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

25 × 25: Twenty-Five Years of Exhibition Announcements  from Twenty-Five Indigenous Artists
3 January – 30 April 2017
National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Exhibition No. 54

25 × 25

NGC Magazine Article

Now on view in the Library and Archives of the National Gallery of Canada (NGC), this display of printed exhibition announcement cards was chosen from the Library’s documentation collection to reflect the growing presence of contemporary Indigenous artists in our communities in the past two decades. Indigenous peoples in Canada comprise First Nations, Métis and Inuit. This exhibition also acknowledges the twenty-fifth anniversary of Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada, the Gallery’s landmark exhibition of contemporary art by First Nations artists, and complements the Gallery’s current major retrospective of work by Alex Janvier.

Lecture by Diana Nemiroff
Thursday 2 March 2017 at 6 pm
National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

This year marks the twenty-fifth year anniversary of the Gallery’s landmark exhibition of contemporary art by First Nations artists: Land, Spirit, Power: First Nations at the National Gallery of Canada. Join us in the Library and Archives for a lecture by Diana Nemiroff, former Curator, Contemporary Art, on this landmark exhibition and its influence on the collecting and presentation of First Nations art.

Lecture by Barry Ace
Thursday 23 March 2017 at 6 pm
National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives

Join us in the Library and Archives for a discussion with Barry Ace on his passion for collecting Indigenous exhibition announcements. Barry Ace is a practicing visual artist, former Chief Curator and former Acting Director of the Aboriginal Art Centre (INAC). He is also a former lecturer with the Indigenous Studies Program at the University of Sudbury and a band member of M'Chigeeng First Nation, Manitoulin Island. He has been collecting Indigenous art, publications, archival and print ephemera for more than 30 years.


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Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) – The Man and His Multiples/ l’Homme et ses Multiples
National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Exhibition No. 53
04 October 2016 – 01 January 2017

Joseph Beuys

Visit the exhibition website | Download the brochure

This exhibition, held in conjunction with the show of sculptures by Joseph Beuys (01 December 2015 – 27 November 2017), features a selection of the artist’s multiples, including photographs, tracts, postcards and records. Other objects, images and texts illustrate his concept of social sculpture, his political activism and performances, as well as his expansion of sculptural vocabulary with materials such as felt and honey.

As the exhibition title suggests, Beuys’ life and art were indistinguishable, forming a whole. Photographs of his performances convey a sense of his charismatic persona. While Beuys’ work resonates in a particular way with Germans, his themes of suffering, empathy and atonement evoke universal responses. His postwar career helped re-establish an avant-garde tradition in Germany; his grimy, unfixed, scarred aesthetics were completely at odds with the officially promoted art of the Nazi era.

Connected to his cultural theories, Beuys’ multiples were integral to his artistic strategy and practices. Beuys termed his multiples “vehicles of information,” which could trigger or supplement memories. The multiples helped disseminate his ideas while democratizing the experience of owning an art object and protesting the economics of the art market. Beuys believed that the seriality of the multiples created a relationship between the artist and many collectors, opening new conversations among collectors. The 1992 edition of the catalogue raisonné of Beuys’ multiples lists 557 items. After his limited editions in 1965–70 became the object of speculation, the artist authorized increased production to preserve their accessibility.

The Art Metropole collection was begun informally in 1971 by the three artists who made up General Idea: Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal and AA Bronson. It was legally incorporated in 1972 as an artist-run centre devoted to collecting and distributing art images, including artist books, videos and other multiples. The collection was donated to the National Gallery in 1999 by Jay Smith. This exhibition draws upon the 207 items in the collection that reference Beuys, with an emphasis on those produced during the artist’s lifetime.

Ian C. Ferguson



National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Exhibition no. 51
6 October 2015 – 24 March 2016

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “The Maids of Elfin-mere.” William Allingham, The Music Master: A Love Story and Two Series of Day and Night Songs. London: George Routledge, 1855. Engraved by the Brothers Dalziel. Edward Burne-Jones, “The Summer Snow.” Good Words. London: Alexander Strahan and Company, 1863. Engraved by the Brothers Dalziel.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded in London in 1848 by William Holman Hunt (1827–1910), John Everett Millais (1829–1896) and Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828–1882). Disenchanted with contemporary academic painting, these three artists sought instead to create an art that followed John Ruskin’s principle of “truth to nature.” For inspiration, the group looked mainly to early Italian Renaissance art before Raphael, but they were also influenced by Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), Jan van Eyck (c. 1380/90–1441) and members of the German Nazarene movement, including Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld (1794–1872), Moritz Retzsch (1779–1857) and Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789–1869).

The nineteenth century witnessed several important technical advances in the mechanical reproduction of books and magazines. The most significant change was the refinement of wood-engraving, which by the 1850s had become the dominant medium for reproducing images. Allowing text and image to be printed together, wood-engraving was considerably less expensive than other printing methods. The lower cost in turn meant that illustrated publications could for the first time be made widely available to the general public. The popularity of wood-engraving also gave rise to specialized businesses devoted to the medium. Among the most prominent were firms run by the Brothers Dalziel and Joseph Swain. The Brothers Dalziel were particularly successful and were often entrusted with soliciting material from artists on behalf of major publishers. Illustration during the period had become, in many respects, a collaborative art, a partnership between artist and wood engraver.

The ideas espoused by the original Pre-Raphaelites attracted numerous artist friends and colleagues in the 1850s, most notably Ford Madox Brown (1821–1893), Edward Burne-Jones (1833–1898), Arthur Hughes (1832–1915) and Frederick Sandys (1829–1904). All were drawn to the idea of a romantic past, which they often expressed in subjects derived from medieval, biblical and literary sources with themes of love, death and personal loss. The Pre-Raphaelites held to the belief that illustration was an art form equal to painting, an idea that combined with other social and technologically changes and helped make possible the large number of fine illustrations that appeared in books and magazines in Britain during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
September 8-October 2, 2015

Founded in 1965 with the aim to further the interests of book collectors and to promote a wider appreciation of fine books, the Alcuin Society is the only non-profit organization in Canada dedicated to a wide range of interests related to books and reading. The Society encourages the best in Canadian book design by holding an annual competition. The exhibition features the winning entries to the competition.

Organized by the Alcuin Society.

National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Exhibition No. 50
24 April – 7 September 2015

This exhibition explores the relationship between Alex Colville (1920–2013) and Lincoln Kirstein (1907–1996), who co-founded the New York City Ballet in 1948. Colville and Kirstein were introduced by Edwin Hewitt of Manhattan’s Hewitt Gallery in 1952. After returning from the Second World War, during which he was assigned to the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Division of the Allied Armies, Lincoln Kirstein co-founded the New York City Ballet in 1948. After they met, Kirstein became one of Colville’s earliest and most influential patrons: he purchased three of his paintings in the 1950s and many of Colville’s serigraphs into the 1980s. Colville purposefully segregated himself from artists and art galleries, but his correspondence with Kirstein demonstrates that he remained engaged with, and aware of, trends in modern art. Through their correspondence, Kirstein became a sounding board for Colville’s reflections on art in general, as well as his own progress.

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