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Indepth Arts News:

"20th Century Masterworks from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto"
2002-01-11 until 2002-04-21
Appleton Museum of Art
Ocala, FL, USA United States of America

The magic continues at the Appleton Museum of Art, January 11th; 20th Century Masterworks from the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), Toronto have arrived. The Museum staff is preparing the exhibition showcasing 22 superb works by Picasso, Matisse, Dufy, Magritte, Severini, Bonnard, Nolde, Dix, Appell and others.

Until now, this collection has not been available for loan during the 100-year history of the AGO. Following their exhibition at Appleton, these masterworks will return to Toronto and be re-installed in the AGO permanent collection galleries. The opportunity to bring them here is truly: Once in Our Lifetime. The collection features two outstanding works by Picasso. The Soup 1902 is a poignant, poetic painting that is a widely reproduced principal example from the artist’s blue period. Seated Woman 1926 is one of the very most memorable, graphically powerful paintings within the prolific career of Picasso; it marks the artist’s transition from Cubism to Surrealism.

The exhibition follows two paths. One can trace the evolution of many of the key modern movements associated with the School of Paris, and see how this is transformed in the hands of modern English painters: Nicholson, John, Hodgkins and Hockney. The exhibition commences with a singularly beautiful still life painting by Odilon Redon and two very fine impressionistic landscapes by the French Intimist artist, Pierre Bonnard. Following upon the delicate, subjective inventive color of Bonnard, the works of Expressionists: Nolde, Dix and Utrillo, and Fauvists: Matisse and Dufy explode with vibrant color and animated brushwork.

The Cubist paintings of Villon and Marcousis serve as steps in the stylistic progression to Severini’s Futurist abstraction and the formalist abstract still life of Ben Nicholson. Through the work of the cubists, art was transformed forever. Art thereafter was intent upon creating brand new visual experiences for the world, not simply satisfied to re-present pictures based upon the appearance of the existing world.

The many faces of Surrealism are well represented in the AGO collection. Picasso’s 1926 surrealist painting is a natural companion to the organic forms of the biomorphic surrealist abstraction by Hans Arp. The Birthday by René Magritte, is an extraordinary dreamlike, classic surrealist picture. The photo-realistic painting depicts a huge granite rock completely filling a room. On the one hand, we can recognize clearly everything that is presented. Yet, it is absurd, nonsensical. What can it meanNULL We are in the captivating, territory of irrational, playful dream imagery that seems insistently real. Tanguy’s abstract personages play out some drama upon an otherworldly plateau. Meanwhile Matta, reaches into the subconscious to engage in automatic drawing, without the conscious control of rational thought. His work is one of the evident precursors of American Abstract Expressionism, and is thereby a fitting companion for Karl Appel’s abstracted figurative work of the late fifties.

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