Katerina Atanassova is speaking animatedly in her office overlooking the Ottawa River, surrounded by books on the history of Canadian art, and tracing lines on a floor plan. “One of the main reasons for initiating this project is to unite the collections — to integrate Indigenous art, Photographs and the Canadian collection.” She’s discussing the National Gallery of Canada’s ambitious transformation of the former Canadian Galleries in time for the country’s sesquicentennial celebrations this summer.
Bouquet of Flowers in a Faience Vase (c. 1625) by Jan Brueghel the Younger (1601–1678) has long been part of the national collection, and is well known to those familiar with the European galleries. Visitors will now also be able to enjoy Still Life of Flowers in a Stoneware Vase (c. 1610) by his father, Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568–1625), on loan to the Gallery.
Evoking comparisons with the work of artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer and other masters of light, Sunshine in the Drawing Room (1910) by Vilhelm Hammershøi (1864–1916) is a major new addition to the National Gallery of Canada collection. On view in the Modern European Galleries, this masterwork is the first Hammershøi in the national collection, and only the second in a Canadian public collection.
Kitty Scott is a curatorial advisor for the Biennale de Montréal 2016 Le Grand Balcon, on view until January at a number of locations throughout Montreal. In 2017, she will curate Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer’s work for the Canada pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In this interview, Scott talks about the evolving role of the curator in nurturing, presenting and collecting art for generations to come.
Announced almost one year ago, the CPI brings together three outstanding collections of photographs. The cornerstone is the NGC Photographs Collection, which was started in 1967 and now numbers more than 40,000 images. It includes many treasures of photographic history, from salted paper prints made in Britain and France by pioneering photographers William Henry Fox Talbot, Hippolyte Bayard and Charles Nègre, to masterpieces of 20th-century American photography, and contemporary works by photographers such as Edward Burtynsky, Lynne Cohen and Jeff Wall.
In a recently published e-book by National Gallery of Canada curator Christine Lalonde, Pitseolak Ashoona’s work is given the comprehensive treatment befitting one of Canada’s most celebrated artists. Published by the Art Canada Institute and available for free download, the beautifully designed Pitseolak Ashoona: Life and Work contains numerous illustrations of Pitseolak’s work from collections across Canada, as well as archival photographs and the work of other artists — including several celebrated members of Pitseolak’s own family.
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