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Montreal, June 12, 2001 – The McCord Museum invites the public to discover the work of Cornelius Krieghoff (1815-1872) in the first full-scale retrospective devoted to Canada's best-known painter of the 19th century.The exhibition runs from June 22 to October 8, 2001.

A self-taught artist with a strong entrepreneurial streak, Krieghoff made his mark by depicting the inherent qualities of his adopted homeland, illustrating the lives of those he saw as most firmly rooted in the land: First Nations peoples and French-Canadians. Above all, he set out to capture the splendours of the Canadian landscape in all its seasonal nuances, employing a wealth of visual effects, with alternating light and shade, and intricate blends of colours. Precise brushwork, an anecdotal style and occasional humorous touches are Krieghoff's hallmarks. The exhibition Krieghoff: Images of Canada explores the artist's role as an interpreter of Canadian life and landscape in the years leading up to Confederation.

Visitors may find Krieghoff's images familiar. During his lifetime, his 1,800 known Canadian canvases were eagerly sought after, and today, almost 130 years after his death, his works continue to be much in demand. They are seen to symbolize an idealized Canadian past.

First major retrospective of Krieghoff's work
Arranged chronologically, the exhibition introduces us to the major themes of Krieghoff's art, placing his work in the context of his life. More than 120 oil paintings and prints are exhibited, including a number from the McCord's own collection, among them, a recent acquisition entitled The Shakspeare Club. On public view for the first time, this painting will be shown exclusively during the exhibition's stay at the McCord Museum.

While some of the exhibition's works are borrowed from public institutions, many are also on loan from private or corporate collections - such as those of Kenneth R. Thomson of Toronto, Peter Winkworth of London (England), and the Power Corporation in Montréal - and have thus rarely been seen by the public. This travelling exhibition was prepared and is being circulated by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The exhibition was curated by Dennis Reid, the AGO's Chief Curator, whom we are delighted to welcome at the opening, and who describes the exhibition thus: "Krieghoff's images of Canada are romantic, of another time, and in many ways about another place, a Canada that in part existed only in his vision. They are images that have survived now a century and a half or more, informing the imaginations of succeeding generations about the Canadian past and, inevitably, the present."

During the summer and fall of 2001, visitors to the McCord will have a wonderful opportunity to see Cornelius Krieghoff's work and his vision of Canada in a new light.

Address and opening hours
The McCord Museum is located at 690, Sherbrooke Street West. The Museum is open from Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the summer months and on Holidays, the Museum is open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission (including taxes) is $9.50 for adults, $5 for students, $19 for families, $7 for seniors, and $3 for children between 7 and 12. Children aged 6 and under are admitted free.

Slides, period music and digital images available on request.

Source: Nike Langevin
(514) 398-7100, extension 251

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Krieghoff: Images of Canada is presented by: