Thursday, October 30, 2014

MMFA 2014: Van Gogh to Kandinsky

Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900-1914

October 11, 2014 - January 25, 2015

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) presents a Canadian exclusive — the exhibition Van Gogh to Kandinsky: Impressionism to Expressionism, 1900‐1914. This exhibition offers to visitors over one hundred paintings and an equal number of drawings and prints executed by the greatest avant-garde figures of the beginning of the 20th century. The works on display shed light on the extraordinary artistic cross-currents that brought forth and helped to establish the major developments in modern art that took place in Germany and France between 1900 and 1914.

This exhibition was first on view in Switzerland at the Kunsthaus Zürich, and then at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The current Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ showing of the exhibition will be distinguished not only for its exclusive presentation of major works, but also for its wealth of documentation, including more than 200 photographs, stereographic images and magazines focusing on Paris in 1900, as well as chronicling World War I, providing a broad historical context for this creative era.

The art produced by the French and German avant-garde between the end of the nineteenth century and the outbreak of World War I is widely celebrated today. Its creators were artists renowned in France — Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Signac, Van Gogh, Vlaminck — and in Germany — Heckel, Kandinsky, Kirchner, Klee, Nolde, Pechstein. Their works, distinguished by their originality, power and beauty, are considered among the early masterpieces of modern art. When art history chronicled this fascinating era, two separate critical discourses emerged, positing distinct French and German movements. Thanks to the extensive research of Timothy O. Benson, curator of the Robert Gore Rifkind Center for German Expressionist Studies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, this exhibition — exceptional by the importance of the works on loan — provides us with a broader understanding of the complex cross cultural influences during the time, which gave rise to this phenomenally rich and compelling artistic production.

For his part, the exhibition’s curator, Timothy O. Benson, declares: “I’ve always been fascinated with the formative stages of artistic creativity, as well as with how cultures interact, especially for modern art. A perfect opportunity for further exploration presented itself as scholars and curators became interested in the birth of both Expressionism and Fauvism a century after the fact, around 2005. Since that time I have had the privilege of working with scholars, curators, and collectors in Europe and North America to put together an exhibition examining the artistic revolution sparked by Van Gogh and Gauguin, and leading all the way to Franz Marc and Wassily Kandinsky’s innovative abstract art, a heritage still vital today.”

There arewWorks from 10 countries and over 60 lenders. The works on view in this  MMFA exhibition have been lent by major private collectors and museums ranking amongst the most prestigious in Europe, Canada, the United States and Asia. They include New York’s The Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA and Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Washington’s National Gallery of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Paris’s Musée d’Orsay, Musée de l’Orangerie and Petit Palais, Berlin’s Brücke Museum, Kunsthaus Zürich, Hamburg’s Kunsthalle, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum, Madrid’s El Museo Thyssen‐Bornemisza, Geneva’s Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Kunstmuseum Basel and London’s Tate Modern. 

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For more information, visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts's website:

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