Nearly 100 years after the First World War began, the artistic frenzy that swept Europe in the years leading up to the conflict comes alive at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918. Featuring over 60 works by 36 artists including Kandinsky, Picasso, Modigliani and Chagall, the exhibition explores several years of unprecedented social, political and technological change through painting and sculpture. Organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, New York, and supported by Lead Sponsor BMO Financial Group, the exhibition makes its only Canadian stop at the AGO from Nov. 30, 2013, to March 2, 2014.
“The artists of the ‘Great Upheaval’ were game-changers who created new forms of artistic expression in the face of turmoil and rapid innovation,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “This prominent collection from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation presents a rare opportunity for our visitors to immerse themselves in a time of bold experimentation and to experience the works of the century’s greatest artists.”
Curated by the Guggenheim’s Tracey Bashkoff, senior curator of collections and exhibitions, and Megan Fontanella, associate curator of collections and provenance, The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918 features works by Umberto Boccioni, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Kazimir Malevich, Franz Marc and others. The diversity of works and the various artistic movements that defined this era — including Futurism, Cubism and Expressionism — illustrate nearly a decade of intense experimentation, exchange and networking.
Highlights of the exhibition include:
- Picasso’s Accordionist from 1911, a startling Cubist masterpiece;
- the vivid colours and spontaneity of Vasily Kandinsky’s Blue Mountain, 1908-09;
- the daring simplicity of Piet Mondrian’s Summer, Dune in Zeeland, ca. 1910;
- Franz Marc’s Yellow Cow from 1911 — an optimistic mascot for the philosopher-painters of the transnational Blue Rider group: "Franz Marc, Yellow Cow; (Gelbe Kuh;), 1911. Oil on canvas, 55 3/8 x 74 1/2 inches (140.5 x 189.2 cm). Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection."
- Henri Matisse’s severe portrait The Italian Woman, 1916;
- The explicit voluptuousness of Amedeo Modigliani’s Nude from 1917; and
- Kurt Schwitters’ meditation on war, Mountain Graveyard, 1919.
More images from the exhibition:
Robert Delaunay, Red Eiffel Tower (La tour rouge), 1911–12. Oil on canvas, 125 x 90.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 46.1036. Robert Delaunay © L&M Services B.V. Amsterdam
Paul Cézanne, Still Life: Plate of Peaches, 1879-80. Oil on canvas, 59.7 x 73.3 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Thannhauser Collection, Gift, Justin K. Thannhauser 78.2514.4
Gino Severini, Red Cross Train Passing a Village(Train de la Croix Rouge traversant un village), summer 1915 Oil on canvas, 88.9 x 116.2 cm Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Founding Collection 44.944 © 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris