A feast for the senses and the soul
(Globe And Mail)
The years between 1880 and 1930 were marked by rampant materialism and rapid urbanization. Disillusioned with traditional religious institutions, many European, Scandinavian and North American artists searched for an unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences. Organized in partnership with the renowned Musée d'Orsay in Paris, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, Van Gogh and more breaks new art historical ground, exploring the mystical experiences of 37 artists from 14 countries, including Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O'Keeffe and James McNeill Whistler.
Taking visitors on a journey through Europe, Scandinavia and North America, the exhibition features close to 90 extraordinary paintings and 20 works on paper, many of which seldom leave their home museum. Highlights include Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night over the Rhone at Arles from 1888, which prompted him to write about feeling “a tremendous need of —shall I say the word—religion...so I go outside at night to paint the stars”; Paul Gauguin's vivid Vision of the Sermon (Jacob Wrestling with the Angel) from 1888, painted during his sojourn in rural Brittany; Claude Monet's Water Lilies (Nymphéas) from 1907, which he painted after hours of Zen-like meditation beside his Japanese water garden; Edvard Munch's The Sun, created to inspire students in the wake of his well-publicized nervous breakdown between 1910-1913; Georgia O'Keeffe's Series I - from the Plains from 1919, which shows the terrifying power of an approaching thunderstorm in Texas; and a series of mystical lithographs by the recently rediscovered French artist Charles Marie Dulac, which illustrates St. Francis of Assisi's Canticle of Creation.
Mystical Landscapes was conceived and developed by Katharine Lochnan, the AGO's senior curator of international exhibitions, together with Roald Nasgaard and Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, in addition to Guy Cogeval and Isabelle Morin Loutrel of the Musée d'Orsay.