Andreas Feininger: Nature and the Architect

Ottawa - April 28, 2011

At the National Gallery of Canada April 30 to August 28, 2011.

Two years ago, the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) received an extraordinary donation of 252 exquisite photographs by Andreas Feininger, one of the greatest modernist photographers. Best known for his dynamic urban views of Manhattan and Chicago, Feininger left a legacy on his 1999 death at 93 of 346 Life magazine photo-essays, thousands of photographs and more than 50 publications. Beginning this Saturday, until August 28, visitors to the NGC can enjoy 27 of these remarkable works in Gallery C202b.

“Andreas Feininger’s photographs reveal his technical virtuosity and his incisive eye,” said NGC director Marc Mayer. “We are grateful to his family for the gift of these important works.”

Modernist photographer Andreas Feininger’s vast body of work spans a period of nearly six decades. From his dynamic urban views of New York to his extreme close-ups of natural forms, Feininger’s work shows his instinct for graphic forms and patterning, and his ability to highlight the sculptural qualities of objects. His urban scenes convey his excitement at the visual complexity of city life, while his macro-photographs of shells and bones, often interpreted through a highly surrealist lens, demonstrate his fascination with the elegant precision of nature.

Feininger’s vision is unified by an attraction to the organizing principles behind both constructed and natural forms. After studying at the Bauhaus in Germany, and training as an architect, Feininger worked in Paris and Stockholm before establishing his career in the United States, first as a photographer for the Black Star Picture Agency and then with Life magazine. He was technically inventive, devising his own super-telephoto and super-close-up cameras. He even built his own radio in 1927, seen in his self-portrait of that year. This selection of 27 photographs reveals the keen insight of a photographer who never ceased his quest for order and beauty in the world around him.

Several other exquisite photographs by Feininger will be included in the exhibition Made in America 1900-1950. Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada, opening this fall.

Ann Thomas, curator of Andreas Feininger: Nature and the Architect, and Katherine Stauble, Sobey Curatorial Assistant, NGC Photographs Collection, have written a fascinating article on the artist's life in the Summer 2011 issue of the Gallery's magazine, Vernissage. This issue will be available as of June 1 for $5.95, at newsstands and the NGC Bookstore, and online at www.ShopNGC.ca.

Admission
Tickets are $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and full-time students, $4 for youths aged
12 to 19 years, and $18 for families (two adults and three children). Admission is free of charge for children under 12 and for Members of the Gallery, and on Thursdays from 5 pm to 8 pm. This includes admission to the NGC Collection.

Opening Hours
1 May – 30 September: Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm, and Thursday until 8 pm.

About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections of historical and contemporary Canadian art, including the extensive collection of the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. The Gallery also maintains Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for all Canadians. To do so, it maintains the largest touring art exhibition programme in the world. For more information, visit www.gallery.ca.

Source : Katherine Stauble, Sobey Curatorial Assistant, Photographs Collections, NGC; Anne Thomas, Curator, Photographs Collections, NGC.

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Media inquiries: For more information, images or interviews, please contact:

Josée-Britanie Mallet
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
National Gallery of Canada
613-990-6835
bmallet@gallery.ca

Claire Schofield
Manager, Corporate Communications and Public Relations National Gallery of Canada
613-990-7081
cschofield@gallery.ca