Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

September 27, 2014 to January 25, 2015

Salvador Dali, Santiago El Grande, 1957, oil on canvas, 407.7 x 304.8 cm, Collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Gift of the Sir James Dunn Foundation ©Salvador Dali, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí/ SODRAC (2014)

Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery was initiated to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in 2009, and has been touring in the United States and Canada. The focus of the exhibition is the Gallery’s founder William Maxwell Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook) and the artists he collected and cultivated, who in turn influenced the passion he had for collecting.

In the first North American touring exhibition of the Beaverbrook’s most prestigious holdings, the exhibition highlights exquisite paintings by important old masters, as well as seminal artists in the history of Canadian art. Presented are paintings by world-renowned artists, such as Cranach, Copley, Delacroix, Gainsborough, Constable, Reynolds, Romney, Sargent, Sisley, Turner and Freud; and by prominent historical Canadian artists, such as Krieghoff, Morrice,Carr, Milne, Gagnon, and members of the Group of Seven. A highlight of the exhibitionis Salvador Dali’s monumental painting Santiago El Grande.

Santiago El Grande is widely considered one of Dali’s most accomplished paintings. Measuring more than four meters high, it depicts the patron saint of Spain, St. James, rising from the ocean on a white horse. At once majestic and unsettling, Santiago El Grande demonstrates Dali’s great technical mastery, his deep appreciation for the history of art, as well as the disorienting dream-like quality that we have come to associate with his work.

Alongside Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, toward further celebrating Dali’s debut in Winnipeg, the WAG will be mounting an exhibition showcasing two distinct aspects of the Surrealist master. It will include a pair of canvases on loan from major North American institutions, each representing different periods in Dali’s career: an early Surrealist painting completed prior to 1950, and a later work indicative of his so-called “Classical” period. Secondly, the Gallery has entered negotiations toward securing the loan of some 30 photographs of the artist taken in collaboration with the well-known photographer Philippe Halsman in the early 1950s. In addition to being iconic themselves, these photographs underscore Dali’s savvy management of self-image, and anticipate both Pop and contemporary Performance art. Overall, this second exhibition will explore the artist’s use of unexpected juxtapositions to achieve disarming results.

Organized and circulated by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the Support of the Museums Assistance Program at Canadian Heritage, presenting sponsor TD Bank Group and supporting sponsor McInnes Cooper.

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Joseph Mallord William Turner, The Fountain of Indolence, 1834, oil on canvas,105.7 x 166.4 cm, Collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Gift of The Beaverbrook Foundation

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