The Great War at Home and Abroad on View at the National Gallery of Canada
Ottawa, Canada - January 26, 2000
« La Grande Guerre, au pays et à l'étanger au Musée des beaux-arts du Canada »
The National Gallery of Canada is pleased to present The Great War at Home and Abroad, an installation of five, large-scale First World War paintings by leading British artists of the time, on view from 4 February until 4 June 2000. These enormous canvases, measuring on average three by three metres, were selected from the Canadian War Memorials Fund commissions, and are being displayed together for the first time since the new Gallery opened in 1988. A moving testament to the enormity of war, the installation features works by David Bomberg, Harold Gilman, Wyndham Lewis, William Roberts, and Edward Wadsworth.
In 1916, Sir Max Aitken, later Lord Beaverbrook, a Canadian who had settled in England, formed a committee to oversee the creation of an official pictorial record of Canada's effort in the First World War, which became known as the Canadian War Memorials. Works of art commissioned from British and Canadian artists would serve as a valuable and lasting account, and would include "subjects embracing every sphere of Canadian war preparation and war activity, at home and abroad, on land, on water, and in the air." Upon their completion in 1919, many of these works were exhibited in London, New York, Toronto, Montreal, and finally Ottawa. In 1921, the entire collection was presented to the National Gallery of Canada by Lord Beaverbrook and his committee. At the time, it constituted the most representative group of modern British paintings to be found anywhere in the world.
Interviews with Dr. Stephen Borys, Assistant Curator of European Art at the National Gallery of Canada, are available upon request.
This installation coincides with the exhibition Canvas of War: Masterpieces from the Canadian War Museum, organized by the Canadian War Museum and presented at the Canadian Museum of Civilization from 11 February 2000 until 7 January 2001.
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