New WAG Exhibition Spans Five Centuries of European Art

New WAG Exhibition Spans Five Centuries of European Art

WINNIPEG, MB., September 8, 2009: EUROfix, opening at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on September 19, celebrates five centuries of European art with over 150 works—paintings, sculptures, drawings, and decorative art—all drawn from the WAG’s permanent collection.

“Because of the significant time line involved here, we have divided this exhibition into three sections which each explore key movements in the development of European art from 1450 to 1950,” explains WAG Director Dr. Stephen Borys, who is also the curator of the exhibition. “Beginning in gallery 1 and moving through galleries 2 and 3, our visitors will be presented with a fascinating mix of perspectives from the countries and schools that laid much of the foundation for European art and connoisseurship.” The WAG’s Gort Collection, one of the finest collections of Northern Renaissance painting in Canada, provides the foundation for the first part of the EUROfix exhibition.

EUROfix I: The Art of the Old Masters focuses on works produced between 1450 and 1850, originating from the leading artistic centers of Western Europe: France, Italy, Spain, and the northern countries of Belgium, Germany, and Holland. Commissioned by various religious and secular institutions and individuals, this group of paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts reflects the growing diversity of patronage at the time. Along with the important social and political changes marking this period in European history, the course of art underwent a major transformation. Not only did the physical nature of painting change, but the role of the artist, patron, and the art object itself evolved.

EUROfix II: Master Drawings highlights a group of works on paper dating from the 16th to the 19th centuries, with representation from the French, Italian, Dutch, Flemish, German, and British schools. The drawing is perhaps the most spontaneous and direct expression of the artist, and some believe that it reflects the true spirit of artmaking. Whether it is through the first, swift notation, the detailed exploration of a form, or the laying out of a composition, the visual articulation is at its strongest in the act of drawing. Since the Renaissance, draughtsmanship has been regarded as an independent artistic activity, and the drawing as a work of art in its own right. At its root is the “idea” of the work of art as embodied in the drawing or sketch, a concept to be esteemed as highly as the finished object.

EUROfix III: The Road to Modernism features works from the 19th and early 20th centuries, examining the definitions and parameters of modern art. Beginning with Realism and Romanticism and ending with early Abstraction, this exhibition explores the roots of Modernism with a particular focus on the British school, one of the strengths of the WAG collection. Included are works by the early 19th-century painters who were among the first generations to abandon their studios for the open air. The Impressionists continued working outdoors, but went one step further, often finishing their paintings outside. By the turn of the century, the Fauves and Expressionists had created a more expressive and individual kind of art by reinventing their way of seeing through bolder, abstract forms and arbitrary colours. In the end, these artists have changed the ways in which we continue to see and interpret the world around us.

Related Programs

Art After Dark, Friday, October 2, 8-11pm • Exhibition tours

Art for Lunch • 12:10pm
Wednesday, October 7 • Tour with WAG Director Dr. Stephen Borys
Wednesday, December 9 • Tour of EUROfix III: The Road to Modernism with Research Assistant Roslyn Stanwick
Wednesday, January 20 • Tour of EUROfix I: The Art of the Old Masters with Research Assistant Rachel Baerg

Drop-in Tours • 2pm
Sunday, October 18 with Research Assistant Roslyn Stanwick
Sunday, November 22 with Research Assistant Rachel Baerg






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