National Gallery draws on CU expertise

This summer, visitors to the National Gallery of Canada will be able take a visual tour of three centuries of Germanic drawings in an exhibition co-curated by Carleton Art History Professor Mitchell Frank. Nearly a decade after it was first conceived, Central European Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada will open as one of the gallery’s major shows in 2010.

One of a series of drawing exhibitions that showcases the various Italian, French, English, Dutch and Flemish schools, this summer’s show was originally meant to focus on German works. In fact, the works span a region that now comprises Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Frank selected landscapes, portraits, figure studies and genre scenes that span the 16th to 20th century.

“With this exhibition, I was working for the first time directly and intensely with works of art,” says Frank, whose scholarly work has focused on art theory and historiography. “I had to think deeply about physical objects; how drawings were executed, what purposes they were meant for, how one derives meaning from such objects.”

Frank was invited in 2003 by David Franklin, chief curator of the gallery, to work on the exhibition. While all the drawings are from the gallery’s own collection, a considerable number were acquired in the past five years and will be on display for the first time at the National Gallery. Frank selected and researched the works to be included and, along with Erika Dolphin, assistant curator of the National Gallery, wrote the exhibition catalogue, the large wall panels and smaller labels that describe the individual works. They are currently determining how the drawings in the exhibition will be grouped and hung.

Central European Drawings from the National Gallery of Canada will open on Saturday, June 11. Frank will present a lecture on the topic at the National Gallery of Canada on Sunday, June 20 at 2 p.m.

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