Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Exciting new show at Canada's National Gallery...

William Blair Bruce, Landscape with Poppies, 1887

...but first, Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons tours through Munich, Lausanne and Montpelier, before arriving in Ottawa, Fall 2020.

The exhibition features 119 paintings by 36 Canadian artists, dating from 1880 to 1930. The curator, Katerina Atanassova of the National Gallery, aims to introduce European gallery-goers to Canadian Impressionists. Many of these painters studied in France, but returned to Canada and brought an "Impressionist eye" to the landscape of their homeland.


Maurice Cullen, Moret, Winter, 1895

Emily Carr, Prudence Heward, Helen McNichol, Henrietta Mabel May, Sophie Pemberton and Mary Bell Eastlake are among the artists in the show. Says the curator of Kunsthalle Munich, Nerina Santorius, "I am impressed by the artistic production of so many women Impressionist painters. It is amazing to see how early the Canadian institutions – under William Brymner, for instance – opened their classes to women artists."

“Sophie Pemberton became the first woman to win the Prix Julian in 1899. Laura Muntz was accorded the prestigious position of studio head at the Acad√©mie Colarossi…. Helen McNicoll was elected a member of the Royal British Academy in 1913,” explains Atanassova. “These women were all trailblazers who defied Victorian conventions by choosing to pursue a professional career as artists.”

It could be said that the first Canadian Impressionist is Frances Jones, whose work, shown below, was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1883. Her painting was one of the first works depicting a Canadian subject to be shown at the Salon.


Frances Jones Bannerman, Le Jardin d'hiver (In the conservatory), 1883


Clarence Gagnon, Summer Breeze at Dinard, 1907

Other artists in the show include James W. Morrice, Maurice Cullen, Clarence Gagnon and Lawren Harris, many of whom travelled widely in Canada and abroad and depicted a range of landscapes.


Maurice Cullen, The Ice Harvest, c. 1913

You can read more about the show here.


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