WAG Honours Collectors with Bringing Shadow to Light Exhibition
August 28, 2014: Throughout its more than one-hundred year history, the Winnipeg Art Gallery has benefited enormously from countless generous and discriminating individuals, families, and foundations who have donated their prized objects and contributed to the Gallery’s permanent collection. Running until December 7, Bringing Shadow to Light: Gifts from a Manitoban Collection honours a pair of collectors to whom the WAG is grateful.
Bringing Shadow to Light is a tribute to Robert and Margaret Hucal. Since 1990, these Manitoba art collectors have quietly gifted almost 350 works of mostly Canadian historical painting, sculpture, photography, prints, and drawings to the WAG.
The primary focus of their generosity is works by artists with a connection to Manitoba. Thus, visitors will find exquisite examples of works by William Kurelek, William Winter, Philip Surrey, and Charles Comfort in this exhibition. Equally, the Gallery’s collection of Canadian prints significantly expanded and deepened as a result of their kindness and discernment.
Examples range from the spectacularly displayed craftsmanship of Edwin Holgate’s wood engraving, to the futuristic linocuts of Sybil Andrews, to rare early intaglios by Ivan Eyre and Esther Warkov. The WAG is also fortunate to have acquired original preparatory sketches and painting studies that correspond to certain finished prints, a happy discovery important to art historical study as well as aesthetic appreciation.
“The Hucals have donated uncharacteristic works by nationally significant artists like William Kurelek, Bertram Brooker, and Fritz Brandtner, providing the WAG with the means to deepen scholarly and public appreciation of these artists,” comments Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “The Hucal collection not only reflects personal taste and commitment but, perhaps above all, offers moving personal reflections about the world in which the works on display were created. The WAG is tremendously grateful for their contributions.”
“Furthermore, Andrew Kear, WAG Curator of Historical Canadian Art, has developed a significant relationship with Mr. Hucal and that is evident in the strength of the exhibition on display,” notes Borys.
The Hucals have contributed to building-up important areas of the Gallery’s collection that are now being highlighted.
“Small and quickly executed preparatory sketches and studies—objects that play an indelible role in an artist`s creative process—earn equal attention to finished canvases, final proofs, and end products, for example, raising the WAG’s capacity to facilitate important primary research,” states Kear.
A second way the Hucals have brought shadow into light is by gifting works of art by significant but hitherto underrepresented (and sometimes forgotten) Winnipeg artists of the early twentieth century, such as Alexander Musgrove, Alison Newton, and Caven Atkins. All of these examples will be featured in the exhibition.
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