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National Gallery Visitors will be Able to Flip through Fragile Art Books

OTTAWA.- Visitors of the National Gallery of Canada will be able to browse and appreciate rare historical art books that are too fragile to touch, as a result of a new collaboration between the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) and HP Canada (HP). Thanks to interactive HP TouchSmart technology, viewers will be able to “flip through” electronic versions of the books on a widescreen display with a multi-touch enabled screen, while the original works remain safely protected in a display case. The NGC is the first major cultural institution in Canada to partner with HP to make art more accessible through interactive displays.

The first works to receive this special treatment are two bound albums of photographs that are part of the upcoming exhibition 19th-Century French Photographs from the National Gallery of Canada, on view from February 5 to May 16, 2010. The albums, Félix Bonfils’s Souvenirs d’Orient, Album pittoresque des sites, villes et ruines de la Terre-Sainte, 1878, and Maxime Du Camp’s Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, 1852, contain more than a hundred beautiful photographs taken by these pioneers of the medium.

“Works of art on paper, be they photographs, prints, drawings, or books, can only be exposed for brief periods of time due to their fragility. While we are always eager to share these works with the public, we have to be mindful of preserving them for future generations,” said NGC Director Marc Mayer. “Thanks to modern technology by innovators like HP, we are now able to present some of these works in an exciting and revolutionary way.”

“We are partnering with the Foundation and National Gallery to enrich the lives of visitors by providing interactive access to fragile works of art,” says Charles Salameh, Vice President and General Manager, Personal Systems Group, HP Canada. “With HP’s multi-touch technology, patrons can interact with and view pieces of history that were previously inaccessible.”

HP TouchSmart technology allow users to simply pinch, rotate, arc, flip, press or drag a finger across the screen of the PC to access information, entertainment and social networks in a natural, intuitive way.

The President and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada Foundation, Marie Claire Morin, warmly welcomed HP Canada to the Foundation’s corporate family. “Through this exciting collaboration, HP is helping the Gallery to break new ground by making some of the national collection’s most delicate works more accessible to the public. We applaud and thank this innovator for its generous contribution.”

Canadians from across the country will also be able to benefit from HP’s new technology as these interactive displays will become part of some of the exhibitions travelling throughout Canada under the NGC’s On Tour program.

National Gallery of Canada | Charles Salameh | Marc Mayer | Fragile Art Books |

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