National Gallery of Canada welcomed more than 75,700 visitors this summer


OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 9, 2021 – Since its reopening on July 16, the National Gallery of Canada welcomed more than 75,700 visitors. More than 42,300 people experienced the major exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). The eight-week exhibition sold out a week before it closed on Monday, September 6, with additional hours selling out as well.

The Contemporary art projects Capsule, by Rashid Johnson and Symphony, by Tau Lewis, as well as the exhibition The Collectors’ Cosmos: The Meakins-McClaran Print Collection, all still on view this fall, also attracted visitors’ attention.

“These are exceptional numbers in pandemic times, and it shows how people crave for experiencing visual arts in person. We are delighted with the overall response, as well as to Rembrandt in Amsterdam,” said NGC Director and CEO, Dr. Sasha Suda. “Visitors were treated to many remarkable works by Rembrandt and his peers—some of them shown for the first time in Canada or North America—as well as powerful works by four contemporary Indigenous and one Black artists. Through this exhibition, the Gallery’s curatorial approach sought to tell the story of art history in a more complete and inclusive way, and our audiences responded. This means so much to the teams and the partners we’ve worked with over the past five years to bring this exhibition to life. The exhibition was surrounded by two strong installations by contemporary Black artists Rashid Johnson and Tau Lewis, and a stunning exhibition of Dutch and Flemish prints from the 16th and 17th centuries, The Collectors’ Cosmos: The Meakins-McClaran Print Collection, allowing people to explore the way visual arts interconnect global histories.”

Works on view by Rembrandt included The Blinding of Samson (1636, Städel Museum, Frankfurt) presented in North America for the first time, Landscape with Stone Bridge (c. 1638, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), Judith at the Banquet of Holofernes (1634, Madrid, Prado), and Portrait of Andries de Graeff (1639, Gemäldegalerie, Kassel). The exhibition brought new attention to the NGC’s Old Testament Heroine, painted by Rembrandt in 1632/33, and the Gallery’s outstanding collection of etchings by Rembrandt.

On average, the Gallery welcomed 10,000 visitors each week since reopening on July 16. By the second week of the exhibition opening, all time slots were sold out, and by the fifth week, time-ticketed admissions were sold out three to five days in advance. In response to strong public engagement and interest, the Gallery extended opening hours for the last four days of the Rembrandt exhibition. The national collection also attracted visitors who browsed the galleries of Indigenous and Canadian art, Contemporary art, European art and International art.

Works by Rembrandt, his friends, followers and rivals will be on display at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, from October 6, 2021, to January 30, 2022.

Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition was organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. The National Gallery of Canada would like to thank Bader Philanthropies Inc. for their generous support of the groundbreaking exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam, as well as PACART and Touchstone Exploration, Inc. for their sponsorship. The exhibition was supported by the Government of Canada and is honoured by the patronage of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and the Office of the Governor General of Canada. Proud partners included the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canada and the Canadian Tulip Festival.

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