Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection

This fall the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) will display a magnificent exhibition of avant-garde masterpieces from one of the world’s most prominent collections. The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection features nearly 70 works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation’s collection in New York, including paintings and sculptures. The exhibition will be on view at the AGO from Nov. 30, 2013, to March 2, 2014.

Focusing on the period from 1910 to 1918, The Great Upheaval: Modern Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection explores a time of tremendous creativity and artistic innovation, as artists grappled with themes of social fragmentation, technological development and the spectacle of the changing city.

Across Europe, as borders were re-drawn and mounting political tensions signalled the First World War, artists pushed ever closer towards abstraction. From Munich to Paris, in Moscow and Milan, many experimented with new forms of art and artistic collaboration, giving rise to a host of radical new styles.

Exhibited chronologically and including a number of works by critical precursors who laid the groundwork for the avant-garde movements—including Pablo Picasso, Paul Cezanne and Paul Gauguin—the exhibition includes:

Picasso’s Le Moulin de la Galette from 1900, an image of social change that fueled the avant-garde imagination;
the vivid colours and spontaneity of

Vasily Kandinsky’s Blue Mountain, 1908-09;

the daring Expressionistic style of

Piet Mondrian’s Summer, Dune in Zeeland, ca. 1910;

Franz Marc’s Yellow Cow from 1911—a mascot for the philosopher-painters of the transnational Blue Rider group;

Henri Matisse’s severely radical portrait

The Italian Woman, 1916;

the tonal contrast of

Amedeo Modigliani’s Nude from 1917;

and Kurt Schwitters’ meditation on war,

Mountain Graveyard, 1919.

With works drawn from the Guggenheim Foundation’s collection in New York, the exhibition provides a glimpse into the Foundation’s own origins as a museum. Influenced by the young German artist Hilla Rebay, in 1927 Solomon R. Guggenheim began what was to become a life-long passion for European modernism, acquiring art directly from such artists as Robert Delaunay, Albert Gleizes and Kandinsky.

The exhibition is curated by the Guggenheim Museum’s Tracey Bashkoff, Senior Curator, Collections and Exhibitions, and Megan Fontanella, Associate Curator, Collections and Provenance, and was originally presented by the Guggenheim in New York from February to June 2011.