Director's Welcome

Welcome from Kathleen Bartels, Director of the Vancouver Art Gallery

Photo: Pardeep Singh

Looking back at 2014, I am incredibly proud of what the Gallery has achieved over the past 12 months – 18 contemporary and historical exhibitions featuring a dynamic range of Canadian and international artists including two unprecedented exhibitions The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China's Emperors and Unscrolled: Reframing Tradition in Chinese Contemporary Art, while also launching the Institute of Asian Art; engaging and highly attended educational public programs featuring artists, curators, scholars and educators; and significant growth in the Gallery's collections including landmark acquisitions of outstanding works by J.E.H. MacDonald, Harry Callahan, Harold Edgerton, Eadweard Muybridge, and Edward Burtynksy. Thank you to our funders and donors, who have assisted the Gallery in acquiring artworks in a rich array of media. This year also saw the announcement of Michael Audain becoming the first Honorary Chairman of the Vancouver Art Gallery. We are deeply grateful for his unprecedented contribution as a champion and longtime supporter to the Gallery which has had an extraordinary impact on the Gallery's endowment, exhibition program and collections.

With much anticipation, I look forward to 2015, a year that promises to deliver an extraordinary mix of contemporary and historical exhibitions from this region and afar. We will begin with Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection, an exquisite collection of paintings and watercolours by Paul Cézanne, as well as paintings and sculptures by prestigious European masters such as Paul Gauguin, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Amedeo Modigliani, and Vincent van Gogh. Meanwhile, Clair de Lune: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century French Paintings showcases selected French Impressionist paintings from Gallery's collections, complementing the works in Cézanne and the Modern. In addition, TD Next: Over the Sun will present the work of an emerging artist, featuring painting, photography and works on paper by Vancouver-based artist, Brink Award Recipient Andrew Dadson. In the summer 2015, we are excited to present How do I fit this ghost in my mouth?–the most extensive mid-career survey of internationally acclaimed, Vancouver-based artist Geoffrey Farmer.

This year, we will be one step closer to realizing our vision for a new, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery building. Following the unanimous decision by Vancouver City Council in 2013 to designate the city-owned site at West Georgia and Cambie Streets for the new Gallery, we were thrilled to announce in early 2014 that Herzog & de Meuron had been selected as the design architects for this historic project. This was the culmination of an international architect selection process, with 75 firms from 16 different countries having participated. Following an in-depth peer review and interview process, the Gallery was unanimous in our decision to select this Pritzker Prize-winning Swiss firm and to be the first to bring their acclaimed architecture to Canada. Following their extremely successful public presentation last October at the Vogue Theatre, Herzog & de Meuron has been working closely with the Gallery on the conceptual design for the new building, which is scheduled to be unveiled this spring. To celebrate this special moment in the Gallery's history, the Gallery will present Material Future: The Architecture of Herzog & de Meuron and the Vancouver Art Gallery to provide our Members and other audiences with an in-depth look at this firm's design philosophy through a selection of their projects, including high-profile and inspirational museums and galleries from around the world.

Reflecting on all of the remarkable achievements in the last year, and looking ahead to a promising new year, I sincerely thank you, our valued Gallery Members, for joining us on this rewarding journey and continuously supporting us along the way. Best wishes for an art-filled 2015!

Kathleen S. Bartels