Trottier returns to national gallery stage

By Catherine Elliot Shaw
March 27, 2014

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ARTcollectionA Tribute to Rivers at Western 1965 by Gerald Trottier (Canadian, 1925-2004). This artwork, oil and collage on canvas, is part of McIntosh Gallery’s Western Alumni Art Collection and was presented to the university by the association in 1967.

The Ottawa Art Gallery will celebrate the lifework of Canadian artist Gerald Trottier (1925-2004) at an upcoming exhibition entitled, Perspective: Gerald Trottier, to be held in the Art Rental and Sales Gallery.

Donated by Trottier’s wife, Irma, the collection reflects a significant body of the former Western artist-in-residence’s career with works from the 1940s through the 1990s. This includes early social realist watercolours, sketches, prints, drawings, collages and major paintings such as his Easter Series and Sao Paulo works. Several of the works on display were created at Western while Trottier served as the university’s third artist-in-residence.

Perspective: Gerald Trottier is the largest donation of work by a single artist in the gallery’s history.

If you cannot make it to Ottawa, Western’s McIntosh Gallery proudly owns some of Trottier’s work, including this artwork, A Tribute to Rivers at Western, part of Western’s Alumni Art Collection.

In 1965, Trottier had just begun his appointment as Western’s artist-in-residence, a position designed to provide interested students with experiential learning in the visual arts. In addition, he established a studio painting practice in the McIntosh Gallery building while organizing controversial exhibitions and activities.  He also consulted on the foundation of the Department of Fine Arts which opened its doors just after his departure in 1967. 

A Tribute to Rivers at Western was created following Trottier’s invitation to the prominent American artist Larry Rivers to exhibit his work and speak on campus. Trottier emulated River’s revolutionary pop art aesthetic centred on U.S. cultural elements enhanced with collaged details and even a version of Rivers’ own female nude model. 

In 1966, the Western Alumni Association formed a committee to research and assemble a collection of museum-quality contemporary art. Trottier’s painting is one of 18 works acquired for the Alumni Art Collection which boasts artworks of outstanding local, national and international significance including Jack Chambers, Greg Curnoe, Yves Gaucher, Michael Snow and Jules Olitski. Enjoyed both on campus and at numerous public art galleries across Canada, the collection will be featured in a major exhibition at McIntosh Gallery in September 2015.

-          Catherine Elliot Shaw, McIntosh Gallery curator























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