Alex Colville at the National Gallery of Canada

OTTAWA, April 22, 2015 /CNW/ - From April 23 to September 7, 2015, the National Gallery of Canada's premier summer exhibition will captivate visitors with a fresh perspective on the work of Alex Colville, one of Canada's most celebrated artists.

The exhibition, organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) with the collaboration of the National Gallery, is the largest Colville retrospective ever shown. The presentation in Ottawa is sponsored by Enbridge Inc. and supported by Heffel Fine Art Auction House. Presented first at the AGO in 2014, Alex Colville was the best-attended Canadian exhibition in the museum's history.

"We are proud to bring Alex Colville to Ottawa for our summer season, after its spectacular run in Toronto, with an additional display of a series of preparatory drawings, which the artist gave to the National Gallery in 2013. These will be shown for the very first time," said NGC director and CEO Marc Mayer. "Colville's paintings possess a peculiar intensity and a crisp style of brushwork, as he probes deeply into the essence of the moment he is depicting," added Mr. Mayer.

With more than 250 paintings, sketches, prints and drawings – including 17 works from the National Gallery's collection and more than 100 preparatory drawings from the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives –  the exhibition brings into focus Colville's aesthetics, born out of the residual scars of his experience in war. Charting a course through five main sections that explore the complete career of this Maritime painter, Alex Colville begins on the front lines of the Second World War and moves though the artist's life and times. To find out more about the exhibition, visit

About Alex Colville
David Alexander Colville was born in Toronto on August 24, 1920. In 1929, his family moved to Amherst, Nova Scotia. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mount Allison University in 1942, he married Rhoda Wright, and enlisted in the Canadian Army. Following the war, he taught drawing and painting at Mount Allison University from 1946 until 1963, when he retired to paint full-time.

Though most of his peers had turned to abstraction, Colville remained true to his own style. He steadily rose to the top of the art world through the 1960s, '70s and '80s, exhibiting across Canada, Europe and Asia, and representing Canada at the prestigious Venice Biennale. His paintings inspired constant debate and controversy: some critics hailed him as "the most important realist painter of the Western world" and "the best Canadian artist of his time," while others dismissed his work as "regional" and "mediocre." Still, the accolades were plentiful: honorary degrees, prizes, a Governor General's Award and an appointment to the Order of Canada. In 1973, Alex and Rhoda moved to her childhood home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Colville died on July 16, 2013, just seven months after Rhoda's death.

Colville's iconic paintings present scenes of everyday Canadian life. However, there is something about his work that leaves viewers intrigued, and often uneasy. Meticulously realized, Colville's images suggest something beyond the moment. They hint at intimacy, vulnerability and potential menace. With this haunting mix of the ordinary and the extraordinary, Colville deftly directs our focus to the uncertainty of everyday appearances and experiences. Exploring issues of anxiety and control, trust and love, Colville's particular view of the world is profound.

Exhibition catalogue
A 170-page hardcover catalogue is available from the NGC Bookstore for a special exhibition price of $35 (regular $45) as well as at, the Gallery's online boutique.

Public program
A series of public activities is organized in conjunction with the exhibition: talks, a film screening, a music performance, meetings with the curators, and much more. For more details, visit

NGC Magazine, the National Gallery's online magazine, is a frequently updated source of information on the Canadian art world and events 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 also includes interviews with artists. Read the articles Alex Colville: Of dogs, guns and bathers and  Acquisition of Alex Colville's Preparatory Drawings now online.

Special admission price for the Alex Colville includes all other exhibitions and the collection. Tickets: $16 (adults); $14 (seniors and full-time students); $7 (youth: 12-19); $32 (families: two adults and three youth). Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members.

General admission price includes all exhibitions (excluding Colville) and the collection. Tickets: $12 (adults); $10 (seniors and full-time students); $6 (youth: 12-19); $24 (families: two adults and three youth). Admission is free for children under the age of 12 and for Members.

The NGC is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursdays until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays until May 1. From May 16 to September 7, 2015, the Gallery is staying open one hour longer, i.e. until 6 pm from Friday to Wednesday. The Gallery will still be open until 8 pm on Thursdays. 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. For more information, visit

Connect with the Gallery
Follow the Gallery's latest news on its social media networks:  Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Join the conversation with #ColvilleNGC

SOURCE National Gallery of Canada

Image with caption: "Alex Colville - To Prince Edward Island, 1965 - Acrylic emulsion on masonite - 61.9 x 92.5 cm - National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa - Photo © NGC (CNW Group/National Gallery of Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: For media only: Josée-Britanie Mallet, Senior Media and Public Relations Officer, National Gallery of Canada, 613.990.6835 / ; A series of images in high and low resolutions are available in the Media Centre, through the section "For the media" at

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890