July 15 to October 08, 2011
Views of the Canadian farm are featured in this selection of historical works from the Museum’s permanent collection.
When the term “landscape” is invoked in a discussion of Canadian art, it commonly brings to mind vistas of dramatic wilderness. The works selected here, however, represent the agrarian reality experienced by generations of citizens. Well into the twentieth century the bucolic theme was an important, even central genre in Canada. Indeed, the first art exhibitions in the country were actually organized as part of larger agricultural expositions. Many patrons had also accrued their wealth from the land, spurring the continued significance of the subject.
The paintings and drawings on display indicate a range of European and Canadian approaches, spanning the Impressionism of American-born, Toronto-based artist Mary Hiester Reid to the Modernism of Sybil Andrews, an English printmaker who worked in British Columbia. There are familiar local images such as Paul Peel’s 1883 scene of the Covent Garden Market and James Reaney’s lyrical Ontario farm vistas, as well as the more recent interpretations of rural subjects by Duncan de Kergommeaux. Aside from traditional images of tilled fields, flocks and orchards, Pastorale also includes the sensitive, humorously ennobling sculptures of horses and cattle by Saskatchewan artist Joe Fafard.