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AGO Partners with Centre Pompidou to Bring Masterworks by Chagall, Kandinsky to Toronto

The Art Gallery of Ontario is bringing the magic, whimsy and wonder of Marc Chagall to Toronto next fall with a major exhibition organized by the Centre Pompidou. Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris on view from October 15, 2011 through January 15, 2012, features the lush, colourful, and dreamlike art of Marc Chagall alongside the visionaries of Russian modernism, including Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay, and Vladimir Tatlin.

Drawn from the collection of the Centre Pompidou, the exhibition examines how Chagall’s Russian heritage influenced and informed his artistic practice, illustrating how he at turns embraced and rejected broader movements in art history as he developed his widely beloved style. Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde comprises 118 works from a broad array of media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and film. The artwork is drawn entirely from the collection of the Centre Pompidou and features 32 works by Chagall and eight works by Kandinsky.

“Centre Pompidou is one of the world’s preeminent art museums and we at the AGO are deeply grateful—and very excited—to be able to share these highlights from its collection with our visitors,” says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGO’s Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “The visual relationship—both complementary and contrasting—of Chagall’s emotive figurations with the abstractions of the Russian avant-garde tells a compelling and complex story of influence and heritage, contextualizing Chagall within the art movements of his homeland for the very first time and offering visitors an opportunity to discuss, debate, and connect with some outstanding works of art.”

“Built around the great figure of Marc Chagall and the exceptional collection of our museum, this exhibition is an opportunity to consider the exceptional work of the Russian avant-garde from Chagall’s perspective,” says Alfred Pacquemont, director of the Musée national d’art moderne in Centre Pompidou. “Our collection of works by Chagall includes key works from Chagall’s personal collection, many of which were gifts of the artist and his family; works by Kandinsky, Gontcharova, and Delaunay are also among our collection’s highlights. We are privileged that the Art Gallery of Ontario will host this exhibition for its only North American showing, and that these great works—many of which rarely leave our museum—will be experienced and enjoyed by a Canadian audience.”

“From cubo-futurism and constructivism to folk art and expressionism, Chagall’s influences are as wide-ranging and divergent as his work is boldly original and singularly imaginative,” says Elizabeth Smith, the AGO’s executive director of curatorial affairs. “This exhibition encourages new perspectives on Chagall’s artistic development, and offers a comprehensive presentation of outstanding artwork by the 20th century’s most imaginative and engaging Russian artists.”

Angela Lampe, curator of the Musée National d’Art Moderne, is the organizing curator of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris. The exhibition is organized by Le Centre national d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou. The exhibition will be on view at the Musée de Grenoble from March 5 through June 13, 2011 before travelling to the AGO.

AGO members will be invited to an exclusive advance preview of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou, Paris in the days leading up to the exhibition’s opening. Members receive unlimited free admission to the exhibition, among other discounts and benefits. More information on AGO membership can be found at

About the AGO

With a permanent collection of more than 79,450 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.

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