Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada unveils Summer 2004 exhibition

Ottawa, Canada - February 24, 2004

« Le Musée des beaux-arts du Canada dévoile son exposition pour l’été 2004 » 
The National Gallery of Canada is pleased to unveil The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown, a spectacular international exhibition featuring great masterpieces that explore the fascination the circus has held for artists from the 18th century to the present.

The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown, presented by the American Express Foundation, brings together some 175 paintings, drawings, prints, vintage photographs, sculptures and videos from prestigious institutions around the world. The exhibition will be presented at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa from 25 June to 19 September 2004, following a preview at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais in Paris from 11 March to 31 May 2004.

Major canvases by such masters as Picasso and Chagall and sculptures by Calder reveal the circus both as an inspiration and as a metaphor for the chaos of society. The centrepiece of the show will be the original 1917 theatre curtain that Picasso designed for Erik Satie’s ballet Parade.

This exhibition illustrates how the circus became the site for a transformation of the artist’s self-image — the artist represented as a clown symbolized the dilemma of the artist and the condition of the artist in the modern world. The grand spectacle and the performers thus assumed a metaphoric dimension, with clowns and acrobats not just alluding to the condition of the artist, but of art itself.

The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown is organized by the National Gallery of Canada and co-produced with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux for the presentation in Paris.

“We are proud to have brought together a team of highly regarded art historians, including Jean Clair of the Musée Picasso and Didier Ottinger of the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Ann Thomas and Mayo Graham of the National Gallery of Canada, and Constance Naubert-Riser of the Université de Montréal, to bring together this wonderful collection of masterpieces,” says Pierre Théberge, Director of the NGC and chair of the exhibition’s curatorial committee.

“For over a decade, the American Express Foundation has partnered with the National Gallery of Canada on a wide range of special exhibitions and events.  We are very proud to have this opportunity to support Mr. Théberge and his creative team in assembling this innovative exhibition,” says Beth Horowitz, President and CEO, American Express in Canada. “The Ottawa region is very important to our business and we’re happy to share this rare opportunity with our clients and business partners as well as visitors to the National Capital region.”

In addition to recognizing the invaluable support of the American Express Foundation, the National Gallery of Canada wishes to thank media sponsors CBC TV, la Télévision de Radio-Canada, The Ottawa Citizen and Le Droit.

Visitors will be able to take advantage of a Bell Audioguide, plus a full schedule of lectures, concerts and workshops that complement the exhibition. A 424-page, full-colour catalogue co-published with Yale University Press and les Éditions Gallimard will be available at the Gallery’s Bookstore, along with a wide selection of gift items.

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Anouk Hoedeman
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
tel. (613) 990-6835
fax (613) 990-9824