Paul Klee retrospective, Burtynsky project highlight fall at National Gallery

The National Gallery of Canada will host a retrospective of the work of the Swiss artist Paul Klee for the first time in Canada since 1979. The works by Klee highlight a busy fall season that also includes an exciting multi-disciplinary exhibition called Anthropocene and a retrospective of the Victorian-era photographer Oscar G. Rejlander.

The Klee show comes to the gallery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It is a collection of 75 works donated to the Met by the art dealer Heinz Berggruen in 1984. The show is a survey of the artist’s career starting as a student in Bern, his years at the legendary Bauhaus to later works from his home in Switzerland. This exhibition will open Nov. and runs until March 17, 2019.

Anthropocene refers to the current geological age in which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

The show is the brainchild of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier. It opens Sept. 28 and runs until February 24, 2019. Burtynsky has been looking closely, through his photographs at humanity’s impact on the world. This show promises to expand that thinking.  It will encompass some 30 photographs, films, high resolution murals, installations and Augmented Reality to try to capture the scale of our collective impact on our world.  

The Canadian Photography Institute (CPI) will showcase the work of the Victorian-era photographer Oscar G. Rejlander from Oct. 19 to Feb. 3 2019. In the show are about 140 works by the artist who was expert at combination printing which combines in one print two negatives.

Paul Klee: Cold City, 1921. Watercolour on paper mounted on maroon paper mounted on cardboard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Berggruen Klee Collection, 1987.

The rest of the fall agenda starts with the 2018 Sobey Art Award exhibition which this year includes  Jordan Bennett (Atlantic), Jon Rafman (Quebec), Kapwani Kiwanga (Ontario), Joi T. Arcand (Prairies and the North) and Jeneen Frei Njootli (West Coast and the Yukon). From Oct. 3 to  Feb. 10, 2019. The winner of the award will be announced Nov. 14. 

In recognition of the centenary of the end of the First World War, the gallery will examine in a Masterpiece in Focus exhibition the work that Harold Gilman (1876–1919, British) and Arthur Lismer (1885–1969, Canadian) did to record the port of Halifax for the Canadian War Memorials Fund. The show will feature sketches, drawings and paintings with Gilman’s massive painting Halifax Harbour (1918). From Oct. 12 to March 17.

Also at CPI is PhotoLab 5: L’arbre est dans ses feuilles which features a  two-channel video installation by Vancouver artist Althea Thauberger, who has taken inspiration from the works in the National Film Board of Canada’s Still Photography Division which includes thousands of negatives by Canadian photographers working from the 1960s to the 1980s. Oct. 19 to Feb.3.

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Peter Robb began his connection with the arts community in Ottawa in the mid-1980s when he was the administrator and public relations director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company. After a long career in journalism with the Ottawa Citizen where he served in a number of different posts he returned to the arts when he became the Citizen's arts editor.