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

Parisians get sneak peek at National Gallery’s Great Parade

Ottawa, Canada - March 11, 2004

Les Parisiens découvrent en avant-première La Grande Parade du MBAC

A special preview of the National Gallery of Canada's spectacular international exhibition The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown opens in Paris today. The show will be on view until 31 May 2004 at the Galeries nationales du Grand Palais before coming to Ottawa from 25 June to 19 September 2004. The great masterpieces in The Great Parade, presented by the American Express Foundation, explore the fascination the circus has held for artists from the 18th century to the present. The exhibition, which is organized by the National Gallery of Canada and co-produced with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux for the presentation in Paris, includes some 175 paintings, drawings, prints, vintage photographs, sculptures and videos from prestigious institutions around the world. 

Major canvases by such masters as Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall and sculptures by Alexander Calder reveal the circus both as an inspiration and as a metaphor for the chaos of society. The Great Parade 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.

"Jean Clair of the Musée Picasso and Didier Ottinger of the Centre Pompidou in Paris have been instrumental in bringing together this collection of masterpieces," says Pierre Théberge, Director of the NGC and chair of the exhibitionís curatorial committee. "That is why we are pleased to give Paris a first glimpse at this wonderfully insightful exhibition before it comes to Ottawa." Ann Thomas and Mayo Graham of the NGC, and Constance Naubert-Riser of the Université de Montréal round out the organizing committee.

While it won’t be seen in Paris, the centrepiece of the Ottawa show will be the original 1917 theatre curtain that Picasso designed for Erik Satie’s ballet Parade.

In Ottawa, The Great Parade will be presented by the American Express Foundation. "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. "Weíre happy to share this rare opportunity with our clients and business partners as well as visitors to the National Capital region this summer."

The National Gallery of Canada wishes to thank its media sponsors: CBC TV, la Télévision de Radio-Canada, The Ottawa Citizen and Le Droit.

The Ottawa presentation will feature Bell Audioguides for both adults and kids, and a 424-page, full-colour catalogue co-published with Yale University Press and les Éditions  Gallimard.

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