sunday art tour


Preservation Center, originally uploaded by mintyfresh.

Today we headed out to a part of Gatineau that I had no idea even existed, much less housed a building the size of two football fields (or could hold 2 747s), to take a look at selected works from the preservation archives of the Canadian Portrait Gallery.

This was part of a once-a-year program put on by Library and Archives Canada, in order to allow the public access to a rarely seen collection. And oh what a collection it is! The portrait gallery archives include more than 20,000 paintings, drawings and prints, more than 4 million photographs, several thousand caricatures and more.

I had posted about this a while ago, when I first stumbled across the announcement of these open sessions - it's sure a rare occurrence to be able to get into this facility alone, much less into the paintings vault where we were today for our tour.

We saw all manner of portraits today - from paintings made in the mid-1600s to Karsh's famous photograph of WInston Churchill, to larger scales images that you might struggle to deem 'portraits' but totally are. It was fantastic! The tour guides are curators for the archives, and well educated on the subjects. They have lots of historical info to provide (which is far more helpful than just telling us who and where and when).

These sessions run for a few more weeks. with a morning and afternoon session occurring on Sundays. You can find more details about the tours here. Tours run every fall for a limited number of weeks.