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McMichael exhibition celebrates promised gift of important collection of Quebec art
Robert Wakeham Pilot (1898-1967), Summer on the River, 1934. Oil on canvas, 61 x 74.3 cm. The Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry Collection.

KLEINBURG, ON.- The McMichael Canadian Art Collection has unveiled to the public the exhibition Eyes on Quebec: Treasures from the Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry Collection, showcasing the art of Quebec and early Canadian modernism through an exceptional and rarely seen private collection that has now been gifted to the McMichael.

The exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry, whose passion for Canadian art and sense of connection to her native Quebec were the driving force behind a collection that includes important works by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté, Clarence Gagnon, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Robert Wakeham Pilot, Jean Paul Lemieux, Paul-Émile Borduas, and Jean Paul Riopelle, among others.

"The McMichael has done a truly amazing job exhibiting the collection that Andrée and I built together," said Robert Fitzhenry. "Were she here, I know she would have been very pleased. The McMichael possesses a wonderful collection of historical Canadian art housed in an intimate setting, making it the perfect fit for our collection long-term."

The promised gift of fifty works represents a significant addition of Quebec art to the McMichael Collection in both the number and quality of the works. A full gallery space in the exhibition highlights the works of renowned Quebec artist Jean Paul Lemieux, including three paintings from the permanent collection of the McMichael and eight from the Fitzhenry Collection, all of which were created at the height of Lemieux's artistic development. The gift also features watercolours and works on canvas by Marc-Aurèle Fortin, the first works by the celebrated Quebecois painter to be added to the McMichael Collection.

"The McMichael is deeply honoured by Mr. Fitzhenry's remarkable gift, and delighted by the opportunity to showcase and preserve such an exquisite collection," said Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director and CEO of the McMichael. "The gallery owes its existence to the vision of Robert and Signe McMichael - a vision that continues to be nurtured and upheld by collectors who share the couple's passion for Canadian art. The extraordinary generosity of individuals like Mr. Fitzhenry is vital to the growth and success of our country's cultural institutions. This promised gift complements and builds upon the works by Quebec artists included in the McMichael's permanent collection."

Comprised of more than sixty works spanning a period of over 100 years, ranging from Marc-Aurèle Fortin's soft, lyrical depictions of the Quebec countryside to Jean Paul Riopelle's raw abstract canvases, Eyes on Quebec explores three distinct themes - the figure, the landscape, and modernism and abstraction.

The selection of works speaks not only to the depth and scope of artistic expression in Quebec, but also to the diversity in style and subject matter as chosen by Andrée Rhéaume Fitzhenry and Robert Fitzhenry, and their commitment to the artists who inspired them.

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