Step Into the Light with L.L. FitzGerald at WAG
Major show of Manitoba’s member of the Group of Seven during province’s 150th year
Winnipeg, Manitoba, June 9, 2020: The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) is now featuring Into the Light: Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald, celebrating an influential Winnipeg artist and Group of Seven member who captured the spirit of Manitoba like no other.
The exhibition coincides with the 150th anniversary of Manitoba and the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Group of Seven in 2020. Organized by the WAG in partnership with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Into the Light was unveiled with the Gallery’s reopening last month and runs until September 7, 2020.
About the Show:
- Into the Light is the first comprehensive survey of the Manitoba modernist and Group of Seven member in 40 years, the largest to date.
- The exhibition features more than 200 artworks that explore FitzGerald’s early 20th-century prairie scenes and his St. James neighbourhood in Winnipeg. FitzGerald’s deeply contemplative art renders the everyday miraculous, at times suggesting portals to the infinite.
- The show brings together paintings, drawings, and prints from 13 institutional lenders including over 100 pieces from the WAG collection, the largest FitzGerald collection in the world.
- Into the Light is curated by McMichael Canadian Art Collection Chief Curator Sarah Milroy and Executive Director Ian A.C. Dejardin, and Canadian art scholar Michael Parke-Taylor.
- A beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue is available at WAG@TheForks. The publication by Sarah Milroy, Ian A.C. Dejardin and Michael Parke-Taylor features essay contributions by the curators and Dr. Oliver A.I. Botar, Pierre Dorion, Robert Enright, Robert Houle, Andrew Kear, Wanda Koop, and Michael Parke-Taylor with a forward by Dr. Stephen Borys.
About the Artist:
- Rooted in his native city of Winnipeg, Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald (1890–1956) worked almost exclusively in Manitoba, where he captured the essence of the prairies in his art.
- Beloved for his sensitive and serene depictions of Manitoba and the back streets of Winnipeg, FitzGerald was the only Western member of the Group of Seven. He was the last artist to join the Group in 1932 and the least known.
- FitzGerald’s voice was a quieter one, his legacy including both his stewardship of the Winnipeg School of Art (1929-1947), now the School of Art at the University of Manitoba, and the development of the WAG.
- He had his first show at the Gallery in 1921 and went on to become one of Canada’s best-known early-modernist painters.
- From pointillist abstract works to everyday landscapes, FitzGerald’s influence extends beyond Manitoba and Canada.
Related Programs and Visitor Response:
- Canada Life Free Sundays@WAG are resuming on June 14, 2020, providing free opportunities to view Into the Light and other exhibitions on the second Sunday of the month. Visitors must register for timed tickets before attending at wag.ca.
- Day camps for kids and online art classes for kids, teens, and adults will highlight the exhibition, and look for more programming announcements at wag.ca.
- Visitors are invited to take inspiration from Fitzgerald by sharing the view from their own window. Photos in portrait orientation, along with the photographer’s first name and age submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org will be on view at the WAG in the feature Windows into Winnipeg with the Into the Light Views can also be shared on social media tagging the WAG with the hashtag #windowsintowinnipeg.
- Virtual content on FitzGerald includes an overview with Riva Symko, WAG Head of Collections & Exhibitions; a sneak peek video, a timeline, and art stories. Watch for new videos on wag.ca to be released over the coming weeks, featuring FitzGerald experts like Senator Patricia Bovey, WAG Director Emeritus, and Dr. Oliver A.I. Botar, Professor of Art History at the University of Manitoba School of Art.
“Manitobans should be proud of the caliber, range, and quality of FitzGerald’s work. Few artists influence their environment as much as it influences them, and FitzGerald is a prime example. Into the Light is a chance to discover Manitoba’s member of the Group of Seven and offers a calming escape from the current pandemic, now that the Gallery is open with new safety protocols. We thank our partners at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and lead sponsors Canada Life and Power Corporation of Canada for making this celebratory exhibition possible.”
—Dr. Stephen Borys, Director & CEO, Winnipeg Art Gallery
“Lionel LeMoine FitzGerald was invited to join the Group of Seven only months before the Group disbanded; also, his style was very different from theirs. This has often led to him being overlooked or dismissed as a mere footnote to the Group of Seven story. Except, of course, in Winnipeg, where his contribution to the city’s art scene was incalculable. So, Sarah Milroy and I were delighted to be able to collaborate with the WAG in putting together the first major exhibition outside his native city, to remind Ontario of his stellar quality. It will be wonderful to see this lovely exhibition again in his hometown.”
—Ian A. C. Dejardin, Executive Director, McMichael Canadian Art Collection
“At Canada Life, we believe supporting our communities through arts and culture can help improve a person’s overall wellbeing. It’s a great accomplishment for the Winnipeg Art Gallery to feature this once in a lifetime exhibit that embodies Manitoba’s prairie spirit. We’re proud the community can visit the Gallery during Canada Life Free Sundays @WAG.”
—Hugh Moncrieff, Executive Vice President, Advisory Network and Industry Affairs
“We at Power Corporation believe that the visual and performing arts are a vital part of our social fabric, providing creativity, inspiration and enrichment in people’s lives. So we are delighted to partner with our affiliate Canada Life and the Winnipeg Art Gallery in helping bring to light the talent of Lionel Lemoine FitzGerald, an inspiring Canadian artist. FitzGerald, a native of Winnipeg, is the only member of the illustrious Group of Seven from the prairies. We are all living through an extraordinary time with this pandemic, and our fellow citizens need the stimulation of the arts and opportunities to celebrate our heritage more than ever. We salute the WAG for their leadership in the arts and for their support of this outstanding exhibition.”
—Paul C. Genest, Senior Vice-President, Power Corporation of Canada
Presented in partnership with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Lead Sponsors: Canada Life and Power Corporation of Canada. Funded by the Government of Canada.
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Winnipeg Art Gallery
Director, Communications, Marketing and Sales
McMichael Canadian Art Collection
905.893.1121 ext. 2265
The Winnipeg Art Gallery is a cultural advocate using art to connect, inspire, and inform. Playing a dynamic role in the community, we are a place for learning, dialogue, and enjoyment through art. The WAG holds in trust the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world. To celebrate the art and to honour the Inuit, the WAG is building the Inuit Art Centre, the first of its kind. Opening in the coming months, the Centre will bridge Canada’s North and South through exhibitions, research, education, and art making. To learn more visit wag.ca
The McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an agency of the Government of Ontario and acknowledges the support of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, and the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation. In addition to touring exhibitions, the McMichael’s permanent collection consists of over 6,500 artworks by Canadian artists including the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, as well as Indigenous, Métis, Inuit, and contemporary artists. The gallery is located on 100 acres of conservation land at 10365 Islington Avenue, Kleinburg, in the City of Vaughan. For more information, please visit mcmichael.com.