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Dry As Dust?

Works by:

William Pars, George Théodore Berthon, Théophile Hamel, Paul Giovanni Wickson, Sir George Reid, Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Léon Becker Belgian, Hugh de Twenebrokes Glazebrook, Marius Alexander Jacques Bauer, Henri Fantin-Latour, Eugène Verboeckhoven, George Morland, Auguste Toulmouche

Dry As Dust?

January 27–March 14, 2009

University of Toronto Art Centre

Irreverantly titled, this exhibition highlights academic and genre painting from the UC and UofT Collections, and shows that despite losing ground in the modern period, such works still have much to offer.

During the Modernist period establishment art of the 18th and 19th centuries increasingly fell out of favour. The great idealism of the Neoclassical and Romantic age was seen to have devolved into bombast, anecdotalism, sentimentality, and perhaps most fatally, charm. Out of touch with increasingly dynamic formal experiments, such art, while still in demand by many patrons, came to be viewed by proponents of Modernism as dull and irrelevant, a stance not widely re-examined until the 1980s.

Dry as Dust? presents themes introduced centuries ago that continued to be approved by art establishments in Europe and North America well into the 1900s: portraits, history painting, classical subjects as well as genre scenes from bandits and brigands to domestic interiors. Dry as Dust? reveals not just the scope of such painting, but that, following the precepts of Aristotle, it may still “teach, delight and move” us today.

Art with Insight Lecture

Emperors and Thieves: Types and Tropes in 19th Century Art
Thursday February 26, 2009, 3pm
Featuring Niamh O’Laoghaire
University of Toronto Art Centre

Our Supporters

We gratefully acknowledge the project support of Manulife Financial and Peter Allen.


Title Image: Sir Edward Burne-Jones, Mercury and Love, 154 x 43 cm. Oil, chalk and watercolour on canvas. Gift of Mrs. Augustine Fitzgerald, 1932.

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