FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Beaverbrook Art Gallery Welcomes Masterworks by James Wilson Morrice

Beaverbrook Art GalleryApril 10, 20180 Comments

Fredericton, New Brunswick, April 10, 2018 – This spring, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery presents a magnificent collection of paintings by renowned Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice. The exhibition, James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, features works of art by this Canadian master that were donated to the Gallery by philanthropist A.K. Prakash, a passionate art collector and student of the artist and his work.

The public is cordially invited to attend the official opening reception for this exhibition on Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 4:00 PM.

“It is a great pleasure to host this outstanding exhibition at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery,” said Tom Smart, Director/CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. “As one of the foremost Canadian artists of the twentieth century, Morrice’s influence on Canadian modernism is undeniable; he was a visionary whose work inspired many who followed. I invite everyone to come and explore the world through the eyes of this ground-breaking and globetrotting Canadian master.”

Mr. Prakash spent four decades building up his significant collection of Morrice paintings, before donating it to the National Gallery of Canada in 2015. The exhibition presents 47 works from this collection, comprising oil paintings and watercolours.

“The National Gallery is honoured to showcase the A.K. Prakash Collection of works by James Wilson Morrice, a key figure in Canadian art, at the Beaverbrook,” said National Gallery of Canada Director and CEO, Marc Mayer. “Morrice has a longstanding connection with the Beaverbrook, as it was Lord Beaverbrook himself who engaged Morrice to paint a mural for the Canadian War Memorials Fund in 1917. A number of paintings related to this commission are represented in this remarkable collection built by the discerning eye of Mr. A.K. Prakash, which we are sure will please Maritimers as much as it did in Ottawa.”

“Morrice instilled his paintings with what could be called a somewhat nostalgic vision. They seize the experience of living by the introduction of a modern spirit that makes them independent of time and place,” said Senior Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada, Katerina Atanassova, who curated the exhibition. “Morrice had the unique ability to acknowledge his experience of life and, through his paintings, to distill a moment into that which is eternal and does not change. This exhibition follows the artist in his preferred painting locations – from the streets of Paris, to the coasts of Brittany and Normandy, to scenes from the South of France, Venice, North Africa, the Caribbean, and Canada – bringing to life the stories around Morrice’s rise to fame as one of Canada’s foremost modernist painters.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s extensive permanent collection holdings also include many examples by Morrice. Visitors will find a selection of the Beaverbrook’s collection on exhibition in the Canadian Art gallery, a long-term exhibition of some of its most significant works. “With these works on view, and with connections to Lord Beaverbrook, Maurice Cullen, Walter Sickert, Clarence Gagnon, and other artists who were Morrice’s contemporaries, this exhibition is sure to feel right at home in Fredericton,” adds Smart.

The touring exhibition James Wilson Morrice: The A.K. Prakash Collection in Trust to the Nation is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, and is presented with the exceptional support of The A.K. Prakash Foundation, The Donald Sobey Family Foundation, and the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery’s presentation of the exhibition is further supported by the Harriet Irving Endowment.

The exhibition will be on view at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery from April 12, 2018 to July 2, 2018.

Morrice’s travels

Pioneering a fresh and vibrant use of colour, Morrice is known for his delicate handling of paint on small-scale wooden panels, also known as “pochades¬.” Montreal-born Morrice moved to Paris in 1890, where he chose to settle for the rest of his life. From there, he travelled across France (including Brittany and Normandy), to Italy (most frequently Venice), to North Africa (visiting Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), and finally to the Caribbean near the end of his life. In his paintings from these destinations, Morrice depicted, as if on a theatrical stage, the ever-changing drama of modern life as it unfolded in the markets, cafés and parks. Morrice frequently journeyed home during the holiday season, where he painted memorable winter scenes of Montreal, Quebec City and the Côte-de-Beaupré region. Morrice also journeyed to the front as a Canadian War Artist in February 1918, when he was commissioned by the Canadian War Memorials Fund to record the advancement of the Canadian troops in preparation for a large mural painting, now in the collection of the Canadian War Museum. Morrice exhibited in Canada and internationally during his lifetime and was one of four artists featured in the inaugural exhibition of the Canada Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1958.

The collector

The gift of the A.K. Prakash Collection of works by James Wilson Morrice exemplifies the complex relationship between a collector and an artist. “My relationship with Morrice and his work is that of a lover and a beloved,” said Mr. Prakash. “It has never been didactic, or scientific or analytical. It has been a magnificent obsession that I have pursued with reckless abandon.”

Indeed, the story of Ash K. Prakash’s collecting reflects his own journey of introspection and his commitment to Canada’s foremost modernist painter. “Each work in the A.K. Prakash Collection reveals a self-assured forerunner,” said Katerina Atanassova, “who epitomized the new axiom in painting through compression rather than elaboration, which was then at the heart of modern art. Instead of adopting one set of artistic principles, Morrice’s art evolved into a personal aesthetic informed by varied influences and experiences. His artistic growth directed his path towards becoming a modernist urban painter, making his art strikingly innovative in both Canadian and international settings.”

About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and international works of art. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.” Information about the Gallery and its activities can be found at beaverbrookartgallery.org. Follow the Beaverbrook Art Gallery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.

About the National Gallery of Canada
  
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada’s premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st centuries, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @NatGalleryCan.

 

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada

About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation

The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada’s visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada’s visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit ngcfoundation.ca and follow us on Twitter @NGC_Foundation.


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Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communications
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3B 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039
Email: communications@beaverbrookartgallery.org   
www.beaverbrookartgallery.org

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