Art + the WAG

I love art.

For as long as I can remember, I have known the names of artists such as van Gogh, Degas, Monet and Picasso. I settled on a favourite painting long before I picked a favourite colour, and I’m pretty sure my parents were concerned for a few years that I would drop out of school and start painting murals on buildings in an effort to “find my inner creativity.”

Note: That never happened… but I did become a writer instead, so really, how far off was I?

Anyway, my love of art has been fuelled over the years through visits to world-famous art galleries. The 2009 Europe trip I shared with my brother and mother was definitely the jumping off point, and I was lucky enough to visit galleries in London, Amsterdam, Paris and Rome – just to name a few. I’ve also visited the Art Institute of Chicago twice, and have frequented Toronto’s ROM and AGO.

I’ll never forget the moment I saw my first “famous” painting. It was the original Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh, and my brother and I stumbled upon it at The National Gallery in London. It was there that we also saw works by Vermeer, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. I was awed into silence at the beauty of each piece, and from that moment on I vowed to visit as many museums and view as many art exhibits as possible.

The Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) has had some fantastic exhibits over the years, including works by Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and even Frank Warren’s PostSecret collection to name a few. It also has a wonderful permanent collection, which can be viewed year-round.

But last January, when I first read about the 100 Masters exhibit, I knew this was going to be something special. Winnipeg is definitely a cultural hub in Canada, but it isn’t every day that we get to view an art collection of this caliber in our city. As winter turned to spring, I eagerly counted down the days until it officially opened this past May…

I finally was able to visit the WAG a few weeks ago, and 100 Masters surpassed my expectations. The artwork was arranged by date, which made sense, and didn’t cater to the more famous pieces, which I appreciated. I did momentarily turn into a little girl when I walked into the room that contained the impressionist and post-impressionist art, but that just couldn’t be avoided.

I walked away from the WAG feeling immensely satisfied, with a list of new artists to research in my pocket. As someone who has travelled the world in search of the best galleries, this experience was definitely one of the top on my list. It isn’t everyday that I can see timeless, well-known art in my own city, and who knows when the opportunity will present itself again.

If you haven’t had a chance to see 100 Masters yet, there is still time. The exhibit has been extended to September 2nd (because of it’s popularity, no doubt) so head over to the WAG this week! Trust me – whether you love, like or are indifferent to art, this is something all Winnipeggers should see.

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About Amanda Hope

Communications professional. Book lover. History nerd. Runner. Tea drinker. Musician. Proud 'Pegger.
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