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AGO to explore the ongoing influence of Alex Colville in major exhibition this summer

Nearly 100 works by the late Canadian icon to be displayed in largest exhibition of the artist’s work to date

(TORONTO — Nov. 13, 2013) Nearly 100 works by Canadian icon Alex Colville (1920-2013) will be presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) this summer, marking the largest exhibition of the late artist’s work to date. Curated by Andrew Hunter, the AGO’s curator of Canadian art, the exhibition will honour Colville’s legacy and explore the continuing relevance of his work through thematic pairings with the work of several prominent popular culture figures from film, literature and music. Opening August 23, 2014, the exhibition will run to January 4, 2015.

Known for painting decidedly personal subject matter, Colville’s painstakingly precise images depict an elusive tension, capturing moments perpetually on the edge of change and the unknown, often imbued with a deep sense of danger.

“Alex Colville’s exacting methods and often uneasy scenes created an entirely new genre of Canadian art. His death has left a void in our cultural landscape, but his work continues to have a profound impact on artists here and abroad,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. “We look forward to exploring this vibrant legacy with the help of several creative thinkers, some of who have been directly inspired by his vision.”

Featuring works assembled from museums and private collections nationwide, many of which have never been shown publicly, the exhibition spans Colville’s entire career, including iconic paintings such as:

  • Horse and Train, 1953;
  • To Prince Edward Island, 1965;
  • Woman in Bathtub, 1973; and
  • Target Pistol and Man, 1980.

Born in Toronto in 1920, Colville was a painter, printmaker and veteran who drew his inspiration from the world around him, transforming the seemingly mundane figures and events of everyday life into archetypes of the modern condition. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1982 and won a Governor General's Visual and Media Arts Award in 2003. The AGO has 89 works by Colville in its collection, including seven paintings currently on display. The Gallery last presented a retrospective of his works in 1983.

AGO members will be offered free admission to the exhibition and an exclusive preview in the days leading up to its public opening. More information on the benefits of AGO membership can be found at

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario with the generous collaboration of the National Gallery of Canada.

This event has been financially assisted by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund a program of the Government of Ontario through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, administered by the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund Corporation.

Generously supported by:

Burgundy Asset Management Ltd.

The Delaney Family Foundation
Fredrik S. and Catherine Eaton
Gelmont Foundation
Heffel Fine Art Auction House
Richard M. Ivey
Gretchen and Donald Ross
The Rossy Family Foundation
The Tecolote Foundation
Richard M. and Heather M. Thomson 

With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002 Ken Thomson’s generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in 2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering great value, and the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre offers engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and adults. Visit to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy tickets or memberships.

Sept. 25, 2013 – Nov. 27, 2013: David Bowie is

Nov. 30, 2013 – March 2, 2014The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection, 1910-1918

April 5, 2014 July 6, 2014: Francis Bacon & Henry Moore

The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.


For images and media inquiries, please contact:

Andrea-Jo Wilson; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 403,

Laura Banks; News Officer, AGO Communications
416-979-6660, ext. 504,

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