Art Gallery of Alberta

The emergence of the new artistic avant-garde in the early 20th century: Picasso, Dali, Mondrian; 15 artists, 36 works from the National Gallery of Canada, now at your AGA.

For Immediate Release
February 2, 2012

EDMONTON, AB – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is pleased to present ICONS OF MODERNISM, February 11 – May 21, 2012.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Paris, the unrivalled centre of the art world, witnessed the emergence of a new avant-garde in response to rapid technological progress and the new realities of daily life in the mechanized age.

Artists abandoned the conventional traditions of the Paris Salon and sought new forms that could express their experience of this new modern era. Rather than trying to represent the world naturalistically, Henri Matisse and his fellow French painters started using intense colour as a means of expression. Cubists, notably Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, began actively deconstructing the world around them, to convey the emerging vitality and complexity of life. A host of other modernist movements quickly followed: Surrealism, Futurism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Dadaism – swept across Europe shaping the history of art to the present day.

Icons of Modernism focuses on and celebrates the diversity, creativity and achievements of these artists by presenting a selection of paintings, sculptures, films and photographs from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

Icons of Modernism has been organized by Anabelle Kienle, Assistant Curator, European, American and Asian art at the National Gallery of Canada as part of the “National Gallery of Canada at the Art Gallery of Alberta,” program and is presented with the support of the Capital Powered Art, an exhibition series sponsored by Capital Power Corporation.

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For media information, images or interview requests please contact:

Shaun Peters, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications
(tel.) 780.392.2466

Janis Galloway, Communications Coordinator
(tel.) 780.392.2467


Friday, February 10, 1 pm, Art Gallery of Alberta


    • Art Gallery of Alberta: Catherine Crowston, Acting Executive Director / Chief Curator
    • Partner, National Gallery of Canada: Dr. Paul Lang, Chief Curator
    • Sponsor, Capital Power Corporation, Michael Sheehan, Media Relations Manager
    • Exclusive Media Preview with access to ICONS OF MODERNISM

Please RSVP by contacting:
Shaun Peters, Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications
(tel.) 780.392.2466

Public Programs and Events

The ‘Icons of Modernism’ lecture
Tensions and Convergences in the Art of Last Century or, Peggy Guggenheim’s Earrings
Presented by Prof. Steven Harris

Wednesday, February 29, 7 pm
$15/$10 AGA Members
Buy tickets online >

Art for Lunch – FREE!
Surrealism and Futurism and Cubism – Oh My! Modern “isms” in the Early 20th Century (Part 1)

Thursday, March 15, 12:10 pm, Ledcor Theatre Foyer

Art for Lunch – FREE!
Surrealism and Futurism and Cubism – Oh My! Modern “isms” in the Early 20th Century (Part 2)

Thursday, February 16, 12:10 pm, Ledcor Theatre Foyer


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.