Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Springtime Rises Up

I wanted a clear day for a more recent update from Major's Hill Park and Nepean Point, but on Easter Sunday, when I was downtown, something caught my eye. There was a very low lying fog on the Ottawa River, something that seemed to make the Gatineau shore seem to be floating above a cloud deck.

Colonel By seemed rather gloomy under the conditions. Most of the snow had been gone by this point, though there were the odd piles in shady spots, particularly on the slopes of Parliament Hill.

Coming up to Champlain's statue at the top of Nepean Point, the views around Ottawa and Gatineau were quite different from a sunny day. The effect looking east, towards the Macdonald Cartier Bridge, had the same effect of looking as if the bridge was floating in the clouds.

All in all, a very different mood from yesterday's post, but the fog made it irresistible. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Very Slow Spring

These shots date back to the 19th of March. I was passing through Major's Hill Park, where Colonel By's statue stands. In May, the flower beds around and behind him, as well as elsewhere in the park and beyond, will be showing off tulips for the Tulip Festival.

The views out onto the Ottawa River and Parliament Hill still show the snow and ice that was around here at the time.

This view across the park looks towards the U.S. Embassy.

While this view looks towards Notre Dame Basilica.

I headed up behind the National Gallery and up to the top of Nepean Point, where the statue of Champlain looks west over the river. The views from here over both Ottawa and Gatineau are a delight. Tomorrow I'll show you what it looked like here more recently.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sculptural Sets

I am adding in this link today, as it references the artist, Georges Braque, behind two of yesterday's paintings. Tracy was writing about the impact art has on her, and by chance, I was paying a visit to the Gallery that day and decided to track down his works.

Today I'm bringing this series from the National Gallery of Canada to a close. Alexander Calder's mobile sculpture Jacaranda dates to 1949. Wire and sheet metal, painted black, hang in this particular space, surrounded by the works of other artists.

I showed you these two sculptures last time I was here, but I thought they shared the same name. Canadian artist Brian Jungen did these two sculptures. Shapeshifter is on the right, while Vienna is on the left. The former was done in 2000, while the latter was made in 2003. Jungen used plastic chairs, cutting them up and reshaping them into whale skeletons. 

I finish this series with a look out from the balcony into the great hall of the Gallery. The Ottawa River can be seen beyond in the last light of day.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Modern Works

Dazzle Ships In Drydock At Liverpool is a 1919 oil canvas by the British artist Edward Wadsworth, depicting the First World War concept of breaking up the outline of ships by zig zag streaks of paint. 

British artist Wyndham Lewis painted A Canadian Gun Pit in 1918. Lewis was a proponent of the Vorticism movement, which was a reaction to Cubism and Futurism. He had been an artillery officer during the War, so this would have been very familiar to him.

Two works by the same artist had my attention. Georges Braque worked in the Cubist style, and this oval painting, a bit of a challenge to photograph, reflects that style. The Glass Of Absinthe is an oil painting from 1910-11, depicting a Parisien cafe scene in the Cubist style. 

Braque also painted this 1906 oil, The Port Of Antwerp, characteristic of his Fauve period of painting.

A side gallery has some very modern works, one of which I've shown before. This first one however I have not. Mark Rothko painted No. 16 in 1957. His style was very abstract.

The same applies for Voice Of Fire, the 1967 acrylic by American Barnett Newman, which caused quite a fuss back in the day among Canadians when the Gallery bought it for around a million dollars. It's apparently gone considerably up in value ever since. I don't get it, but that's modern art for you.

This one is by Jackson Pollock, viewable from two sides. No. 29, 1950 was done by the artist in 1950 on glass instead of canvas. He used black and aluminum enamel paint as his primary material, adding steel, string, pebbles, beads, and coloured glass to the work.

Friday, April 21, 2017


The Waterfalls is an oil painting by the French artist Gustave Courbet, done around 1872. It was one of his last landscapes in France before seeking asylum in Switzerland.

Here we have another example of using the Gallery spaces to frame shots.

The painting at the left in the above is this one. Hay Harvest At Eragny was done in 1901 by the French artist Camille Pissarro. The oil painting depicts life along the Epte River in France.

This is a new acquisition for the Gallery. Sunshine In The Drawing Room is a 1910 oil painting by the Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershoi. It is the last of four paintings the artist did set in his living room in Copenhagen where he lived with his wife. Hammershoi was inspired by the work of Vermeer, and tended to depict the room in a spare way. By having the woman sit with her back to the artist, we're left to wonder at her identity and what story might be at play here.

Vase With Zinnias And Geraniums is the title of this 1886 painting by Vincent van Gogh.

Hope I is an oil painting done in 1903 by the great Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, leader of the Vienna Secession movement. He held this back from the movement's first exhibition, as he felt the painting, depicting a naked pregnant woman, would distract from the work of his colleagues. Klimt strongly contrasts the idea of new life with what else is on the moody canvas- the destructive forces of death and disease above and around her. The painting is influenced somewhat by the death of his infant son the previous year. I chatted with a docent about this one and some nearby paintings; given the history of other Klimt paintings and the Austrian government, the Gallery has been very careful about the provenance of this one.

Marsh Meadows, Cookham caught my eye. It's a 1943 oil painting by the British artist Stanley Spencer, depicting a country scene near Cookham, with the Cliveden Woods in the background. Spencer tended to limit the number of his landscapes, preferring figure composition, so this was the only landscape he painted that year.

Sappers At Work: A Canadian Tunnelling Company is a 1919 oil painting by the British artist David Bomberg, depicting the digging of tunnels during the First World War as a means to advance on the enemy.

The Welsh artist Augustus John painted this portrait of T.E. Lawrence in 1935. Lawrence is known to history of course as Lawrence of Arabia.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


The Bridge At Narni is the title of this 1827 oil painting by the French artist Camille Corot, depicting a scene in the Italian countryside.

Jacobina Copland is the subject for this oil painting, done at some point between 1794-98 by the British artist Henry Raeburn.

The Salutation Of Beatrice is the work of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a British painter, dating at some point between 1859-63. It's oil and gold leaf on wood instead of canvas, depicting two scenes from Dante Aligheri's New Life and Divine Comedy.  

Windsor Castle From The Great Park is the title of this 1846 landscape by British artist David Cox the Elder.

I took another look at The Letter, an oil painting from around 1878 by the French artist James Tissot, which depicts a woman in the Dutch Garden of Holland House in London.

Last time I visited, I also photographed this, but at the time forgot to catch the display with the details. Spring is an 1873 marble bust by the French artist Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux. The playful expression is eye catching.

Today I finish with Portrait Of A Woman (After A 16th Century Florentine Drawing), an oil painting done by Edgar Degas around 1858-59. Degas paid a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence in 1858, and as artists do, made copies of the works of the Old Masters in chalk, including one attributed to Leonardo. He proceeded to make a full painting of his copy from that, and here we have it.