Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883): Master of Imagination - Be amazed by the spectacular and familiar works that have inspired generations

On view until September 14, 2014

OTTAWA, June 11, 2014 /CNW/ - From now until September 14, nearly 100 striking works of art by Gustave Doré—one of the most extraordinary artists of the 19th century—are being showcased at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) for the North American exclusive exhibition Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883): Master of Imagination. These spectacular and familiar works, in which fantasy and reality overlap, have inspired generations. Organized by the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Musée d'Orsay in Paris, the exhibition is the first comprehensive retrospective in thirty years devoted to this tremendous artist. For more information, visit the exhibition site.

A master of many genres
At just 15 years of age, Doré began his career as a caricaturist. He later became a professional illustrator, contributing to the birth of the comic strip and the graphic novel. Doré created well-known illustrations for classics such as Perrault's Fairy Tales, Cervantes' Don Quixote and Dante's Inferno, as well as his extraordinary edition of the Bible. Doré also revived history painting to depict the disasters of the Franco-Prussian War from 1870-1871 and the consequent loss of his native Alsace.

Gifted with remarkable inventiveness, this ardent and prolific artist captured the intensity of nature and created otherworldly realms of fantasy. This ingenuity led him to produce large-scale canvases and enormous Baroque sculptures, as well as insightful ink drawings and detailed engravings. Unswayed by new trends, Doré was guided principally by his own extraordinary imagination and has since become a fertile source of inspiration to many 20th- and 21st-century artists and filmmakers.

A brilliant artist, reinstated
The exhibition showcases Doré's great artistic diversity. During his lifetime, he was known mostly as an illustrator—much to his chagrin; he dreamed of becoming one of the most renowned painters of his time. Doré's versatility can be seen across his prints, drawings, watercolours, paintings and sculptures, ranging from spectacular panoramas to intimate studies on paper. By presenting the broad range of mediums with which he worked, the exhibition seeks to re-establish Doré as a complete artist.

An exhibition with seven themes
The exhibition focuses on seven themes: following an operatic-style overture built around the exceptional loan of Poème de la Vigne—an immense bronze that belongs to the de Young Museum in San Francisco—the exhibition continues through the Satirical and Popular Reporter, Literary Imagination, Landscapes, the Franco-Prussian War, journeys in Spain and London, and finally the rebirth of Religious Art.

The exhibition is enriched with excerpts from some 20 films projected on three screens, produced by some of the world's cinematic giants—from Georges Méliès, Jean Cocteau, Cecil B. DeMille to Jean-Jacques Annaud, and Roman Polanski —whose works were unquestionably influenced by Doré. Guests can also learn more about Doré by watching a 52-minute documentary produced by ARTE, showing in one of the exhibition rooms.

Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883): Master of Imagination brings together works from prestigious public and private collections, including the Musée d'Orsay, San Francisco's De Young Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The curators of Gustave Doré (1832 - 1883): Master of Imagination are Paul Lang, deputy director and chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada; Édouard Papet, chief curator of the Musée d'Orsay; and Philippe Kaenel, professor of art history at the University of Lausanne and an expert on Doré.

Public programs
Visitors will be able to choose from an exceptional selection of educational programs on the various aspects of the exhibition as well as related special events: lectures, meetings with the curator, a film series, concerts and hands-on workshops. For complete program details, visit the exhibition website.

A 336-page richly illustrated colour catalogue complements this exhibition. Edited by Professor Philippe Kaenel, a professor of art history at the University of Lausanne and an expert on Doré, the catalogue contains essays by a team of scholars: Marc Mayer, Guy Cogeval, Philippe Kaenel, Erika Dolphin, David Kunzle, David Skilton, Bertrand Tillier, Côme Fabre, Valérie Sueur-Hermel, Isabelle Saint-Martin, Baldine Saint Girons, Édouard Papet, Paul Lang, Eric Zafran, Anne Markova, Valentine Robert and Philippe Druillet. Published with Éditions Flammarion by the Musée d'Orsay, the hardcover catalogue is available in English and French for $45. Member pricing: $38.25. On sale at the NGC Bookstore or online at

NGC Magazine, the National Gallery of Canada's online magazine is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and the goings-on at the National Gallery of Canada.  Correspondents from across the country provide engaging and exclusive content on historical and contemporary art in Canada. This online magazine includes exclusive interviews with artists. This month, read Gustave Doré's illustrious imagination .

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Adults: $16; seniors and full-time students (ID required): $14; youth aged 12-19: $7, families (two adults and three youth): $32. Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members. Includes admission to the collection.

The NGC is open Monday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. For more information call 613-990-1985 or 1-800-319-ARTS.

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. 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. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art exhibition programme. For more information: 

SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada

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For more information, please contact:
Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada


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