OTTAWA, Dec. 8, 2015 /CNW/ - The National Gallery of Canada Foundation and the National Gallery of Canada are delighted to announce today a donation of fifty paintings by Canadian artist, James Wilson Morrice (1865-1924) from the A.K. Prakash Foundation. Assembled over four decades by Toronto art patron and scholar, Ash K. Prakash, the donation is in honour of the 150th anniversary of the artist's birth.
In recognition of this donation valued in excess of $20 million, one of the Gallery's Canadian art exhibition rooms will be named the Ash K. Prakash Gallery for twenty-five years.
James Wilson Morrice (1865–1924) is among the most influential Canadian painters of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. He remains Canada's leading proponent of post-impressionism to this day. Living in France from 1890, Morrice focused on scenes of modern life, vividly depicting the streets, markets, cafés and parks of Paris. His seascapes from Brittany and Normandy—together with scenes of Italy, North Africa and the West Indies—demonstrate his sensitive use of colour. Highlights from the A.K. Prakash Collection include The Pink House, Montreal, c. 1905-1908; Le jardin du Luxembourg, Paris, 1905-1908; Havre, 1909; and Canal in Venice, c.1898-1900, which are among the masterpieces of his career.
The A.K. Prakash Collection was the most significant remaining private collection of J.W. Morrice's works. This donation considerably strengthens the National Gallery of Canada's holdings of work by the artist, which has long been the single largest collection of paintings by Morrice. In 1909, the Gallery was the first public collection in Canada to acquire the artist's work. His representation in the collection was later expanded through key purchases and gifts from private collections, including the Blair Laing collection gift from 1989.
Mr. Ash K. Prakash is a noted Canadian art collector and author of Impressionism in Canada: A Journey of Rediscovery (2014). "The collection represents a governing force of my life's work. It is my gift to Canada donated in the hope that Morrice will inspire and enrich the lives of my fellow citizens and help remind us that Canadian art stands with the best in the world." Mr. Prakash is a Distinguished Patron of the Gallery and serves as a Director on the Board of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation.
"This gift to the National Gallery is extraordinary, not only for the number and the rarity of these works, but for the tremendous capacity it provides us for comprehensive research and programing around James Wilson Morrice, a key figure for Canadian art" stated NGC Director Marc Mayer. "As a Canadian, I am deeply grateful to Mr. Prakash for his profound generosity to our country's national collection."
"We are very pleased to inaugurate the Ash K. Prakash Gallery, within our museum. This new gallery naming recognizes an extraordinary gift by an individual who is a leading art scholar and historian, a proud Canadian and a friend", commented Michael J. Tims, Chair of the National Gallery of Canada's Board of Trustees.
In April 2017 the Canadian national collection galleries at the National Gallery of Canada will be re-launched to the public on the occasion of the sesquicentennial celebration of Canadian Confederation. The A.K. Prakash Collection: J.W. Morrice will be featured in the reinstallation and a special exhibition devoted to it is planned for 2017. A major retrospective on J. W. Morrice, drawing from other major Canadian public and private collections is also planned for 2019, and will include an international tour.
"Ash Prakash's knowledge and love of Canadian art is legendary" commented Thomas d'Aquino, Chairman of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, "As a collector, author, connoisseur and advocate, he is tireless in reminding Canadians of our unique history and tradition in the visual arts. His generous gift of fifty paintings by James Wilson Morrice is testament to his deep attachment to the National Gallery of Canada. We at the National Gallery of Canada Foundation thank and salute Ash Prakash, our friend and colleague, fellow Director and Distinguished Patron. His philanthropy has enriched the Gallery and the nation".
About J. W. Morrice
In the history of Canadian art, Morrice holds an important place not only as a melancholy recorder of a bygone era, but as one of the earliest modern painters. He left his native city, Montreal, in the late 1880's to pursue a career as an artist in Paris and settled there for the rest of his life. In just over two decades, he became the first Canadian artist to build a career of enviable international stature. At the time of his death in 1924, J. W. Morrice was represented in the collections of the Musée du Luxembourg in Paris, the Musée des beaux-arts de Lyon, the Tate Gallery in London, the Pennsylvania Museum of Art, the Barnes Collection in Philadelphia, the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh, the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the National Gallery of Canada and many others.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. In 2015, the National Gallery of Canada established the Canadian Photography Institute, a global multidisciplinary research center dedicated to the history, evolution and future of photography. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. For more information, visit gallery.ca and follow us on Twitter @gallerydotca.
About the National Gallery of Canada Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is dedicated to supporting the National Gallery of Canada in fulfilling its mandate. By fostering strong philanthropic partnerships, the Foundation provides the Gallery with the additional financial support required to lead Canada's visual arts community locally, nationally and internationally. The blend of public support and private philanthropy empowers the Gallery to preserve and interpret Canada's visual arts heritage. The Foundation welcomes present and deferred gifts for special projects and endowments. To learn more about the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, visit gallery.ca/en/give/foundation.php.
About the A. K. Prakash Foundation
The A.K. Prakash Foundation is dedicated to advancing Canadian historical art at home and abroad and promoting Canadian expertise to improve global access to health and well-being. The Foundation has supported a series of important exhibitions of historical Canadian art and funds an international surgical training program at the University of Toronto.
SOURCE National Gallery of Canada
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