Saturday, September 22, 2018

The Ordrupgaard

Impressionist Treasures: The Ordrupgaard Collection was the title of a temporary exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada this past summer. The Ordrupgaard is an acclaimed national museum in Denmark, a collection built up by the Danish businessman Wilhelm Hansen and his wife Henny during the early years of the 20th century. Named for the residence of the Hansens in Copenhagen, the collection and the property was bequeathed to Denmark after their deaths. The museum is undergoing a renovation project at the moment, and so the Ordrupgaard has sent portions of their collection on tour for the duration. Over seventy paintings from the collection formed this exhibit of works with an emphasis on the French Impressionists, who were particular favourites of the Hansens. Danish artists were also included in the exhibition. With the exception of one painting included in the exhibition from the National Gallery's own collection, everything else displayed was from the Ordrupgaard, at least that I noticed looking at the identification panels.

One of the first things one saw upon entry was a period photograph of the house on a large scale, and a quote from Wilhelm close by.

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres painted Dante Offering The Divine Comedy To Homer. It is related to his monumental mural Apotheosis Of Homer which was originally a ceiling panel in the Louvre. Two dates, both marked in the accompanying panel date it to the 19th century- 1827 and 1864-65. I would assume that applies to the two works. It is an oil painting.

Eugene Delacroix painted this portrait in 1838. George Sand is one half of a double portrait showing the French writer who was a friend of Delacroix. The other half of the painting, now at the Louvre, is of the composer Frederic Chopin, who was her lover at the time. The reason for the division of the painting is unknown.

Delacroix also painted Ugolino And His Sons in 1860. It takes a sequence from Dante's Divine Comedy in depicting the fall from grace of Count Ugolino and his family.

Gustave Courbet painted The Cliffs Near Etretat in 1869. This place along the Normandy coast was a favourite locale for the artist while staying in the area in August and September of that year. 

Courbet was also behind this painting done in 1866. The Ruse, Roe Deer Hunting Episode (Franche-Comte) is an oil canvas showing the social activity of the hunt, a stark contrast to the expectations of the Exposition Universelle of 1867 that would have favoured religious or historical material.

Courbet painted this oil painting in 1861. The Wiremakers' Workshops On The River Loue, Near Ornans depicts the distinctive countryside where he had come from in Franche-Comte.

Seascape, Overcast is the title of this 1874 oil painting by Charles-Francois Daubigny. Visits to Normandy had a strong influence on the artist.

Camile Corot painted Young Italian Woman Seated Near A Lake at some point between 1850-55.

Corot painted this oil canvas around the same time. Dancing Nymphs takes mythology for inspiration. It is similar to another work by the artist at the Musee d'Orsay. Four nymphs dance in a circle around a drunken man lying on the ground.

Today I finish with another Corot. Hamlet And The Gravedigger was done circa 1870-75 and depicts the scene in Act V of the play in which the Danish prince comes across the freshly reopened tomb of the court jester Yorick, who he'd known as a child.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Gallery Views

I went into the National Gallery of Canada a couple of times, a few days apart, the first in late August, the second on Labour Day, specifically for the Impressionists Treasures exhibition, which we'll have a look at starting tomorrow. On both days I stopped at the glass tower that gives views out over the surrounding area. This view towards Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court was on the first visit.

And this was on Labour Day.

This looks towards the entrance of the Impressionist Treasures exhibit.

I took shots in two settings from the corridor that's off to the right in the above shot, looking back at the glass tower.

In both visits, I took in the permanent galleries but didn't photograph much. I had a chance on the second occasion to chat with one of the docents about a couple of works- a Bernini sculpture and a painting featuring the Roman god Vulcan; the docent program is a wonderful idea. 

I did want to show you a couple of spaces that I did photograph. A room at the end of the World Art collection often features a smaller temporary exhibit. At the time of my visit, it was Masters Of Venetian Portraiture: Veronese, Tiepolo, Vittoria. It presented some paintings, sculpture, and sketches. It was centred around this terracotta bust by sculptor Alessandro Vittoria of his patron. Giulio Contarini dates to the years 1570-76 and is part of the National Gallery's collection. For a reason lost to history, Titian is erroneously marked on its base.

This formidable painting, on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is a case of an artist painting a fellow artist. Alesandro Vittoria is titled for its subject, and the artist is Paolo Veronese, done around 1580 when Vittoria was in his mid fifties.

Here we have another work, part of the National Gallery's collection. American artist Timothy Cole did this engraving on paper, rendering the art he was seeing in Europe onto paper. This is based on a Veronese, Venice Enthroned Between Justice And Peace. Cole did this in 1892. The original is in Venice.

Here we have a view of one of the interior courtyards, which features a garden.

And for today I finish off with a view looking out from the glass tower on Labour Day, with the American embassy and Major's Hill Park looming beneath a dramatic sky.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


The National Holocaust Monument was opened last year in the Lebreton Flats area, situated between the War Museum and the Canadian Firefighters Memorial. The first time I visited the monument was in the evening, which I think was fitting- it seems even more solemn by night. I have shown you it by day here and here, but I wanted to show it in evening conditions. The Monument was designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, as a stylized Star of David from above, done with concrete angles in his signature style. Historian Doris Bergen and landscape architect Claude Cormier worked with Libeskind in the project on the historical panels and the surrounding shrubberies and plants. And photographer Edward Burtynsky contributed several current day images of Holocaust sites on a large scale, etched onto the walls. This view is from the entrance on the west side.

This is one of the Burtynsky photographs. Site Of Death March shows a country road near Mauthausen, Austria, as it appears today. Towards the end of the war, death marches were initiated by the Nazis as a measure to hide their crimes. Twenty thousand sick and weakened Jewish prisoners were taken along this road from the death camps into places still held by the German military. Those who couldn't keep up were shot and left in the ditches.

This large one on the wall, shown from two angles, is titled Abandoned Railbed. It shows the old railbed at Treblinka, where 900 000 Jews and thousands of Roma and Sinti were gassed to death. Decades later, the forest is moving in on the former railbed.

Across from it is another photograph etched on the wall. Fence, Auschwitz-Birkenau depicts the preserved barriers of the death camp.

Turning to the left gives a view of this photograph, on a section between sharp angles. Track 17 as it appears today shows the Berlin freight yard where many Jews and other persecuted peoples were put on the trains to death camps and the ghettos.

Turning back around, this perspective gives us the historical panels on the left, across from Site Of Death March.

Hiding Place depicts a Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, outside the walls of the ghetto. A trench beneath the tombstones became a hiding spot for Jewish prisoners. 

Prayer Room is the last of these large scale etched photographs by Burtynsky. Found in Theresienstadt in what is today the Czech Republic, it was created in the midst of the camp-ghetto conditions as a place of prayer and devotion, and has been preserved.

A staircase leads up to an overlook that ends pointing towards Parliament Hill. Turning around, I photographed the structure. Two other visitors are visible up here.

And I finish with this view of the east side of the Monument.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Final Views

In 2013 on this date, my first post here at Ottawa Daily Photo was published, so five years are done, and today kicks off year six of the blog.

I bring to a close this visit from the Canadian Museum of History picking up where I left off in the Grand Hall. The Spirit Of Haida Gwaii is the original plaster casting of a sculpture by the Haida artist Bill Reid. Two bronze castings of the work are on display at the Canadian embassy in Washington and at the international airport in Vancouver.

Here at the south end of the Grand Hall is the magnificent Morning Star mural by Alex Janvier, up on the ceiling, viewed from the ground floor. If I had to pick a favourite work of art in the National Capital Region, it would be this one.

I took the escalator up to the second level to depart, photographing out the windows towards the river and the Alexandra Bridge.

Outside, I like to take a shot when I come here of the fountain outside the main entrance, with Parliament Hill in the background. 

On a terrace just a few steps up is a Japanese zen garden, carefully planted with specific trees, shrubs, and other plants, with raked gravel between the islands of green.

Here we have a view from the upper terrace looking across to Ottawa. Note the reflecting pool down at the right.

The water feature from above spills over a series of terraces and down ramps, forming artificial waterfalls as it goes. It comes down into this reflecting pool, and ends up making its way down towards the Ottawa River itself, while pumps bring some of the river water back up to the top. 

Keeping close to the building's edge, one can get behind the waterfall for this view.

I finish off today with two views of a sculpture in the reflecting pool- you can see it in the shot from the upper terrace. This first take is from within the Grand Hall. The Kwakwaka'wakw artist Mary Anne Barkhouse descends from a line of fellow artists along the Pacific coast, and this sculpture, titled 'namaxsala, means 'To Travel in a Boat Together' in English. She's also the artist who did the Locavore sculpture that I showed you in my theme day post at the start of the month.

Here we see it from the outside. Done in 2013 in copper, bronze, stainless steel, and stone, it reflects First Nations culture, and is inspired by a story told by Barkhouse's grandfather- of helping a wolf "cross a treacherous piece of water on a boat, on the West coast of Canada." The accompanying plaques, inside and outside, note in the artist's statement that "my grandfather's stories always offered an alternative view for considering the world around me. And so, I relate one of them here, to help negotiate cooperation with the 'other' and inclusion of the wild."

Tuesday, September 18, 2018


A reminder to members of City Daily Photo: the theme day for October is Change.

This is a view of the entrance hall at the Museum of History.

Taken from above, here is the Grand Hall.

Totem poles and facades typical of the Pacific Coast first nations are found here.