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 sends in the clowns

Ottawa, Canada - June 23, 2004

Les clowns entrent en piste au MBAC

It’s a circus at the National Gallery of Canada this week with the opening of the highly anticipated summer exhibition The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown, on view from June 25 to September 19.

This spectacular exhibition of nearly 200 paintings, drawings, prints, vintage photographs, sculptures and videos takes an original look at more than 200 years of art inspired by the magic of the circus.

The Great Parade: Portrait of the Artist as Clown, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, includes masterpieces by modern artists fascinated by the Big Top, such as Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, Degas, Chagall, Calder and Arbus.

An international team of art historians led by National Gallery Director Pierre Théberge worked for four years to assemble works from prestigious institutions and private collections around the world. The other members of the curatorial committee are Jean Clair of the Musée Picasso and Didier Ottinger of the Centre Pompidou, Ann Thomas and Mayo Graham of the National Gallery of Canada, and Constance Naubert-Riser of the Université de Montréal.

“We set out to explore the circus as a locale for artists’ imaginative expression, and the clown as a metaphor for the condition of the modern artist,” says Théberge. “We not only succeeded in that goal, but also assembled a dynamic art exhibition that everyone will enjoy.”

The Great Parade, which previewed at the Grand Palais in Paris this spring, is presented in Ottawa by the American Express Foundation.

“For more than a decade, the American Express Foundation has been a proud and committed supporter of special exhibitions and events at the National Gallery and in the Ottawa area,” says Beth Horowitz, President and CEO of American Express Canada. “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate on such an innovative exhibition as The Great Parade.”

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.

Besides viewing the beautiful artworks in The Great Parade, visitors to the National Gallery of Canada this summer can enjoy a wide range of activities that complement the exhibition, including film screenings, concerts, art projects, lectures, workshops and even circus performances.

Bell Audioguides for adults as well as for children, and a magnificent, full-colour
catalogue are also available.

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