Art Gallery of Alberta

Watercolour paintings from London’s famed Victoria & Albert Museum come to Edmonton.

July 17, 2013

Watercolour paintings from London’s famed Victoria & Albert Museum come to Edmonton.

AGA hosts North American debut of major exhibition.

Edmonton, AB (July 17/13) – The Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA) is thrilled to welcome 100 historical watercolour paintings from the world-famous Victoria & Albert Museum in London, England. The North American debut of Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 opens at the AGA on July 20, 2013.

Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 is a rare opportunity to see 200 years of watercolour paintings. This exhibition includes examples from the leading artists of the time including William Blake, John Constable and J.M.W. Turner. Works range from quick sketches to highly detailed works, providing visitors with an opportunity to view diverse styles of watercolour painting.

Once used as a purely practical method to record land topography and natural specimens, watercolour became a popular medium in its own right in the 18th century—prized for its colours, fluidity and translucent qualities; by the 19th century, watercolour was deemed a ‘national art’ in Britain.

Seen as a responsive medium, the spontaneity of watercolour helped transform attitudes towards landscapes—from mere observation to a personal response. Many of the landscape works in this exhibition are highly expressive, designed to evoke emotion in viewers either through representing nature as a powerful force—turbulent and sublime—or, in contrast, conveying nostalgia and sentiment for a simpler, rural life.

Britain’s strong literary tradition is evident in some of the paintings on view in this exhibition, as many watercolourists worked as illustrators for leading authors. Visitors will be able to see watercolours created for literary works by Charles Dickens, Frances Hodgson Burnett, who wrote The Secret Garden, and biblical illustrations by William Blake, who also illustrated his own writings.

Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 is the second exhibition of British Art at your AGA. 19th Century British Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada, now on view, complements the watercolours exhibition and allows visitors to see how painting and photography were used to capture similar subject matter during the same time period.

Water Into Art: British Watercolours from the V&A, 1750-1950 is on view until November 24, 2013. The exhibition is curated by Katherine Coombs, Curator of Paintings at the V&A and organized by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Also Opening July 20

The AGA presents New Acquisitions: Views and Vistas, on view from July 20-October 6, 2013.
This is the second in a pair of exhibitions to showcase recent acquisitions to the AGA’s permanent collection. This exhibition, made up of historical and contemporary paintings and photographs, demonstrates how the landscape has been and continues to be a powerful focus for many Canadian artists.

Artists featured in this exhibition are: Edward Burtynsky, A.J. Casson, Gregory Hardy, Lawren Harris, John Hartman, George Hunter, A.Y. Jackson, William Johnston and Lynn Malin.



Friday, July 19, 1:30 pm onwards, Art Gallery of Alberta

Catherine Crowston, Executive Director / Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Alberta and Tony Kay, British Consul General Calgary, will be available for interviews.

For media information, to coordinate interviews and to RSVP for the Media Preview, please contact:

Kimberly Van Nieuvenhuyse, Communications Specialist
T: 780.392.2468 E:

Oksana Gowin, Director, Marketing & Communications
T: 780.392.2466 E:


Public Programs and Events


Members’ Opening Reception
Friday, July 19, 7:30 pm
AGA Members and VIPs Only

Public Programs

BMO All Day Sunday: Liquid State
Sunday, July 21, 12-4 pm
Free with Gallery Admission


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 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.