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Five generous patrons donate painting by Christopher Pratt to National Gallery of Canada
Christopher Pratt, Argentia: The Ruins of Fort McAndrew: After the Cold War, 2013. Oil on canvas, 103 x 203.5 cm. Purchased 2013 through the generous donation of Gisella Giacalone, Margaret L Marshall, R. Raso, W. J. Wyatt and Scott Campbell. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo © National Gallery of Canada.
OTTAWA.- Argentia: The Ruins of Fort McAndrew: After the Cold War, a new painting by the great Canadian artist from Newfoundland, Christopher Pratt, is now in the national collection. Created in 2013, the painting was generously donated to the National Gallery of Canada by a group of five donors, admirers of the artist’s work. The work of art is on view in Canadian Art gallery A112B.

“We are delighted that this beautiful and important new Pratt painting will have a permanent place in the National Gallery of Canada, where it can be seen and enjoyed by visitors to the Gallery for generations to come,” said Gisella Giacalone, owner and director of Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto, on behalf of the five contributors, Giacalone herself, Margaret L. Marshall, R. Raso, W. J. Wyatt, and Scott Campbell.

“The National Gallery has been collecting Christopher Pratt’s work since 1961,” said NGC Director and CEO Marc Mayer. “For over fifty years, he has been a much beloved artist on the Canadian scene and one of our most significant painters. We are particularly pleased to accept this remarkable gift to the nation and are most grateful to the donors.”

With this new acquisition, the NGC’s national collection now comprises 59 artworks by Christopher Pratt, including two drawings, four paintings, and 53 prints.

In 2005, the National Gallery of Canada marked Christopher Pratt’s 70th birthday with an exhibition highlighting the artist’s large-scale oil paintings.

Argentia: The Ruins of Fort McAndrew. After The Cold War portrays a site that is familiar to the artist, the Argentia military base, next to Placentia Bay, on the Southwest coast of the Avalon Peninsula. The fort was built in 1942 as a base for the English, American and Canadian armies during the Second World War. This work is a reminder of the military past of Newfoundland and St. John’s harbour, where several forts, bunkers and an arsenal were built.

The title remains evocative: the reference to the Cold War reinforces the austerity of the landscape while the depiction of the fort as a ruin gives a romantic allure to this modern veduta and emphasizes the attachment of the artist to Newfoundland. The fort was abandoned in 1955.

Argentia: The Ruins of Fort McAndrew. After The Cold War is distinguished by its graphic realism. From the shadows cast by the ladders on the wall, to the broken panes in three of the windows, every descriptive detail is included. These precise touches give the work a classic grandeur.

Born in St. John’s in 1935, Pratt has lived in Newfoundland for most of his life, and works from his home on the bank of the Salmonier River south of St. John’s. “I have either painted or thought about painting every day of my life since I was 16,” once said Pratt. In the process, he has become one of Canada’s most recognized and accomplished artists. For more information about the artist, read his biography on the Gallery’s website.

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