Mary Pratt’s ‘Red Currant Jelly’: Vision Slowed Down

Talking Mary Pratt

Over the course of her extraordinary career, Mary Pratt used painting to explore the surface qualities of everyday objects. She captured with bold intensity the colour of light against the shapes and textures of things: fruit bowls, vases, fish heads, or jars of jelly cooling at a table after several days’ work. Her realist brush approached the daily rituals of life not as fleeting moments, but as the very fabric of a meaningful human existence.

Pratt’s relationship with the National Gallery of Canada was long-standing; her now iconic Red Currant Jelly (1972), acquired under the directorship of the late Jean Sutherland Boggs, became the subject of a solo exhibition on the artist here in 2015. The painting is now back on view, marking the passing of this great Canadian realist painter. In this video, National Gallery of Canada Curator Jonathan Shaughnessy and Mireille Eagan, Curator at The Rooms in St John’s, set the painting in the context of the artist’s work.


Mary Pratt's Red Currant Jelly makes its return in Gallery A113 of the Canadian and Indigenous Galleries of the National Gallery of Canada. To share this article, please click on the arrow at the top right hand of the page. Subscribe to our newsletters to stay up-to-date on the latest Gallery news, and to learn more about art in Canada.​