French connection with masters of French Realism highlight Art Gallery of Hamilton exhibitions

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French connection with masters of French Realism highlight Art Gallery of Hamilton exhibitions
Jerry Uelsmann (American, b. 1934), Untitled 1982. Large format silver print. Courtesy of the artist.

HAMILTON, ON.- The Art Gallery of Hamilton’s Fall 2011 exhibition season offers a closing salute to its French Connection year with a stunning display of nineteenth-century French Realist paintings alongside three intriguing exhibitions drawn from private collections.

On view through January 15, 2012, Masters of French Realism showcases works by various French painters associated with the central nineteenth-century artistic movement Realism, which achieved its most coherent expression in French painting. At the centre of French Realism was Gustave Courbet (1819–1877), represented in the exhibition by two landscape paintings. While Courbet’s Realist representations of peasants and labourers were motivated by strong political views, other French Realists, such as Philippe Rousseau (1816-1887), found both popular and critical success with their naturalistically painted humble subjects. Another type of Realism is represented in the work of James Tissot (1836–1902), whose Croquet has long been one of the favourite European paintings in the AGH’s Permanent Collection. The Gallery owns more than twenty works by Théodule Ribot, also featured in the exhibition, and is the single best represented artist in the AGH Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Collection. Together, the works shown here reveal Realism to be a primary strength of this collection. Curated by Dr. Patrick Shaw Cable. The Art Gallery of Hamilton’s French Connection themed year is presented with the generous support of TD.

On view through January 15, 2012, Quilts! A Gift from Carole and Howard Tanenbaum to the Textile Museum of Canada celebrates the donation of Carole and Howard Tanenbaum’s impressive collection of quilts to the Textile Museum of Canada in 2011. Dating primarily to the latter part of the nineteenth century, these quilts were made in the United States, Canada and England. Originally used as bedding, furnishings, as well as markers of family and community celebration, most of the quilts’ makers are unknown and their ancestry obscure. While their meaning and social messages have evolved, they continue to offer exquisite articulations of history, tradition and craftsmanship. Organized and circulated by the Textile Museum of Canada.

On view through January 15, 2012, Becoming: Photographs from the Collection of John and Ginny Soule offers works that span the late 19th century to the present day, illustrating the hallmark styles of photography as it progressed through the 20th century. In its beginnings, photography was not considered a fine art form, but was in the process of becoming. Likewise, the collection of John and Ginny Soule is evolving, growing along with their passion for photography. On view are photographs by Jerry Uelsmann (American, b. 1934), Edward Steichen (American, 1879-1973), Édouard Boubat (French, 1923-1999), André Kertész (Hungarian-American, 1894-1985), Heinrich Kühn (German-Austrian, 1866-1944), Frank Sutcliffe (British, 1853-1941), Horst P. Horst (German-American, 1906-1999), and contemporary Canadian pieces by Barbara Astman and Jesse Boles. Curated by Melissa Bennett.

Salah J. Bachir’s collection of Attila Richard Lukacs’ work is unparalleled in its scope, representing the various series for which Lukacs has become well-known. On view from October 8 to December 31, the exhibition Attila Richard Lukacs from the Collection of Salah J. Bachir features more than thirty works of grand portraits of decadent male nudes, poetic and mythological scenes, works from the artist’s military series, Polaroid photographs used as studies for paintings, as well as a new abstract painting that has drawn attention for its departure from the figurative. Consistent throughout the works is a highly engaging, mystical, allegorical component — images of fabled lovers and animalistic characters. Over the years, Bachir’s astute selections have come to form a comprehensive collection of works by one of Canada’s greatest contemporary painters. Curated by Melissa Bennett.

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