I spent the entire day at the Art Gallery of Ontario. They don’t allow pictures in there, of course, but a selection of what I was able to get is below. The rest will be links.
When I got there right at opening, there was a line-up – something I’d never seen at a gallery. Turns out it was a member preview for the Chagall exhibit that opens in a few days. I thought about buying a membership just to get in to see it, but the lineup was so big it would have meant I would have had less time to see the other exhibits. Besides, Chagall really doesn’t turn my crank anyway.
My favourite stuff was probably the Thomson collection of medieval art on the main floor – I spent almost twice as much time there as in any other gallery.
What struck me time after time is that I would come across a familiar piece by Emily Carr or Lawren Harris or someone else, something that I’d seen as a print many times, and would have to remind myself that no, this is the original I’m looking at, this is where all those prints came from.
Something that prints don’t allow you to do is examine the craft that went into these pieces: the brushstrokes (or lack of them in some cases!), the colors used to create a certain kind of light, and so on.
The AGO’s renovation (well, new to me at least, even though it’s 3 years old) is magnificent, especially the “Italian Gallery”‘ the one that you see pictures of all the time. Well, you’re going to see a couple more, so bear with me.
You can also see the exhibit that’s been in there since the gallery opened. In the large trunk and the pieces along the wall, the artist carefully stripped away the wood of the tree, revealing the younger version of it embedded inside.
That’s about it for pictures. Other highlights were: the Lawren Harris paintings, as I mentioned; the “salon” recreations (paintings jammed in next to each other, pretty overwhelming in a good way; the larger paintings like this one (the measurements really don’t give you any idea of what the thing is like in person, all the figures are life-size!); the Pope bust; and – well, I could go on, but I won’t.