December 16, 2018

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Upcoming WAG exhibits sure to impress

Showcase of French masters to open in June

BROOKLYN MUSEUM</p><p>Still Life with Blue Cup, by Pierre-August Renoir from 1900, one of the roughly 100 pieces of Impressionist-era art that will be on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery starting in June.</p>

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Still Life with Blue Cup, by Pierre-August Renoir from 1900, one of the roughly 100 pieces of Impressionist-era art that will be on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery starting in June.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/2/2018 (309 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Imagine sitting on the banks of a river on the seashore in France, watching a boat pass by, or just viewing the trees, flowers and other lush vegetation.

It’s quite an impression. It certainly was for some of France’s greatest artists during the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is also the kind of impression the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hoping visitors will get in June when it hosts two exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and drawings from some of the greatest Impressionists of that era.

Works by famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Berthe Morisot will be part of the two exhibitions.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/2/2018 (309 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Imagine sitting on the banks of a river on the seashore in France, watching a boat pass by, or just viewing the trees, flowers and other lush vegetation.

It’s quite an impression. It certainly was for some of France’s greatest artists during the 19th and 20th centuries.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM</p><p>Claude Monet’s Rising Tide at Pourville (Marée montante à Pourville), 1882. Part of French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850-1950, coming to the Winnipeg Art Gallery in June.</p></p>

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Claude Monet’s Rising Tide at Pourville (Marée montante à Pourville), 1882. Part of French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850-1950, coming to the Winnipeg Art Gallery in June.

It is also the kind of impression the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hoping visitors will get in June when it hosts two exhibitions of paintings, sculptures and drawings from some of the greatest Impressionists of that era.

Works by famous artists such as Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Édouard Manet, Mary Cassatt, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Berthe Morisot will be part of the two exhibitions.

The last time the gallery had works from such a wide variety of artistic legends under the same roof was during the record-setting 100 Masters exhibition the WAG held during its centennial year in 2012. The upcoming exhibitions will certainly provide a fond reminder of that show, gallery president and CEO Stephen Borys says.

"In the end, there will be 100 works. Mind you, they span one century instead of five, but an amazing century of art production," Borys says.

The first exhibition, French Moderns: from Monet to Matisse, 1850 to 1950, will include more than 60 pieces — a mixture of works from before, during and after the Impressionist period of the 1870s and 1880s — on loan from the Brooklyn Museum, as well as works from the WAG’s collection.

"What is special of this show, given the breadth and depth of the Brooklyn Museum collection, they were able to hand-pick 60 artworks that tell the story of French modernism," he says.

The second exhibition, titled The Impressionists on Paper, is more than 20 watercolours, pastels, drawings and prints on loan from Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, which will follow three decades of works from the 1870s, when Impressionist painters first made their mark on the Paris art scene.

BROOKLYN MUSEUM</p><p>Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Vineyards at Cagnes from 1908, part of French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850-1950, coming to the Winnipeg Art Gallery in June. </p>

BROOKLYN MUSEUM

Pierre-Auguste Renoir's The Vineyards at Cagnes from 1908, part of French Moderns: Monet to Matisse 1850-1950, coming to the Winnipeg Art Gallery in June.

What separated Impressionist artists from the 19th-century mainstream was that they took their easels, brushes and tubes of paint to the outdoors, Borys says. The mixture of natural light and the artists’ use of bright colours and new brush techniques was completely different from paintings made in studios using lanterns and candles for lighting.

"They were called radicals, revolutionaries, scandalous rebels. It’s hard for us to imagine 145 years later what is possibly scandalous or radical about these Impressionist landscapes or portraits," says Borys, who will curate the Impressionists on Paper exhibition.

Borys’s career in art — he was a former curator at the National Gallery before becoming the head of the WAG — plus his negotiations with his former employers to bring exhibitions of works from Ottawa to Winnipeg, are two big reasons why the second Impressionists exhibition is making a home on Memorial Boulevard this summer. Impressionists on Paper will be the fifth NGC@WAG collaboration, which in the past included rare works by Paul Gauguin and Pablo Picasso.

"Many of these works are rarely exhibited because of their light sensitivity," Borys says. "For instance, there’s a two-sided drawing and watercolour by Paul Cézanne, which is just amazing, and some charcoal sketches by Renoir, really beautiful."

The two exhibitions mark the first major display of French Impressionist art at the WAG.

"We want to share with our audiences the best Indigenous art, the best photography, the best contemporary art, new media... I also want to share the best Impressionist art with our audiences," Borys says. "I think Winnipeggers deserve to see world-class art all the time, from every culture and every period."

The dual exhibitions will be open to the public from June 16 to Sept. 9. An early-bird discount on tickets will be available for a limited time online at impress.wag.ca.

alan.small@freepress.mb.caTwitter:@AlanDSmall

Alan Small

Alan Small
Arts and Life Editor

Alan Small was named the editor of the Free Press Arts and Life section in January 2013 after almost 15 years at the paper in a variety of editing roles.

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