John William Waterhouse in Montreal

First I want to wish all my readers a Happy New Year! Thank you for reading my ramblings! I hope 2010 brings you lots of art and work.

We had planned of taking advantage of the fact that we were in Montreal for the New year and go see the Waterhouse exhibit (finally!) I had read James Gurney’s review of the exhibit and it had gotten my hopes high!

Gurney Journey visit to Montreal part 1
Gurney Journey visit to the museum part 2

We got to the museum early in the afternoon of the 31st. We knew that the museum closed early on that day so we wanted to make the most of our visit. There weren’t too many visitors so we had a good view of the paintings. As usual, people take their time at the begining of the visit but were in much more of a hurry in the later rooms, that suits me fine!

So as we came in, we noticed that the exhibit was set against matte black walls accented by deeper glossy black, I love working blacks glossy against matte and it made me want to work like that again! The set up was beautiful yet it did not steal the attention from the pieces. There was plenty of space in front of the huge pieces with benches so one could sit and contemplate the masterpieces. One of the things that doesn’t really render in prints or scans is how painterly some parts of the paintings are. Maybe because a scan or a print can only be a small fraction of the size of the original. Some of these are HUGE… Definately worth seeing. There also was a projection that was part of the Waterhouse exhibit but it was a  bit abstract for me and I didn’t see the link with Waterhouse so I didn’t stay for the whole thing.

At the same time, there was a smaller exhibit about Napoleon sowe went to see that, the paintings tended to be a  bit stiff but the marbles were all kinds of awesome. There was also a whole lot of silverware and artifacts related to Napoleon’s reign. Not a bit exhibit, but if you are there, it’s worth taking a walk through there.

And since we had a wee bit of time left, we went to the basement to see the contemporary art rooms that we usually never have time to see. We usually skip the contemporary art to go see the Bouguereau and the dutch still lives sections. Well, there were the obligatory Borduas and Riopelle which are not ininteresting but they are exactly like the ones at Musée d’Art Contemporain so it was a bit disapointing. We saw a whole lot of crap, some interesting concepts, stuff that was definately decorative and made a few discoveries. One was Harold Town‘s Snap # Double envelope from 1976 and one was Dorian Fitzgerald‘s The Throne Room, Queluz National Palace, Lisbon made in 2009. It’s kind of hard to find cohesive information about these artists online! Dorian, upgrade your website!

All in all, it was a very good visit. The exhibit about Waterhouse finishes on February the 7th so you still have a month to go.

You can see more about the exhibit here. Or about the museum in general here.


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