Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons January 2022


Clarence Gagnon, Old Houses, Baie-Saint-Paul (detail), c. 1912, oil on canvas, 52.5 × 72.5 cm. Private Collection, Toronto. Uberscan by Colourgenics. Photo © Courtesy of National Gallery of Canada

Next winter, experience a fresh perspective on the reception and spread of Impressionism in Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada.

The first of its kind, this exhibition brings together masterworks by Canada’s renowned painters, celebrating and exploring the development of Impressionism in Canadian Art from the last decades of the nineteenth century to the late 1920s.

Visitors can follow in their footsteps to discover the pioneering Canadian artists’ commitment to interpreting foreign and familiar surroundings imbued with an Impressionist vocabulary.

“The exhibition explores the multifaceted ways in which two generations of pioneering Canadian artists contributed to the worldwide phenomenon of Impressionism and the advent of modernity in their homeland.”—Katerina Atanassova, Senior Curator of Canadian Art at the National Gallery of Canada

By applying stylistic innovations and modernist principles to Canadian subjects, these artists created works that responded to the local environment and to emerging discourse around nationalism in Canadian art.

The exhibition presents 108 works drawn from public and private collections, including 14 from the National Collection.

Helen McNicoll. Sunny September, 1913, oil on canvas, 92 × 107.5 cm. Collection of Pierre Lassonde. Photo: MNBAQ, Idra Labrie

What does Canadian Impressionism Look Like?

Canadian Impressionists developed an abiding interest in landscape painting during their studies and travels abroad. Back in Canada, artists such as Clarence Gagnon (1881–1942) adapted Impressionist techniques to capture the colourful reflections of light on snow and ice.

Some Canadian Impressionists spent their careers abroad. Helen McNicoll’s (1879–1915) Sunny September (1913) portrays a light and airy scene in England, demonstrating how Canadian Impressionism adapts as it travels.

Portraits of women and children demonstrate the Canadian Impressionists’ engagement with the critical and philosophical issues of their day, such as women’s suffrage and the nature of childhood.

Visitors can experience the exhibition from the comfort of their homes with the accompanying exhibit catalogue, a one of a kind publication featuring scholarly articles that critically examine the works in the exhibition. It is available in English, French, and German.

Canada and Impressionism: New Horizons is on view at the National Gallery of Canada from January 21, 2022 to June 12, 2022. Learn more and visit the exhibition online at and find the exhibition catalogue at

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The National Gallery of Canada’s stunning exhibition spaces feature some of the best visual art in the country, including the largest collection of Canadian and Indigenous art in the world. Experience the art, people and stories of Canada and beyond, through a multifaceted collection with engaging experiences for all.


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