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Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde Opens October 18 at the AGO

Masterworks from the Centre Pompidou make their only North American appearance in Toronto

(TORONTO – Sept. 21, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario brings the magic and wonder of modern painter Marc Chagall to Toronto next month with a major exhibition organized by the world-renowned contemporary art museum, Centre Pompidou. Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris is on view from Oct. 18, 2011 to Jan. 15, 2012, and includes 32 vivid and imaginative works by Marc Chagall and eight pieces by Wassily Kandinsky, alongside pieces from other visionaries of Russian modernism such as Kasimir Malevich, Natalia Goncharova, Sonia Delaunay, and Vladimir Tatlin. A total of 118 works belonging to the collection of the Centre Pompidou comprises a broad array of media including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography and film.

Early-bird tickets for the exhibition are on sale now and include a 20 per cent discount if purchased online before Oct. 18. Regularly priced tickets range from $16.50 for youth and student visitors to $25 for adult admission. Admission is free for children ages 5 and under. Tickets can be booked online.

AGO members enjoy FREE admission to Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde, and are invited to attend a special members’ preview of the exhibition on Sunday, Oct. 16, 10 am – 8:30 pm, and on Monday, Oct. 17, 10 am – 5:30 pm. Members of the Curators’ Circle can enjoy an exclusive talk and preview on Monday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 pm.

FRANK Restaurant will be offering a special menu in conjunction with Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde from Oct. 18, 2011 to Jan. 15, 2012, designed by award-winning executive chef Anne Yarymowich to celebrate French and Russian cuisines. Package deals include a $65 ticket (including tax) which offers admission to the exhibition, one audio guide, as well as a three-course prix-fixe dinner at FRANK, and a $35 ticket (including tax) that offers admission to the exhibition, and a set meal at caféAGO with a choice of sandwich, cookie and non-alcoholic beverage.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the AGO hosts a benefit gala inspired by the vibrant, dreamlike art of Marc Chagall. A limited number of tickets to the Chagall Ball are still available and include dinner, entertainment and an exclusive preview of the exhibition. The evening starts at 7 pm with a cocktail reception, followed by dinner in Baillie Court where guests will be treated to a gastronomic fusion of Russian and French cuisine prepared by the acclaimed AGO culinary team, led by Executive Chef Anne Yarymowich. For tickets please contact Adrienne Maniezzo at 416-979-6660 ext. 580, or

Programming highlights for Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde include:

Sunday, Nov. 20 at 3 pm

Under the direction of acclaimed violinist Jacques Israelievitch, the Koffler Chamber Orchestra presents a concert inspired by Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde. Featuring works by Chagall’s favourite composers as well as those who share the painter’s Russian-Jewish background, the program includes a Mozart Divertimento, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48, Marc Kopytman’s Music for Strings and Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Piano and Strings, featuring guest pianist Andrew Burashko.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 8 pm

Koffler Art Salon presents a not-to-be-missed evening of music, dance, performance, spoken word and more with Toronto’s avant-garde artists who reach back to the world of Chagall for inspiration. The evening includes performances by the eight-piece jazz fusion ensemble The Thing Is, the cutting-edge dance artists of Kaeja d’Dance, Russian-born accordionist Sasha Luminsky, and Yiddish jazz chanteuse Theresa Tova with pianist Matt Herskowitz, who offer an excerpt from their new production of Bella: The Colour of Love (based on the life of Bella Chagall, wife and muse to Marc Chagall).

Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 7 pm

Yale University’s Benjamin Harshav, a pre-eminent Jewish culture critic and a respected scholar on Chagall, presents a lecture on the artist and his times.  Professor Harsha’s recent publications include Marc Chagall and the Lost Jewish World: The Nature of Chagall's Art and Iconography (Rizzoli, 2006); Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative (Stanford University Press, 2004). Presented in collaboration with the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Toronto.

The presentation of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde at the AGO is generously supported by Nance Gelber and Daniel Bjarnason, Leslie and Anna Dan, Joe and Budgie Frieberg, Al and Malka Green, and Dorothy Shoichet.   


With a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America. In 2008, with a stunning new design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry, the AGO opened its doors to the public amid international acclaim. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a gleaming showcase made of wood and glass running the length of an entire city block along the Gallery’s façade; and the feature staircase, spiraling up through the roof of Walker Court and into the new contemporary galleries above. From the extensive Group of Seven collection to the dramatic new African art gallery; from the cutting-edge works in the contemporary tower to Peter Paul Rubens’ masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, a highlight of the celebrated Thomson Collection, there is truly something for everyone at the AGO.


For more images and more information, contact:

Sean O’Neill, 416-979-6660 ext. 403,
Caitlin Coull, 416-979-6660 ext. 364, 
Antonietta Mirabelli, 416-979-6660 ext. 454,


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