Cec Hoekstra. 24, 1960, gelatin silver print

THE MONTREAL CANADIENS: IMAGES OF A TEAM

The Montreal Canadiens have become one of the most successful ice hockey teams of all time, their long and rich history captured in news images for the illustrated press.

 

Alex Janvier Indian Residential ‑ The way of the Cross ‑ English vs. French, 2014, watercolour on paper

ALEX JANVIER: RISING ABOVE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

Alex Janvier’s “Indian Residential – Way of the Cross – English vs. French” speaks to his experiences attending a Residential School, marking the loss of time with his parents, his language and his community.

 

Sobey Art Award 2021 logo and images of five finalists

SOBEY ART AWARD 2021: THE FIVE FINALISTS

The Sobey Art Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada announce the five finalists for the 2021 Sobey Art Award.

 

Kazuo Nakamura, August, Morning Reflections, 1961. Oil on canvas

KAZUO NAKAMURA AND PATTERNS IN LANDSCAPE

Kazuo Nakamura transposes landscapes into atmospheric scenes composed of geometric lines and patterns.

 

 

CAPTIONS: Florence Wyle as a young sculptor in Chicago (Photographer unknown). Frances Gage fonds, Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Imitator of Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of Rembrandt, early 19th century(?). Oil on canvas, 94.4 x 74.3 cm . Purchased 1939 . National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Frank Bowling, Middle Passage, 1970. Acrylic paint and oil-based ink on canvas, 319.9 x 280.3 cm. Promised gift of Michael Nesbitt, Winnipeg. © Frank Bowling / SOCAN (2021); Alex Colville, January and December from A Book of Hours: Labours of the Months, 1979. Photolithograph on wove paper, each 33 x 28 cm. Gift of Mira Godard, 2000. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. © A.C. Fine Art;  Rembrandt van Rijn, Heroine from the Old Testament, 1632–33. Oil on canvas, 109.2 x 94.4 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Jake Thomas, Two-Row Wampum belt (reproduction), 1993. Plastic imitation shell and sinew. Collection of the Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, ON; Turofsky, The Old and the Young Make Up New Line for Montreal Canadiens. From left, 38-year-old Rocket Richard; his brother Henri, 23, and Rookie Cec Hoekstra. 24, 1960. Gelatin silver print. © Imperial Oil-Turofsky/Hockey Hall of Fame; Alex Janvier,  Indian Residential ‑ The way of the Cross ‑ English vs. French, 2014. Watercolour on paper, 76.3 x 57.8 cm. Purchased 2018. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. © Alex Janvier; Sobey Art Award 2021 logo and images of five finalists; Kazuo Nakamura, August, Morning Reflections, 1961. Oil on canvas, 93.7 x 121.5 cm. Purchased 1961. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. All images Photo: NGC, unless otherwise specified.

 

Discover all articles at National Gallery of Canada/magazine; please note that we were unable to include articles published in December to this list. Share this article and subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest articles, Gallery exhibitions, news and events, and to learn more about art in Canada.​

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