The Gardiner is thrilled to announce the launch of CLAY, an original in-house restaurant offering seasonal menus of fresh, local fare in collaboration with The Food Dudes.
See an extraordinary spectrum of contemporary works, including vessels, figurative sculpture, and abstract forms in The Diana Reitberger Collection, on display in our Modern and Contemporary Ceramics Gallery.
We're partnering with Henderson Brewing Co for a special tasting and conversation on chicha, one of the world's earliest beers. Guests will get the chance to sample an exclusive small batch fermented in special vessels made by local ceramic artist Keenan O’Toole. Tickets are limited!
The Gardiner Museum is among the few museums in the world focused on ceramics, and is one of the most important specialty museums internationally. It houses approximately 4,000 objects, including European porcelain, ceramics from the Ancient Americas, Chinese porcelain, Japanese porcelain, and contemporary ceramics. Search the collection online!
Everyone can love clay! Become a Friend at one of the world’s great specialty museums and enjoy the benefits, including unlimited admission, invitations to exhibition previews and special events, discounts on lectures and clay classes, and more.
The second half of the 19th century was a golden age of collecting in Europe and North America. The epicenter in Canada was Montreal, then the country’s economic powerhouse. In a period of colonial expansion, its business leaders collected and displayed European and Asian art to convey their emerging power and status.
Sir William Van Horne (1843-1915), the American-born builder of the Canadian Pacific Railway, was one such collector. While the public rooms of his Montreal mansion included masterpieces by Rembrandt, Turner, and others, he confessed to loving the Japanese ceramics in his private study most of all.
The opening of Japan after 1854 sparked a fashion in the West for collecting Japanese objets d’art including ceramics. Some scholars and dealers soon became fascinated by the bowls, jars, and vases made for domestic use rather than export, seeing them as more authentic. Van Horne became passionate about these modest pots, assembling a collection of over 1,200 examples.
This exhibition reunites for the first time what survives of Van Horne’s collection, alongside his exacting watercolors, elaborately annotated notebooks, letters, and related archival material. Together, these artifacts offer a remarkable case study in the history of collecting in late-19th century Montreal, highlighting Van Horne’s place in an international network of connoisseurs and the imperialist impulses behind his taxonomic acquisitiveness. Above all, they reveal the little-known obsession of one of the greatest collectors in Canadian history.
Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics is organized by the Gardiner Museum in partnership with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with objects generously provided by the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Header image: Tea bowl with design of baton Kyoto, Edo-Meiji period, 19 c. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 1944.Ee.6, Adaline Van Horne Bequest
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