Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada

May 15, 2008 15:56 ET

Library and Archives Canada: The Other Face of the Group of Seven

"The artist's job is to unlock fetters and release spirit." - F.H. Varley

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 15, 2008) - The Portrait Gallery of Canada (PGC), a program of Library and Archives Canada, proudly brings to Ottawa the landmark exhibition F.H. Varley: Portraits into the Light. The exhibition will be presented at the Canadian Museum of Nature from May 23rd through July 1st 2008.

This in-depth look at the portraiture of Frederick Varley presents more than 70 of his acclaimed works, including sketches of Inuit from his inspirational 1938 Arctic voyage and lavishly brushed paintings of his favourite female sitters. Varley, a member of the Group of Seven known primarily for his landscapes, could also express nuance and drama in the human face.

Organized and circulated by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, this exhibition finishes its Canadian tour in the National Capital, thanks to a partnership between the Portrait Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature.

"To bring this exhibition to Ottawa was a must for the Portrait Gallery of Canada. We want to reveal this unexpected other face of the Group of Seven to visitors." said Dr. Lilly Koltun, Director General of the Portrait Gallery of Canada.

"We're pleased to partner with the Portrait Gallery to host this exceptional exhibition in the newly renovated West Wing of our historic Victoria Memorial Museum Building," said Joanne DiCosimo, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature.

Varley was born in Sheffield, England, in 1881 and came to Canada in 1912, where he settled in Toronto and became one of the founding members of the Group of Seven, with whom he exhibited for many years. Varley was frequently commissioned to create portraits, an art form at which he excelled. As an instructor and painter, Varley travelled throughout Canada, and spent the last years of his life in Unionville, where he died in 1969.

In addition to the works assembled by the Varley Art Gallery of Markham, works from the national portrait collection were added to the exhibition by the Portrait Gallery of Canada. These include the 1938 Inuit sketches and images showing Varley as an artist at work, notably a silver gelatin print by Yousuf Karsh and a platinum print by John Vanderpant.

To complement the exhibition, special programming will be offered to the public, included in the admission fee to the Canadian Museum of Nature. Highlights include public tours of the exhibition presented by Ms. Katerina Atanassova, curator of F.H. Varley: Portraits into the Light, on May 24 in English and by Dr. Lilly Koltun, on June 21 in French.

The exhibition will be open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and until 8:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod Street (corner of Metcalfe) in Ottawa.

Contact Information

  • Library and Archives Canada
    Pauline M. Portelance
    Senior Media Relations Officer
    819-994-4589 or 613-293-4298