By Myriah Saulnier

If you enjoy gazing upon stunning masterpieces in magnificent surroundings, a visit to the National Gallery of Canada is just for you. This national museum is housed in a glass and granite building overlooking the impressive Canadian Parliament buildings. Boasting a collection of almost 40,000 works of art dating from the Middle Ages to the present, it is known for showcasing international collections of the very highest caliber—and 2015 is no different. Here are some of the wonders that will grace the galleries walls this year…

Alex Colville
Until September 7
Special Exhibitions Galleries

new alex colnville

Alex Colville, To Prince Edward Island, 1965. Acrylic emulsion on masonite, 61.9 x 92.5 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.

With more than 250 paintings, sketches, prints and drawings--including 17 works from the National Gallery’s collection and more than 100 preparatory drawings from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives--the exhibition brings into focus Colville’s aesthetics, born out of the residual scars of his experience in war. Charting a course through five main sections that explore the complete career of this Maritime painter, the exhibition begins on the front lines of the Second World War and moves though the artist’s life and times.

Geoffrey Farmer: Leaves of Grass
Until September
Contemporary Art Galleries

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Geoffrey Farmer, Leaves of Grass, 2012. Cut-out images from Life magazines (1935–85), archival glue, miscanthus grass, floral foam and wooden table, installation dimensions variable. Installation view, National Gallery of Canada, 2014-2015. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Courtesy of the artist, Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver and Casey Kaplan, New York. Photo © NGC.

This monumental installation by Canadian artist Geoffrey Farmer traces five decades of social history, from 1935 to 1985, through some 22,000 photographs cut out from Life magazine. It is a three dimensional and sculptural collage work that spans the length of the gallery (almost 20 metres). The photos are affixed individually to thin wooden posts in order to properly display every image chosen by the artist. Farmer went so far as to place the figures in chronological order, which makes the display a sort of history lesson. He has described it as a “slow-motion flipbook”.

Chagall’s Daphnis & Chloé
From May 28 to September 13
Prints, Drawings and Photographs Galleries


Marc Chagall, Lamon's and Dryas' Dream, c. 1956‑1961, printed 1961. Colour lithograph on wove paper, 41.8 x 31.9 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Gift of Félix Quinet, Ottawa, 1986, in memory of Joseph and Marguerite Liverant. Photo © NGC. © Sodrac 2015 and ADAGP 2015, Chagall®.

This exhibition presents the entire series of 42 lithographs titled Daphnis & Chloé, as well as a title page embellished with a drawing by the artist Marc Chagall. The artist formulated his own modern, symbolic system that seems to encourage playfulness and daydreaming, by presenting his artwork with an unearthly, coloured vision of the world. These vibes are portrayed through fanciful compositions and bright hues where Chagall illustrates the completely different personalities of Daphnis and Chloé, as recounted in a second-century Greek tale. This set of lithographs is considered Chagall’s most important graphic work.

Luminous and True: The Photographs of Frederick H Evans
From May 28 to September 13
Prints, Drawings and Photographs Galleries

frederick evans

Frederick H. Evans, Durham Cathedral from the Wear, c. 1896‑1910. Platinum print, 18.9 × 23.9 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.

Through his work, it can be seen that the late British artist Frederick Evans sought a spiritual harmony between scientific and artistic expression through his picture-taking. His delicate but intense platinum and photogravure prints represent a philosophical flair—not surprising, as he was a man of deep intellectual inquisitiveness. As seen in his art, Evans honed his powers of observation, capturing with increasing consistency cathedral interiors and facades, forests and landscapes. He also had a gift of detail, creating prints that would lead the eye to focus on the complex fine points of vegetation one moment and marvel at the seemingly infinite lines of architecture the next.

Mary Pratt: This Little Painting
Until January 4, 2016

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Mary Pratt, Red Currant Jelly, 1972. Oil on masonite, 45.9 × 45.6 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © NGC.

This display features a selection of Pratt’s key early and more recent paintings, study materials and prints, in addition to the highlight which is her 1972 Red Currant Jelly. Visitors to the display will see how she developed her technique and approach to subject matter, as well as learn the story behind Red Currant Jelly with a short film interview with Pratt, produced by Toronto filmmaker Mark Bennett. The exhibition explores Pratt’s elaborate planning process, defining examples of realist paintings and her exacting brush, which would bring deep thought to themes such as sacrifice, love, familial duty and the passage of time.