OTTAWA, May 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Leading supporters of the National Gallery of Canada will convene Wednesday evening, May 23, for the second annual Distinguished Patrons Soirée, to mark the opening the next day of Van Gogh: Up Close, a major exhibition of over 40 works by the famous Dutch artist.
"It is a privilege to welcome this extraordinary group of generous, public-spirited individuals who believe deeply in the mission of the National Gallery of Canada, and its goal of ensuring that Canadians across the country can discover and enjoy outstanding works of visual art," said Thomas d'Aquino, Chair of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation. (Distinguished Patrons are listed in the annex to this news release.)
The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, is the Patron of this year's Soirée. It will bring together 100 patrons and special guests from the worlds of business, government, and the arts, as well as the ambassadors of the ten countries which have loaned works to the Van Gogh exhibition: Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States.
One of these, Ambassador Wim Geerts of the Netherlands, will mark the occasion by donating to the Gallery a new six-volume edition of Van Gogh's letters prepared by the Van Gogh Museum and the Huygens Institute (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).
Van Gogh: Up Close is under the patronage of Her Majesty, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and His Excellency, the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Presenting Sponsor is Sun Life Financial.
In June 2011, Distinguished Patrons convened in Ottawa on the eve of the launch of the major exhibition Caravaggio and His Followers in Rome, an event that was followed by a Visual Arts Symposium.
The Distinguished Patrons of the National Gallery of Canada provide financial support for the Gallery's touring art exhibition program, the largest of its kind in the world. As well, from time to time, Patrons help the Gallery acquire major works of art. One such example is Canadian artist Joe Fafard's sculpture Running Horses. Having toured Canada, the horses now make a dramatic and much-loved statement in front of the Gallery.
"Our readiness to support the Gallery as Distinguished Patrons is tied to the superb quality of the team of professionals at the Gallery under the leadership of Director Marc Mayer," said Mr. d'Aquino. He added, "It is further enhanced by the majesty of the Gallery itself which we regard as one of our country's greatest cultural treasures, and a global centre of excellence of which Canadians can be proud."
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation which is responsible for the activities of Distinguished Patrons works closely with the Gallery's Board of Trustees. Board of Trustees Chair and Foundation member, Michael Audain said, "The Gallery benefits greatly from the contribution of volunteers from across Canada who recognize the importance of the arts to the national life of our country. The close cooperation between the Gallery Board and Foundation and the Gallery's Director and his team ensure that the work of our volunteers is effective."
Following this year's Soirée, Distinguished Patrons will reconvene on the morning of May 24 for an in-depth briefing on Van Gogh: Up Close by exhibition Co-Curators, Dr. Cornelia Homburg and Dr. Anabelle Kienle Poňka.
About the National Gallery of Canadian Foundation
The National Gallery of Canada Foundation is a philanthropic organization composed of a volunteer Board of Directors and supporters from across Canada and dedicated to ensuring the long-term viability and success of the National Gallery of Canada. Its primary mission is to cultivate support, to raise capital and to maintain and manage an endowment for the benefit of the National Gallery. Its offices are located at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. For more information, visit http://www.ngcfoundation.ca/.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art, including the extensive collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. 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 the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information: www.gallery.ca
For further information:
National Gallery of Canada Foundation
Executive Assistant to Thomas d'Aquino