WAG Celebrates Spring with Free Public Opening of William Brymner Exhibition

What role did Scottish-born artist William Brymner play in bringing Impressionism to Canada? How did he become a major influence on an entire generation of Canadian artists? What are his ties to the WAG? Find out when William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague celebrates a free public opening at 8pm, Thursday, April 23. The exhibition continues until August 21.

Raised in Quebec and Ottawa, William Brymner (1855-1925) became the core of a creative milieu that made Montreal the undisputed hub of Canadian art in the first decade of the 20th century. Following several successful years studying and exhibiting in Paris, he returned to Canada where he assumed the directorship of the Art Association of Montreal school. He was one of the first to lecture on the new Impressionist art and to encourage his students to paint en plein air, that is out in the open air. Many of his students went on to become some of Canada’s best-known artists, the first sizable generation of Canadian artists to study abroad and to advocate for the purchase of Canadian art by collectors and galleries. As President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Art (RCA), Brymner oversaw and contributed to a display of RCA works in the WAG’s inaugural exhibition in December 1912.

The exhibition comprises 60 works by Brymner, as well as by peers including Horatio Walker, James Wilson Morrice, Maurice Cullen, and Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, as well as pupils such as A.Y. Jackson, Clarence Gagnon, and Edwin Holgate.

“It’s remarkable that so many distinguished artists emerged from Brymner’s classroom,” says Andrew Kear, Associate Curator of Historical Canadian Art. “Although he never lost faith in traditional artistic training practices, he was always open to new movements, encouraging his students to follow their own mode of expression.”

William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague is organized and toured by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, with the cooperation of Power Corporation of Canada and a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. Sponsored by Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP.

Related Programs
Thurs, May 19, 7pm • Building Corporate Art Collections: The Inside Track • Paul Maréchal, Curator of the Art Collection of Power Corporation of Canada and Co-Curator of William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague.

Wed, May 25, 12:10pm • Exhibition tour with Andrew Kear, Associate Curator of Historical Canadian Art
 

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