May 16, 2018 - September 9, 2018
A landmark show has opened at the National Gallery of Canada: the first and only presentation in North America of paintings from the world-renowned Ordrupgaard collection.
In one compelling presentation, the luminous landscapes of Camille Corot, Claude Monet, Alfred Sisley, Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne, are displayed alongside the realist landscapes and hunting scenes of Gustave Courbet, the still-lifes of Édouard Manet and Henri Matisse, the intimate portraits of Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Paul Gauguin’s sensual paintings, as well as the unparalleled works from the Danish Golden Age, including those by C. W. Eckersberg and Christen Købke.
“This collection offers a spectacular panorama of the development of Impressionism, from the great Romantic colourist Eugène Delacroix, to the monumentality of Cézanne and the first glimmers of where Modern art would turn in the 20th century,” said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “In addition to bringing this exceptional collection to Canada, it is worth noting that many of the artists represented in the show can also be found in our collection. This includes works by Vilhelm Hammershøi, one of the most important Scandinavian painters active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.”
The exhibition brings together 76 key paintings from Denmark’s renowned collection assembled by Wilhelm and Henny Hansen in the early 20th century, who created what is regarded as one of Europe’s most notable and beautiful survey of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art.
Built between 1892 and 1931, the collection was kept in the family’s residence named Ordrupgaard, located in a suburb of Copenhagen. In 1918, motivated by a desire to promote French modern art, the influential Danish businessman and visionary opened the doors of his country house to the public one day a week. After his death, Hansen’s widow Henny bequeathed their home and the collection to the Danish state, which was then transformed into a museum in 1953.
The Canadian exhibition of the Ordrupgaard Collection is presented by the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with Ordrupgaard and organized by Associate Curator, Erika Dolphin.
Among the highlights of the exhibition are
The Chailly Road through the Forest Fontainebleau, a landscape by Claude Monet;
Basket of Pears, a still-life by Édouard Manet;
Portrait of a Young Woman. Vaïte (Jeanne) Goupil, by Paul Gauguin;
Women Bathing, by Paul Cézanne;
and View from Frederiksborg Castle, by landscape painter Peter Christian Thamsen Skovgaard.
The exhibition also features portraits by two of the best women Impressionist artists:
Women with a Fan. Portrait of Madame Marie Hubbard, by Berthe Morisot;
and The Convalescent. Portrait of a Woman in White, by Eva Gonzalès.
The 60 French paintings on view are organized chronologically, from the beginning of the 19th century to the very beginnings of the 20th century and grouped by artist. In some cases, as with Corot, Pissarro, Sisley and Gauguin, visitors will have the privilege of seeing six or more works from the same artist painted over the span of their careers.
This exhibition also brings to Canada a fine and rare selection of 16 paintings by leading Danish masters. This reflects how the collection was historically exhibited by the Hansens with French works in the purpose-built gallery attached to their home and the Danish works on the walls of their private quarters. The National Gallery’s own Hammershøi, Sunshine in the Drawing Room, will hang alongside these rarely seen works from Ordrupgaard.
The exhibition includes educational spaces designed to enrich the visitor experience. They present French and Danish art within an historical context and offer interactive activities focused around the colours used by the Impressionists.
The exhibition is accompanied by a 120-page hardcover bilingual catalogue written by National Gallery of Canada former Chief Curator Paul Lang. Complete with in-depth descriptions and full page illustrations, Impressionist Treasures surveys the great masters of Impressionism and Post-impressionism and the major trends of French painting that preceded them, such as the Barbizon School and Realism, through a collection regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe.
Also included: a portrait of George Sand by Eugène Delacroix: