Art Gallery of Alberta

Explore the mysterious images of some of history’s greatest artists in a new AGA exhibition

November 19, 2010

The Symbolist Muse

A Collection of Prints from the National Gallery of Canada
November 20, 2010-March 13, 2011

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is thrilled to open an exhibition featuring works by 26 important European artists, including Paul Gauguin, Vassily Kandinsky, Edvard Munch, Pablo Picasso and Odilon Redon. The Symbolist Muse: A Collection of Prints from the National Gallery of Canada opens on Saturday, November 20, 2010.

The exhibition is presented at part of The National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta, with the support of Capital Powered Art; an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation. This unique program allows visitors to the AGA the opportunity to enjoy an ongoing series of exhibitions featuring works drawn from the National Gallery’s collection in Ottawa. The Symbolist Muse is the fourth exhibition in this multi-year series.

Following the nightmares of Goya and the imaginary worlds of Piranesi and M.C. Escher, the first three exhibitions in the series, The Symbolist Muse features 42 works that draw on the inner visions of a wide range of artists who were inspired by the Symbolist movement.

“Symbolist artists were intrigued by literature, poetry and music and like Stéphane Mallarmé, J.K. Huysmans and Claude Debussy, they explore in their work the vast resource of human emotions” explains Dr. John Collins, Assistant Curator, Prints and Drawings at the National Gallery of Canada. “Using the visual tools of colour, atmosphere and frank observation, they transform the intimate moments of everyday life into superbly meditative images.”

Symbolism was an artistic movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that sought to arouse the viewer’s imagination and spiritualism through the use of metaphorical, dreamlike imagery. As opposed to simply recording the exterior world, Symbolist art represents the mystery and surrealism of the spiritual world. Symbolist artists were inspired by the complexities of the inner mind rather than the natural world that preoccupied their Realist and Impressionist contemporaries. The art of this movement shared no distinct style, but was united in its imagery, references, use of colour and rejection of a realistic depiction of the physical world. The Symbolist Muse: A Collection of Prints from the National Gallery of Canada highlights the major artists of this movement while demonstrating the key themes that shaped it.

The National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta launched in early 2010 with the opening of the new AGA. This expanded partnership model was the first of its kind in Canada, and is exclusive to the AGA for the Alberta region. The National Gallery of Canada (NGC) will establish a limited number of these satellite programs within Canada in the coming years. The NGC recently announced a similar partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA) in Toronto.

For more information about AGA exhibitions, please visit youraga.ca

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For more information or publicity images, please contact:
Alison Bulloch, Media Relations & Communications Coordinator
T: 780.392.2468 E: alison.bulloch@youraga.ca

ABOUT THE ART GALLERY OF ALBERTA
The Art Gallery of Alberta is a centre of excellence for the visual arts in Western Canada, connecting people, art and ideas. The AGA is focused on the development and presentation of original exhibitions of contemporary and historical art from Alberta, Canada and around the world. The AGA also offers a full-range of art education and public programs. Founded in 1924, the Art Gallery of Alberta maintains a collection of more than 6,000 objects and is the oldest cultural institution in Alberta. It is the only museum in the province solely dedicated to the exhibition and preservation of art and visual culture. The AGA recently underwent a major re-building project. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout, the 85,000 sq foot (7,900 sq metres) new AGA opened to the public on January 31, 2010. The new Gallery features three floors of premiere exhibition space; the City of Edmonton Terrace; the Singhmar Centre for Art Education; Zinc restaurant; Shop AGA; Ledcor Theatre and an Art Rental and Sales Gallery.

The Art Gallery of Alberta is a not-for-profit organization that relies on the support of its Members, donors, sponsors and government. The AGA is grateful for the generous support of the many public and private donors and sponsors who have made the AGA’s New Vision possible, as well as the ongoing support of the City of Edmonton, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Canada Council for the Arts and our Members.