McMichael - Canadian Art | Collection d'art Canadien

Past Exhibits

Information on McMichael’s past exhibitions from 1998 to present, organized by year.

If you would like further information on any of the exhibitions you see below, please contact us

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In Studio: Jack Bush

June 4, 2016 – February 20, 2017
Curator: Sarah Stanners
Presented in Partnership with Esker Foundation, Calgary

The Ontario premiere of Jack Bush: In Studio at the McMichael will be the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in a major public gallery in the vicinity of Toronto since the early 1980s. In the most classic sense, the word studio is defined as “room for study.” This exhibition was conceived as an opportunity to gather 20 select paintings in a new space with the aim to spark study.

Fifteen of the paintings in show were made in a small one-room studio in Bush’s family home in North Toronto. In 1968, after 41 years of working in commercial art studios, and nearly a lifetime of painting at home, a fellow artist offered Bush studio space in downtown Toronto. The remaining five works in the exhibition were painted there, where he would execute most of his very large paintings from 1968 until his death in January 1977.

The most intimate conversations held in the studio were between Jack and his primary subject: colour. The studio was a sounding board for the artist; a place to face dead ends and challenges; a place to test colour and make it sing; a place to both putter and make grand statements; and, most of all, a place to be absorbed in art.

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Needles and Pins: Colleen Heslin

June 4, 2016 – February 20, 2017
Organized and circulated by Esker Foundation, Calgary
Curator: Naomi Potter

Colleen Heslin’s paintings resonate with the tension of material and gestural complexity. The artist hand-dyes cotton and linen in small batches, and hangs them to dry, which develops residual surface textures. The stained fabric is then cut and pieced together – similar to quilt-making construction. Colour is in constant dialogue; the pure simplicity of isolated colour is central to every painting. Considering formal abstraction and craft-based methods of mark making, Heslin’s work thoroughly explores colour, shape, and texture, while acknowledging the histories of photography and textiles, and finding connections with the Colour Field painters of the 1960s and 1970s. Aspects of her process – specifically dyeing and sewing – are also inextricably linked to domestic labour, feminism, and craft.

These paintings do not immediately reveal how they are made or what they are about, yet each advocates for close and sustained reading. The work seeks the space of open interpretation, positioned between the unfamiliar and the familiar. Chromatic expanses and complex shapes play off each other to create paintings that are narratively ambiguous, yet intensely evocative and poignant.

The McMichael’s presentation of Colleen Heslin: Needles and Pins includes nearly a dozen new works created specifically for our site.

The artist would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts and the City of Vancouver for supporting the development of this work.

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Wounds of War: Tom Thomson and A.Y. Jackson

June 4, 2016 – February 5, 2017
Curator: Laura Brandon

On 3 June 1916, a massive explosion wounded A. Y. Jackson during the Battle of Mount Sorrel, one of the toughest and most tragic of the Canadian First World War battles. The event changed Jackson’s life and transformed his art.

On 4 June 2016, marking 100 years and 1 day from the time of Jackson’s wounding, the McMichael opened Wounds of War, an exhibition about A.Y. Jackson and Tom Thomson. Visitors were able to see Jackson’s only three known original drawings from his time as a soldier, on view for the first time since they were drawn in the heat of battle.

Drawing on the McMichael’s extensive holdings of both artists’ wartime art and on loans from important public and private collections, this exhibition focused on the year in which Jackson and Thomson painted together and shared a studio, their different responses to war, their wartime art, Jackson’s work as an official war artist, and his post-war commemorative paintings. Although Jackson and Thomson never saw each other again after 1914, each reflects the art and influence of the other over the course of the following years. After Thomson’s death in 1917, Jackson had seen hundreds of Thomson’s paintings and this influence, as well as the impact of the loss of his friend, comes through in Jackson’s work completed after 1918.

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Reframing the Art of Canada: Qamani’tuaq / Baker Lake Stories

Through cultural narratives expressed in visual, oral or written form, populations can reveal their values providing an understanding of their way of life. By offering visual representations of stories which address experiences from traditional camp life, spiritual beliefs as well as accounts about their heroes, Inuit artists engage not only Indigenous youth but also offer insight for the benefit of non-Aboriginal cultures and future generations to come.

The selection of artworks in this show presented tales of heroism and adventure of Inuit shaman and prophet, Qiviuq, human/animal transformation, spiritual beliefs in addition to revealing other Inuit traditions. Through their storytelling, Qamani’tuaq artists are defining personal values as well as reflecting what is valued collectively by the community.

Reframing the Art of Canada: The Collection

Curated by Chris Finn

Every art gallery, and every exhibition within it, is a frame upon a work of art. You, the viewer, will impose your own frame of mind upon each artwork that you encounter – bringing with you your own subjective likes and dislikes, understandings and personal insights. Art collections initiate conversations that recontextualize the individual works either by re-examining socio-cultural issues, revisiting art history or the aesthetics of the work, or addressing aspects of popular culture. Artwork is not static, in other words: its meaning can change according to its context.

Exhibition Micro-site

Field Trip: Sarah Anne Johnson

Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
March — September 2016

This exhibition features recent photographic work by internationally acclaimed, Winnipeg-based artist Sarah Anne Johnson. Titled Field Trip, this series was inspired by the artist’s fascination with outdoor music festivals. Johnson first attended an outdoor festival at age sixteen, becoming immediately attracted to its dynamic and pleasure-seeking lifestyle, where she felt uninhibited by societal or parental constraints.  She was immersed in the communal activities of dancing, singing, and camping in the landscape, and in the bohemian culture which represented a rite-of-passage for her and many other young people. In time, Johnson returned to photograph this phenomenon as a voyeur. Coalescing nostalgic memories with forgotten realities of festival life, she undertook to document a world at the point where her status as both subjective participant and objective chronicler meet.

Exhibition micro-site

For Every Season

A re-installation of the permanent collection in 4 galleries
October 2015 — May 2016
Curated by Sarah Stanners

"The breath of the Four Seasons must ever be our basic inspiration." — J.E.H. MacDonald, A Landmark of Canadian Art (1917)

Canada is celebrated for its four beautiful and distinct seasons, which have especially inspired our landscape painters. Riots of colour in the fall leaves, soft quietude in the winter snow, the fresh promise of spring green, and the long hours of the summer sun are all vividly expressed in the painted canvases throughout this four-part exhibition. Drawn entirely from the permanent collection of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the masters of each season come forward in full colour as four galleries are dedicated to each of the four seasons: winter, fall, summer and spring.

Exhibition Micro-site

On Paper

February 6, 2016 – May 1, 2016

Curated by Sarah Stanners and Chris Finn

Most great works of art begin with a drawing. Ideas come out on paper first. There is a degree of intimacy and immediacy that is inherent with works on paper, and this exhibition aims to celebrate these qualities in art.

On Paper will be on view for a limited time only, since light exposure must be kept to a minimum to ensure the conservation of the works of art for future generations to enjoy. This exhibition is an extraordinary opportunity to engage with many of the best works on paper from the McMichael Canadian Art Collection – ranging from a never before publicly exhibited David Milne watercolour painting to a comprehensive collection of the original artwork by Clarence Gagnon for the beloved novel Maria Chapdelaine.

Exhibition Micro-site



Transforming Spirit: The Cameron/Bredt Collection of Contemporary Northwest Coast Art

September 19, 2015 – February 15, 2016

Curated by Chris Finn

This exhibition offered viewers an opportunity to assess a range of aesthetic qualities inherent in the work created by indigenous artists of the Northwest Coast. Distinct artistic styles have emerged from each of the First Nations communities represented, based on their social and religious customs. Cultural narratives related to historical cosmological beliefs were incorporated into both the material and ceremonial culture of the peoples. Among the works featured in the exhibition were bentwood boxes, rattles, blankets and several works on paper, all by well-known artists, as well as many examples of an object important for its expressive qualities, the mask. The last serves as a form for communicating the importance of nature, animals, and humans, as well as imagined characters that are at the core of many First Nations cultures.

Exhibition Micro-site


This House Was Made For Christmas

October 3, 2015 to January 31, 2016

Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements

This House Was Made for Christmas celebrated the art of Christmas greeting cards, which were designed by seminal Canadian artists of the twentieth century. Several members of the Group of Seven, including Lawren Harris, J.E.H MacDonald, and A.J. Casson, and their contemporaries, as well as aboriginal artists of Canada were represented with works drawn from the McMichael art and archival collections as well as private holdings, some of which have never been displayed before. The inspiration for this exhibition stems from Pierre Berton’s 1956 article “The House That Was Made for Christmas” (Canadian Homes and Gardens magazine), which featured the foundation for the McMichael gallery – the actual home of the founders – as a place of special Christmas spirit. This exhibition will reflect back on the gallery’s tradition of neighbourly gathering for holiday joy.

Exhibition Micro-site

The Photographs of Frank (Franz) Johnston

April 18 – October 12, 2015
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements and Neil David MacDonald

While Frank Johnston is widely regarded as a painter, his interest in photography has largely been overlooked. Featuring photographs sourced from both public and private collections this exhibition will be the first major display of Johnston’s photographic images. Selected images will be paired with paintings to demonstrate how Johnston used photographs as inspirations for, and to inform, his paintings.

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Northern Narratives

February 14 - October 4, 2015

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Chris Finn

The mystique and spiritual power of the North are explored in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s new exhibition Northern Narratives, opening on February 14, 2015 and running until May 17, 2015. The show features seventy works, including drawings, paintings, sculptures, and prints that address the cultural interchange between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in the North. Also included are two film excerpts documenting Lawren Harris’s 1930 trip to the Arctic.

Works by members of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, including Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frederick Varley, and Sir Frederick Banting, represent the perspective of first-time, non-Aboriginal travellers who were driven north by a sense of the Arctic as an imagined, powerful place, while carvings and works of art on paper by Inuit artists such as Tim Pitsiulak, Kananginak Pootoogook, Pudlo Pudlat, Pitseolak Ashoona, and Napachie Pootoogook, give expression to traditional Inuit narratives about the land as a source of sustenance, spirituality, and interconnectedness.

Read the full exhibtion press release


Ingirrajut Isumaginnguaqtaminnut: Journey Into Fantasy

June 20 to September 27, 2015

Journey into Fantasy, in Inuktitut, Ingirrajut Isumaginnguaqtaminnut, featured the work of Inuk artist, Pudlo Pudlat (1916-1992) and celebrates the one-year mark for the collaboration with York University in the multi-partner project, Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH).  As a MICH partner, McMichael Canadian Art Collection is working to digitize drawings from the Cape Dorset Archive (1959-89), on long-term loan from the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative in Cape Dorset, Baffin Island.

By creating digital records of the drawings in the archive, the McMichael and MICH aim to expand access to the collection to teachers, students, community members, and researchers, no matter where they live. Our common vision is to initiate a dialogue based on the archive as a foundation of Inuit traditional knowledge.

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7: Professional Native Indian Artists Inc.

May 9 to September 7, 2015

Organized by the MacKenzie Art Gallery. This project has been made possible through a contribution from the Museums Assistance Program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The MacKenzie receives ongoing support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, the City of Regina, and the University of Regina Curated by Michelle LaVallee

The seven artists of the PNIAI came together in order to collectively fight for the inclusion of their work within the Canadian mainstream and the contemporary art canon. Situated within a contentious political context, including the Liberal government’s controversial Indian policy of 1969, the PNIAI were resistant to colonial discourses and broke with identity definitions and boundaries imposed on First Nations. Disenchanted with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development’s marketing and promotion strategies, they fought against exclusionary practices which treated their work as a type of handicraft, a categorization which prevented it from being shown in mainstream galleries and museums. These artists were among the first to fight to establish a long-overdue forum for the voices and perspectives of Indigenous artists. In many ways, the forward thinking of these pivotal artists led to the development and acceptance of an Indigenous art discourse and the recognition of Indigenous artists as a vital part of Canada’s past, present and future identity. By fearlessly portraying the reality of Canada from a First Nations perspective, they expanded the vocabulary of contemporary visual art practice and set a new standard for the artists who followed in their wake. Reaching across cultural boundaries, their lasting artistic merit continues to be a source of inspiration for generations to come.

Visit the exhibition microsite.

VANISHING ICE: Alpine and Polar Landscapes in Art, 1775-2012

January 31 to April 26, 2015

Organized by the Whatcom Museum. Major funding for the exhibition has been provided by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the Norcliffe Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and the City of Bellingham.

Curated by Dr. Barbara Matilsky

Vanishing Ice offered a glimpse into the rich cultural legacy of the planet's frozen frontiers. International in scope, it traces the impact of glaciers, icebergs, and fields of ice on artists' imaginations. The exhibition explored connections between generations of artists who have adopted different styles, media, and approaches to interpret the magical light and fantastic shapes of ice.

Visit the exhibition microsite



Eyes on Quebec: Treasures from the Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry Collection

November 8, 2014 to February 1, 2015

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Katerina Atanassova, Sharona Adamowicz-Clements, and Chris Finn

Eyes on Quebec: Treasures from the Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry Collection celebrates the story of two Canadian collectors and their passionate commitment to art and art education in Canada. Paying tribute to Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry’s special interest in the art of Quebec, the exhibition features approximately sixty works, including works from the permanent collection of the McMichael, which represent a broad range of paintings by Cornelius Krieghoff, Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Helen McNicoll, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Clarence Gagnon, Robert Pilot, Jean Paul Riopelle, and Jean Paul Lemieux, to whom an entire gallery in the exhibition is dedicated.

The exhibition and publication are made possible thanks to the generous support of The Andrée Rhéaume and Robert Fitzhenry Family Foundation. 

Visit the exhibition micro-site.


Morrice and Lyman in the Company of Matisse

October 10, 2014 to January 4, 2015

Organized and circulated by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, a government corporation funded by the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Québec. The Museum acknowledges the generous support of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the National Gallery of Canada.

Curated by Michèle Grandbois, Curator of Modern Art, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

This exhibition examined the dialogue between two important Canadian artists, James Wilson Morrice (1865–1924) and John Lyman (1886–1967), and the French master, Henri Matisse (1869– 1954). The two Montreal artists crossed paths with Matisse in France and North Africa during the early twentieth century. These encounters proved to be decisive not only for the development of their respective pictorial expressions, but also for the entry of Canadian painting into modernity. The exhibit will feature portraits, nudes, Canadian landscapes, and scenes from Venice, North Africa, Northern France, the West Indies, and the Caribbean, which share an unmistakable quest for light and an exceptional mastery of colours. Visitors will be invited to embark on a sensuous adventure taking them through the origins of modern Canadian art.

Visit the exhibition micro-site

Exhibition Patron

AK Prakash Foundation

Presenting Sponsor

RBC Wealth Management

With Financial Assistance from

OCAF (Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund)

Media Partners

Globe and Mail


We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage for the special exhibition programs. Nous reconnaissons l’appui du gouvernement du Canada par l’entremise du ministère du Patrimoine canadien pour les programmes d'exposition spéciale. 

Canadian Heritage

Charles Edenshaw

June 28 to September 21, 2014

Organized and circulated by the Vancouver Art Gallery. The exhibition is made possible with support from The Audain Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Government of Canada through the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, and Mr. David Aisenstat.

Haida artist Charles Edenshaw (1839–1920) is now recognized as one of the most innovative artists working on the west coast at the turn of the twentieth century. This exhibition offered a complete overview of Edenshaw’s work, presenting a wide range of the objects that he created during his lifetime, from traditional objects that he made for family members to elaborately carved model poles, platters and other objects produced for trade with Europeans.

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Terence Koh: tomorrow’s snow and a way to the light

produced and commissioned as part of the Luminato Festival

June 6 to 13, 2014

Taking place outdoors at night, tomorrow’s snow was a brief, beautiful performative glimpse of a momentary image. Inspired by a passage from Margaret Atwood’s novel Cat’s Eye, the piece recreated the look of freshly fallen snow, with an 8-year-old boy and girl, dressed in white, making snow angels. a way to the light is a tribute to Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr, set near the Artists’ Cemetery on the McMichael grounds.

More about this installation
Visit the Luminato website

Arctic Exposure: Photographs of Canada’s North

May 3 to June 1, 2014

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection with Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival

Curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements and Bonnie Rubenstein

Arctic Exposure: Photographs of Canada’s North brought together images made between 1881 and 2013, revealing an ongoing fascination with the peoples, places, and mythologies of the North. These visual documents reinforce the power of photographs to generate a compelling sense of empathy and reverence for a place that remains far from reach for most people

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Changing Tides: Contemporary Art of Newfoundland and Labrador 

January 25 to June 1, 2014

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Guest curated by Patricia Grattan

Diversity is the hallmark of Newfoundland and Labrador art. There has never been a shared aesthetic or approach to art making beyond a widely shared use of realism, or at least figuration, employed in a variety of different ways. Newfoundlanders, however, are famous for their deep and enduring attachment to home—an attachment that has been embraced by most incoming artists; therefore it is not surprising that the landscape and references to traditional cultural practices serve as central sources of imagery in their work. The exhibition also explored the concepts of narrative, memory, loss, and the human relationship to the natural environment.

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Mary Pratt

January 18 to April 27, 2014

Organized in partnership by The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia & The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery

Mary Pratt is one of Canada’s leading photorealist painters. She brings a sharply focused, contemporary lens to deceptively simple subject matter, demonstrating sophisticated skill rooted firmly in the history of painting. Nuance of tone, angle and choice of perspective leave the viewers of Mary Pratt’s images with a sense of wonder and, sometimes, unease. Mary Pratt’s work reveals the breath of emotion, technique and maturity brought to her practice. This exhibition, the first in a public institution since 2004, offered visitors a rare opportunity to view the range, subtlety and power of this much-celebrated artist’s work.

The Mary Pratt exhibition is a project by The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, St. John’s,NL, and The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, with support from the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage, Museums Assistance Program, and also from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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Karine Giboulo's Small Strange World(s)

September 12, 2013 to January 26, 2014

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements

Montreal-based artist Karine Giboulo has been creating miniature dioramas and large scale installations populated by doll-like figures that tell stories about key issues such as environmentalism, consumerism, globalization, cultural identity and the cause and effect of the contemporary human condition. Giboulo’s oeuvre finds its strength in its ability to entertain and educate at the same time. Marrying comedy with tragedy, and reality with fantasy, her work is full of childlike fun and whimsy, while also carrying strong messaging and critical commentary about important matters of the day. The exhibition is organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and will present approximately fifty art works by the artist, many of which are major projects that she has produced over the last decade. The exhibition also included work specifically developed for the McMichael show.

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You Are Here: Kim Dorland and the Return to Painting

October 26, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Katerina Atanassova

Drawing inspiration from a century old tradition of landscape painting, initiated by Tom Thomson and the members of the Group of Seven, Toronto-based artist Kim Dorland showed his latest work as a culmination of his artist-in-residence project at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. Curated by McMichael's Chief Curator, Katerina Atanassova, the exhibition will explore Dorland's painterly approach to nature and welcome the inclusion of works by Tom Thomson, David Milne, Frederick Varley and others from the McMichael Collection. 

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Edward Burtynsky: The Landscape That We Change

June 29 to September 29, 2013 (extended to October 14, 2013)

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Chris Finn

Edward Burtynsky: The Landscape That We Change is comprised of a selection of thirty photographic images from several series including landscape works from the early 1980s to more recent images chosen from his Mining photographs, as well as Railcuts, Homesteads, Tailings, Oil, and others. Burtynsky’s photographs present the “disrupted” landscapes; those created by the technology used in the extraction of minerals and energy from the planet, and those changed by the need for extensive delivery systems put in place to move materials for production of goods.

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Ansel Adams: Masterworks

Organized by the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, California, in association with Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California

June 29 to September 29, 2013

During his decades-long career, American-born Ansel Adams produced an extensive body of work that established him as arguably the most important and influential photographer in the development of twentieth-century photography. The exhibition Ansel Adams: Masterworks contains a representative selection of forty-seven photographs and a portrait of Adams by James Alinder, a fellow photographer and curator of two Ansel Adams exhibitions.

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Exploring Cape Dorset Art

Three exhibitions of Inuit drawings, prints and sculpture from the 1950s to present.

February 2 to June 16, 2013

Whales' Tails and Other Tales: Cape Dorset's Pudlat Family

Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and guest-curated by Inuit art scholar and former McMichael curator Susan Gustavison

Kiugak Ashoona: Stories and Imaginings from Cape Dorset
A national travelling exhibition organized by the Winnipeg Art Gallery and curated by Darlene Wight

Where Do We Come From? What are We? Where are We Going? Identity in Contemporary Cape Dorset Art
Organized by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and curated by Sharona Adamowicz-Clements

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Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 3 / Contemporary Native North American Art from the Northeast and Southeast

March 9 to June 2, 2013

A diversity of new work by Native American, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists from Canada, the continental United States, and the Pacific Rim. Representing both established and emerging artists, all three Changing Hands exhibitions have focused on art that points toward the future, presenting works by contemporary artists who embrace and take inspiration from cultural traditions while also expressing contemporary creativity and innovation.

More information on this exhibition


Double Take: Portraits of Intriguing Canadians

An exhibition organized and circulated by Library and Archives Canada.
Une exposition organisée et diffusée par Bibliothèque et Archives Canada.

September 22, 2012 to January 20, 2013

This major exhibition of 100 works offers visitors an opportunity to peek behind the façade of intriguing Canadians. Visitors are invited to discover portraits of over fifty Canadians that tell compelling stories of assumed identity, assassination, exploitation, discovery, invention, injustice, activism, and achievement.

More information on this exhibition


November 3, 2012 to January 6, 2013

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada and Dulwich Picture Gallery, in collaboration with the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, and the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands. With the generous support of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and other lenders.

Painting Canada: Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven proved to be a sensational success at the McMichael as well as venues such as: the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, UK; National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway; and the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s presentation of this exhibition was the only Canadian engagement. This major exhibition of Canadian art was the largest in history to travel to Europe, featuring an astonishing 122 paintings as well as Tom Thomson’s sketch box.

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September 29, 2012 to January 6, 2013

Organized and circulated by the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK

In 2012, Her Majesty the Queen is celebrating her Diamond Jubilee—sixty years as Head of State of the Commonwealth realms and the United Kingdom. To mark the occasion, the Victoria & Albert Museum prepared an exhibition of important portraits drawn exclusively from the Museum’s collection of photographs taken by royal photographer, Sir Cecil Beaton (1904-1980).

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May 5 to September 3, 2012
Guest curated by Julia Pine

Not just about fashion, Fashionality: Dress and Identity in Contemporary Canadian Art explores the use of apparel and the act of adornment in the work of twenty-three active Canadian artists. Reflecting wide geographic and cultural diversity, it considers the ways in which the concerns, identities, and personal visions of these artists are expressed, deconstructed, and reconfigured through the shared visual language of dress.

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May 24 to July 15, 2012

The Last Harvest, produced to mark the 150th anniversaryof the year of Tagore’s birth, comprises more than sixty works on paper created by this versatile and prolific visionary, drawn from three collections in India. 

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January 28 to April 22, 2012

The Tree: Form and Substance

The Tree: From the Sublime to the Social

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Jack Chambers: the light from the darkness, silver paintings and film work

October 1, 2011 to January 15, 2012

Named "Exhibition of the Year" by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries.

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Arctic Life: Lomen Brothers Photography

September 17, 2011 to January 8, 2012

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In Focus: Photographing the Alberta and Montana Frontier, 1870–1930

September 17, 2011 to January 8, 2012

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Marc-Aurèle Fortin: The Experience of Colour

May 28 to September 11, 2011

A retrospective overview highlighting Fortin’s contribution as a painter, etcher, watercolourist, and pastelist; a landscape artist that left an indelible imprint on Quebec’s collective imagination.

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Steeling the Gaze: Portraits by Aboriginal Artists

June 11 to September 11, 2011

Twelve Aboriginal artists challenge preconceived notions—defining Aboriginal identity, collapsing perceptual barriers established by decades of misrepresentation, defiantly stating, "this is who we are."

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May 7 to August 14, 2011

The mythological paintings and the large landscapes for which Canadian artist Ivan Eyre is perhaps best known are both informed by the formal investigations explored in his early drawings and sculpture.

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George McLean: The Living Landscape

January 29 to May 23, 2011

George McLean has painted the landscape and animals around his home in Grey County, Ontario for over thirty years. The exhibition draws in major works from private and public collections across North America, displaying McLean’s prowess to capture the atmospheric beauty of all the seasons in Grey County, from the misty early spring snows to the clarity of the dense early spring woods to the golden heat of high summer meadows.

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Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe
February 19 to May 15, 2011

Marilyn in Canada

February 19 to May 15, 2011

The exhibition Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe contains a selection of approximately 150 works by artists who offer engaging interpretations of Marilyn, ranging from playful and intimate portraits to others that are bold, decorative, and even transformative. With their images they capture the determination, innocence and vulnerability of Norma Jeane Baker, as well as the vibrant personality, femininity and sensuality that became Marilyn Monroe.

As an introductory and complementary component for the larger travelling show, Marilyn in Canada features photographs, paintings, sculpture, and prints by artists who have inscribed Monroe’s public image with their own culturally-filtered interpretations which also serve as commentary on the influence of American popular culture in Canada.

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In Search of Norman Rockwell's America

March 12 to April 25, 2011

In Search of Norman Rockwell's America juxtaposes the work of iconic artist Norman Rockwell with that of photojournalist Kevin Rivoli; spontaneously occurring moments of everyday life. Rivoli’s photographs are true to Rockwell’s form—storytelling in a single, spontaneous frame that captures and celebrates the ordinary.

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Maria Chapdelaine

December 18, 2010 to February 27, 2011

Fifty-four of Clarence Gagnon’s original works exhibited in a chapter-by-chapter sequence presented in the book by Louis Hémon, depicting rural-life Quebec in 1912-13.

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Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven

October 2, 2010 to January 30, 2011

Examine the stylistic evolution of Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven, who took their cues from the modernist approaches of painting developed in Europe.

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A Tribute to Two Important Canadian Artists

December 8, 2010 to January 30, 2011

The gallery acknowledges the passing of Kananginak Pootoogook and Doris McCarthy

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Traditional Stories: Unikkaaqtuat/Modern Stories: Unikkaat

August 28, 2010 to January 20, 2011

Explore the storytelling of Inuit oral cultural tradition that plays a significant role as a source for the artists' visual imagery.

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Bruno Bobak: Love, Life and Death

September 18 to December 5, 2010

Take a closer look at Bruno Bobak’s fascination with the human body and soul through his Expressionist images of lovers, family relations, life cycle, and portraits.

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Dorothy Knowles: Land Marks

May 22 to September 12, 2010

The Dorothy Knowles: Land Marks retrospective exhibition offers an informed overview of the landscape artist’s exemplary body of work. At first glance, the artist’s humble and natural subject matter can be underestimated or overlooked. However, Knowles radically chose to document her own backyard during a time when abstract art was rapidly gaining ground. This exhibition celebrates Knowles’ favourite subjects—the lush river valleys and prairie landscapes that characterized her rural childhood.

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Following in the Footsteps of the Group of Seven

May 22 to September 6, 2010

For over thirty years, art enthusiasts Jim and Sue Waddington have been locating the exact sketching sites for artworks by Group of Seven members. This enchanting exhibition showcased the Group's art alongside stunning photographs taken of the original locations that inspired these artworks some eighty years ago.

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Woodland School

October 24, 2009 to August 15, 2010

Explore the vibrant art of Woodland School painters Norval Morrisseau, Daphne Odjig, Carl Ray, Alex Janvier, Blake Debassige and more!

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Child's Play

September 13, 2008 to June 7, 2010

Based exclusively on the McMichael’s permanent collection, Child’s Play is an educational exhibition exploring the theme of children in Canadian art.

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Tom Forrestall: Paintings, Drawings, Writings

January 30 to April 25, 2010

Explore the “magical realism” of Tom Forrestall’s paintings, drawings, and journal sketchbooks by examining themes of nature and tensions between reality and the imagination.

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Maurice Cullen and His Circle

January 16 to March 21, 2010

This exhibition features works by Maurice Cullen together with those of some of his contemporaries, James Wilson Morrice and William Brymner, and the future generation of artists he inspired, including his stepson, Robert Pilot, and future member of the Group of Seven, A. Y. Jackson.

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Nunannguaq: In the Likeness of the Earth

October 10, 2009 to January 17, 2010

An exhibition marking the fiftieth anniversary of Kinngait Studios, featuring a large selection of prints, drawings, and sculptures spanning three generations of Cape Dorset artists.

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Maria Chapdelaine

December 5, 2009 to January 3, 2010

Experience the popular 1916 novel, Maria Chapdelaine—a story depicting life in rural Quebec—through Clarence Gagnon's brilliant illustrations.

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Ed Bartram: The Eye Within

October 17, 2009 to January 3, 2010

Ed Bartram’s print images, produced using a range of innovative printmaking techniques, offer a new interpretation of the iconic Canadian landscape.

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Diana Thorneycroft: Canada, Myth and History

July 18 to November 29, 2009

Winnipeg artist Diana Thorneycroft is known for tackling difficult issues through her poetic photographic works. In Canada, Myth and History, Thorneycroft investigates the Canadian identity.

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Charles Pachter and Margaret Atwood: The Journals of Susanna Moodie

July 18 to October 12, 2009

The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Margaret Atwood's best known book of poems, inspired by the writing of Susanna Moodie, was published in a limited edition format with Charles Pachter's interpretive graphic works in the 1980s. The marriage of graphic work with literary text created a unique art form, the livre d'artiste.

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Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art
of the Northwest Coast

June 27 to September 20, 2009

Art of the Northwest Coast has re-emerged in the twenty-first century. Challenging Traditions: Contemporary First Nations Art of the Northwest Coast exhibition explores the art of forty contemporary Northwest Coast artists. 

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Yousuf Karsh: Industrial Images

January 31 to July 5, 2009

Expoloring a culmination of Karsh’s industrial and commercial work with the Ford Motor Company of Canada, Atlas Steel in Welland, Ontario, and Sharon Steel in Pennsylvania, and a variety of other commercial images.

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"Karshed": Yousuf Karsh Selected Portraits

January 31 to July 5, 2009

Two special portfolios of thirty rare, limited-edition portraits by Karsh will be on display at the gallery to complement the exhibition, Industrial Images.

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A Brush with War: Military Art from Korea to Afghanistan

January 17 to June 7, 2009

The exhibition, A Brush with War: Military Art from Korea to Afghanistan includes artworks dating from 1947 to 2008.

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The Arctic Image

January 17 to June 7, 2009

The Arctic Image exhibition examines Canada’s north from two distinct artistic perspectives: the Inuit people who lived there for generations, and those who came much later and experienced it as an unknown environment.

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Maria Chapdelaine

December 6, 2008 to January 18, 2009

Fifty-four of Clarence Gagnon’s original works exhibited in a chapter-by-chapter sequence conforming to the narrative presented in the book, Maria Chapdelaine.

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Contemporary Canadian Inuit Drawings / Chinese Drawings from Huxian, Jinshan and Qijiang

October 11, 2008 to January 4, 2009

A cross-cultural exhibition of Contemporary Canadian Inuit Drawings / Chinese Drawings from Huxian, Jinshan and Qijiang, organized by the Macdonald Stewart Art Centre (MSAC) in Guelph and the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute (SFAI) in Chongqing, China, is an exceptional exploration of social culturology as expressed by Chinese and Canadian Inuit artists who are trying to retain traditional values in the midst of rapid societal change.

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The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig:
A Retrospective Exhibition

October 4, 2008 to January 4, 2009

Organized by the Art Gallery of Sudbury and the National Gallery of Canada, in collaboration with guest curator, Bonnie Devine, the exhibition features over fifty of Odjig’s works including examples of Odjig’s history paintings, murals, legend paintings, erotica, abstractions, and landscapes. 

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Kenojuak: From Drawing to Print

August 30 to November 30, 2008

This exhibit, curated by McMichael’s Assistant Curator, Shawna White and entitled, Kenojuak: From Drawing to Print, examines Kenojuak’s involvement with the Cape Dorset printing program by comparing a selection of Kenojuak’s drawings to their subsequent prints.

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Joe Fafard

June 28 to September 14, 2008

Curated by Terrence Heath, Joe Fafard's sculptures are revealed together for the first time. Featuring loans from private and public collections, his larger-than-life ceramic, bronze, plaster and steel sculptures, as well as some drawings, display over 40 years of his signature cows, horses and caricature works.

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Drawing Conclusions

February 23 to June 8, 2008

Through this presentation of drawings by members of the Group of Seven, the exhibition explores the importance of this medium as part of the creative process. The exhibition also looked at the continuing influence of the Group members on the art of today’s contemporary artists.

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Saumik: James Houston's Legacy

February 10, 2007 to June 8, 2008

This exhibition focused upon the late James Houston and the early days of art making in Kinngait (Cape Dorset). James Houston, known as Saumik or “the left-handed one” in the Inuit language of Inuktitut, was the leading proponent in establishing printmaking in Kinngait.

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The Iconography of the Imagination:
The Art of James Reaney

January 26 to May 18, 2008

An exhibition highlighting the little-known artistic talents of James Reaney, award-winning poet and author recognized as one of Canada’s literary greats.

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Stones, Bones and Stitches

September 29, 2007 to March 30, 2008

Based on a new publication by Tundra Books written by McMichael curators Shelley Falconer and Shawna White, this exhibition features six talented Inuit artists, each of whom works with a different material to create outstanding works of art.

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Miller Brittain: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears

November 16, 2007 to February 10, 2008

A retrospective exhibition celebrating the artistic legacy of Miller Brittain, one of New Brunswick’s most talented artists.

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Interpreting Communities: The Group of Seven & their Contemporaries

October 6, 2007 to January 13, 2008

Features selected works on paper by members of the Group of Seven who, in addition to their well –known paintings of the uninhabited landscape, depicted scenes from local communities.

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The Art of Robert Bateman

September 1 to November 4, 2007

Although best known for his wildlife paintings, Robert Bateman's work includes a broad range of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes and portraits.

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Mary Pratt: Allusions

June 30 to September 30, 2007

A selection of this renowned artist's beautiful Japanese woodblock prints with a single still-life theme - studies of fruit.

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Art and Society in Canada: 1913 - 1953

June 2 to August 19, 2007

Art and Society is a stimulating exhibition of more than forty works from the collection of the National Gallery of Canada – including paintings, drawings, prints, and sculpture – looks at three generations of Canadian artists and their visions of the role of art in shaping society.

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Takao Tanabe

January 27 to May 21, 2007

Experience a selection of outstanding paintings by Takao Tanabe, a renowned Vancouver Island artist and winner of the Governor General’s Award. Tanabe is one of Canada’s most significant landscape painters and is noted particularly for his depictions of the prairies and the British Columbia coast.

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Highlights from the Collection

October 7, 2006 to February 18, 2007

This exhibition showcases some of the best-known prints from Kinngait (Cape Dorset) with a focus on selected works by Kenojuak Ashevak, Pudlo Pudlat, Parr, Pitaloosie Saila, Pauta Saila, Kananginak Pootoogook, Sheojuk Etidlooie, Kingmeata Etidlooie, Pitseolak Ashoona, Lucy Qinnuayuak, Kiakshuk, Tudlik, and many other artists.

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Norval Morrisseau: Shaman Artist

September 30 2006, to January 14, 2007

Best known for the development of the Woodland School of painting, Morrisseau’s work is compelling; this exhibition includes pieces that have rarely or never before been displayed. Learn more about this Anishnaabe artist whose unique pictographic style has influenced many other First Nations artists.

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Dream : A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes

June 10, 2006 to January 7, 2007

Winner of eleven national awards and recent recipient of the International Reading Association Children’s Choice. This delightful exhibition of award-winning children’s illustrations is part of the McMichael’s 40th anniversary celebrations. Featured are original illustrations created by fifteen artists from around the world – including Governor General’s Award winner Barbara Reid – for the best-selling book by Canadian author Susan V. Bosak.


Edwin Holgate

June 24 to September 17, 2006

This outstanding retrospective of Edwin Holgate’s work, organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, is the first since the artist’s death in 1977. The exhibition explores many aspects of this versatile artist’s production, included early works from his Montreal and Paris training, portraits of his Montreal circle of friends and family, paintings in oil and watercolour, his work as a war artist, and prints from his trip to the Skeena River region of British Columbia.

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Inuit Sculpture Now

July 1 to September 4, 2006

Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
During the 1950s, the term “contemporary Inuit sculpture” was used to identify new work from that produced earlier, that is during the Prehistoric and Contact eras. Today, however, the term has become something of a misnomer. This exhibition at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg focuses on sculpture created over the past decade and looks at what is really “contemporary” within Inuit sculpture.

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The Festive North
October 29, 2005 to June 18, 2006

The Festive North focuses on celebration, showcasing images of traditional and contemporary Inuit games, drum dancing, throat singing, community gatherings and feasts, quite simply all things celebratory in Inuit Art.

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THE ROAD: Constructing the Alaska Highway

April 8 to June 11, 2006
To many people the Alaska Highway is simply a long line that connects two dots on a map. To others it is an essential transportation route, linking towns, cities and communities across northern Canada. To others, it is an engineering marvel − a symbol of a history of cooperation between two great nations. To the thousands of people that built it, however, the Alaska Highway was known simply as “The Road.”

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Favourite Forty

March 11 to June 11, 2006
As part of the McMichael’s fortieth-anniversary celebrations, gallery visitors were invited to choose their personal favourites from among sixty popular artworks in our permanent collection. Their votes have now been cast and the tally taken! The result is Favourite Forty, a special exhibition based on our visitors’ choices.

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Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge

March 4 to May 14, 2006
Organized by Karen Duffek, Curator of Art at the UBC Museum of Anthropology in collaboration with the National Gallery of Canada, Robert Davidson:The Abstract Edge, the artist’s first solo exhibition in a decade.

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People of the Dancing Sky:
The Iroquois Way

December 10, 2005 to March 19, 2006
In 1995, award-winning Toronto photographer Myron Zabol began a five-year project to record, through the eyes of his camera, the lives and traditions of the Haudenosaunee, the Six Nations Iroquois, at the end of the twentieth century.

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Jeff Thomas:
Portraits from the Dancing Grounds

December 10, 2005 to March 19, 2006
For Jeff Thomas, this project is about using Edward Curtis’s photographs as a stepping stone to talk about and describe what Indian-ness looks like today, rather than other people’s fantasies of Indian-ness.

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Loyal She Remains — Ontario

September 17 to November 27, 2005
This unique touring exhibition circulated by Library and Archives Canada, celebrates the acquisition of art from the Canadiana collection of Peter Winkworth.

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The Arctic Image

June 14, 2003 - October 16, 2005
The Arctic Image examines Canada’s North from two distinct perspectives: from the viewpoint of the Inuit who have lived there for generations, and through the eyes of those who came much later and experienced it as a vast unknown territory. The exhibition captures the importance of the Arctic to the Group of Seven ethos and develops the concept of a Canadian spiritual landscape.

Homage to Jean Paul Lemieux

June 4 to September 5, 2005
More than fifty paintings and drawings from this remarkable Québécois artist. On from June 4 to September 5, 2005.

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Max Stern, Collector, Art Dealer and Patron

June 4 to August 21, 2005
An exhibition which explored the pivotal role that Max Stern, owner of The Dominion Gallery in Montreal, played in the circulation of Canadian modern art across the country. Paintings by Emily Carr, Paul-Émile Borduas, Stanley Cosgrove, Mabel May and others. Organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.


Maria Chapdelaine

September 27, to November 9, 2003

Louis Hémon's classic French Canadian novel, Maria Chapdelaine was brought to life in 1928 when Clarence Gagnon was asked to put illustration to words and created a series of illustrations. All fifty-four of these works were acquired into the McMichael's permanent collection and the first exhibition of these magnificent illustrations was displayed at the McMichael in November of 1987. They have since become a perennial favourite with visitors.

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E.J. Hughes: The B.C. Landscape

November 29, 2003 to February 15, 2004

E.J. Hughes is famous for his strong, appealing images of the landscape and seascape of British Columbia: distinctive in clarity of form and colour, yet tinged with an air of mystery.

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Perspectives: Canadian Women Artists

November 23, 2002 to February 16, 2003

An invitation to consider the McMichael Canadian Art Collection’s diverse and varied collection of works by Canadian women artists. The exhibition wove together social touch points, video, poetry and literary excerpts selected by contemporary poet and journalist Lynn Crosbie. The exhibition included works by Laura Muntz Lyall, Helen McNicoll, Anne Savage, Marcelle Ferron, Rita Letendre, Joyce Wieland, Mary Pratt, Daphne Odjig and Natalka Husar.

For more information: McMichael collaborated with the Virtual Museum of Canada to create Perspectives, a virtual exhibit celebrating artwork created by American, Canadian and Mexican women artists. View exhibit.


Carr, O'Keefe, Kahlo:Places of Their Own

June 30, 2001 - September 9, 2001
Few North American women artists have achieved the legendary stature of Emily Carr (1871-1945, Canadian), Frida Kahlo (1907-1954, Mexican) and Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986, American).

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In The Wilds: Canoeing and Canadian Art

June 27, 1998 - November 15, 1998
The canoe is a Canadian icon as familiar as the moose, the beaver and the maple leaf and, as such, is an important symbol of our mythologized northern identity. Not surprisingly, therefore, the theme of canoes and canoeing is one that has often been employed by artists, from prehistoric times to the present. As may be seen in this exhibition, the manner in which artists have depicted the canoe has changed over the years.

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