100 Masters--the real thing!

100 Masters: Only in Canada is truly a historic assembly of one hundred works of art from twenty-eight museums in Canada and two in the United States, along with ten pieces from the WAG’s permanent collection. The selection of the artwork is divided evenly between Canadian and non-Canadian works; among the loans there are fifty Canadian works and a combination of fifty European and American works spanning six centuries, from 1500 to 2010.

For me, the most exciting part of this blockbuster show is that 100 Masters offers us the chance to focus on the individual work, obliging us to look again and enjoy. Despite the layers of art history and connoisseurship that may connect us to or separate us from the artwork, there always remains a way to access the physical work. In a world saturated with images and reproductions at every moment and turn in our day, there is really no substitute for that experience of standing in front of the painting or sculpture, and it is in this way that 100 Masters delivers. You have to see it!

With the gathering of more than one hundred paintings, sculptures, and decorative art pieces, spanning centuries and schools, the inclination to compare or contrast is easily displaced by the opportunity to reconnect with the singular object and its intrinsic values. So as the WAG turns one hundred years, thirty museums from east to west have lent some of their finest works to mark this historic event—and we are invited back to the place where the object leads our exploration.  It’s going to be an incredible journey.


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