Saturday, February 07, 2009

Cullen at the Vancouver art Gallery

On Thursday I took some time away from business in the evening and headed to the Vancouver Art Gallery to enjoy the Maurice Cullen exhibit (Maurice Cullen and His Circle). The VAG is just up the street from work in Vancouver and a short walk from my hotel there.

The exhibit was breathtaking. I spent over 3 hours viewing the paintings of Cullen and a few of his contemporaries. The first thing I remembered was how great it is to see paintings in person as opposed to the net or in books. Inevitably, the colours are never the same and you can't really study the details or method except by looking at the works first hand.

Maurice Cullen was born in St-John's Newfoundland and grew up in Montreal Quebec. He gave up a career in sales to go and study art in Paris and later returned to Canada where he settled again in Quebec. In my opinion, Cullen's winter paintings are by far his best works. He mastered the colours and texture of winter in Quebec and his paintings vibrate with life because of that. Of particular interest in the exhibit are four paintings of Quebec City that are a must see. It is very hard to describe what is so brilliant about Cullen's works. You have to see them in person.

I came away with tones of notes and a handful of colour harmonies to try. Mostly I gained a deeper understanding of snow and winter painting from Cullen. It was an excellent experience. The colours in the pictures here and else where of Cullen's work are not even close to reality. I often wonder who edits these images and if they have actually seen the real work. I know first hand how difficult it is to match colours digitally when you have the painting right there next to you. I am sure that even the best of the images we see are done by people who do not have the luxury of having the paintings next to them as they modify the images. All the more reason to visit art museums and shows when ever you can I guess!

If you live in Vancouver or area, or have a trip there, don't miss the exhibit. It is well worth it.


  1. Anonymous1:51 pm

    So true Zan, about viewing art in person! Thanks for reminding me,... I try to do it whenever I can, but its never enough! Thanks for sharing these beautiful works... they are an inspiration.

  2. Thanks for the comment. True it is never enough. I actually left the gallery very reluctantly and only because I could not stand any more. :)

  3. thanks for providing us with information about this art gallery in Vancouver. I am planning a trip there soon so this is really useful; thanks.

  4. Carol, you will love it. These paintings are to die for and some are from private collections and will be hard to see elsewhere once this exhibit is over.


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