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Exhibitions installed in the Library's foyer gallery highlight research materials held by the Library and Archives. Open during Library hours.



National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Exhibition No. 49

6 January – 17 April 2015


An exhibition bringing together drawings, photographs, watercolours and other items related to Paul Peel, one of Canada’s most celebrated painters.


Active during the latter part of the nineteenth century, Paul Peel was one of the first Canadian artists to receive critical acclaim abroad, his paintings being regularly included in the prestigious salons organized by the Société des artistes français in Paris. Peel received an honourable mention at the 1889 Salon for his painting A Venetian Bather (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa) and was awarded a bronze medal the following year for After the Bath (Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto).


This exhibition is a rare opportunity to discover the private world of Paul Peel. Most of the selected works were compiled during his lifetime and conserved by his family after his death in Paris in 1892. After being cared for by three successive generations of descendants (in cities including Chicago, Copenhagen, Nice and Laguna Beach), the collection was donated to the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives.


Paul Peel was born in London, Canada West, in 1860. He began his career as an artist at home, where he learned the rudiments of drawing and painting from his father, Robert Peel, a stone cutter and drawing instructor. After additional training from local artist William Lees Judson at the Western School of Art, Peel was admitted into the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1877, taking lessons on drawing the human figure from Christian Schussele and Thomas Eakins. In 1880 Peel briefly attended the Royal Academy of Arts in London, England, and the following year moved to Paris, where he studied at the Académie Julian and the École des Beaux-Arts under several well-known artists steeped in the French academic tradition, including Jules Joseph Lefebvre, Henri Lucien Doucet and Jean-Léon Gérôme. In 1892, at the height of his career and widely celebrated for his technically brilliant domestic scenes, nudes and landscapes, Peel died of pneumonia in Paris.


The National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives wishes to thank Patricia Brooks-Hammond and Joan Mackie for their generous donation of the items that now comprise the Paul Peel and Isaure Verdier Peel fonds.


For more information on Paul Peel, please contact the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

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