Monday, November 2, 2015

The most exciting thing in Ottawa

The reason for our recent trip to Ottawa was an invitation to an opening at the National Gallery of Canada.

 Larry's cousin Sharon, and her husband Dennis Lanigan were in Ottawa for the opening of "Beauty's Awakening: Drawings by the Pre-Raphaelites and Their Contemporaties from the Lanigan Collection."   Its title has been borrowed from an 1899 play in which a knight seeks to find and awaken “the Spirit of all things beautiful.”

Dennis T. Lanigan is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in Saskatoon. In other words, if your face gets kicked in by a horse Dennis is the man to see. He also has a healthy obsession with Pre-Raphaelite Victorian artwork. After four decades of hunting and acquiring more than 400 works of art, including sculpture, stained glass and decorative objects, the family has very generously donated part of this private collection to the National Gallery of Canada. The National Gallery is presenting 124 drawings representing 57 artists. Dennis also has a magnificent collection of William Morris ties.

This article in Fine Art Connoisseur describes this wonderful exhibit much more eloquently than I ever could and it's a fascinating read.

We had a wonderful private tour of the exhibit and were fascinated by Dennis' stories of not only the artists, but also of his tales of acquisition of several pieces. His passion is infectious and in many cases I think I would have to agree with him that his drawings are as exciting, if not more so, than the painting which followed these preliminary studies. I have shown the drawings and followed them up with pictures of the paintings in which they appear.

Frederick Sandys (1829–1904), “King Pelles’s Daughter Bearing the Vessel of the Sanc Graal,” 1861, pen and black ink on paper, 12 5/8 x 9 1/4 in. Promised gift to the National Gallery of Canada from the Lanigan Collection

Edward Burne-Jones, “Study for the Slave in ‘The Wheel of Fortune’,” ca.1875-1883, Black chalk on paper, 11 3/4 x 6 1/4 in. Promised gift to the National Gallery of Canada from the Lanigan Collection

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882), “Study of the Figure of Love for ‘Dante’s Dream at the Time of the Death of Beatrice’,” 1874, red, gray, and brown chalk on paper, 23 1/4 x 16 3/4 in. Donated in 2015 to the National Gallery of Canada from the Lanigan Collection

If you happen to be in Ottawa anytime soon, The National Gallery of Canada is a wonderful place to visit and I assure you, you will want to start drawing/sketching something right away. If you happen to miss the exhibit here in Canada, it will travel next to Leighton House Museum in London, England.

Cymon and Iphigenia. Frederic Lord Leighton, P. R. A. (1830-1896). 1884. Oil on canvas

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful experience for you at the NAC with a collector you know well. I found the story in Fine Art Connoisseur fascinating as it explained how Dennis began his collection and how his interests grew. The fact that you got to enjoy this event in the Nation's capital, your home town, made it all the more special I am sure. This is one more precious memory connected to Ottawa.