National Gallery reopens Friday with ‘Rembrandt in Amsterdam’ plus 3 other new exhibitions

National Gallery reopens Friday with Rembrandt exhibition
  • Four new exhibitions and installations on view, including the highly anticipated major exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam. Creativity and competition, featuring The Blinding of Samson, shown for the first time in Canada
  • Free admission for Indigenous people
  • Free admission for the person accompanying someone with disabilities

OTTAWA, ON, July 12, 2021 – Four new exhibitions and installations await the public as of 10 a.m. Friday, July 16 at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC). Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition brings more than 100 works from Rembrandt, his friends, followers, and rivals drawn from prestigious collections and museums from across North America and Europe for the first time in more than 50 years. The groundbreaking exhibition also contextualizes the period during which the Dutch Republic emerged as a colonial power, and presents a selection of contemporary art works from both Indigenous and Black artists. Tau Lewis: Symphony, and Rashid Johnson: Capsule, two compelling and engaging large-scale sculptures by Black artists are on view in the Gallery’s public spaces. The exhibition The Collectors’ Cosmos: The Meakins-McClaran Print Collection focuses on landscapes, capturing an aspect of the 16th-century boom in printmaking in Northern Europe.

The Gallery also announced today that admission is now free for Indigenous People—Inuit, Métis, and First Nations. Admission for the companion of a person with a disability is also free.

“Art opens hearts and minds, it reminds us that everything is connectedAnkose in Algonquin, which guides the Gallery in all we do. Join us at the National Gallery of Canada when we reopen this Friday—there is so much to see and to discover,” said Dr. Sasha Suda, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada.

In addition to the usual sanitary measures implemented at the Gallery since the beginning of the pandemic, tickets will be time-stamped to manage the capacity of public spaces and exhibition rooms to ensure a safe environment for visitors and staff. Timed-stamped tickets will be on sale online starting this Wednesday, July 14, at Passes, vouchers and coupons can be redeemed by calling 1-800-319-ARTS (2787).

For the summer time, the Gallery will be open to the public from Wednesdays to Mondays inclusive (closed on Tuesdays), from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

Eye-catching, thought-provoking exhibitions and installations

Capsule, a monumental steel pyramid sculpture by New York-based artist Rashid Johnson, greets visitors as they arrive at the bottom of the Colonnade. Furnished with some 200 natural plants potted in handmade ceramic vases, sculptures of shea butter and fibreglass, video monitors, books and other objects, the work functions as a brain, linking autobiographical, intellectual, historical, literary and musical sources.

For the first time in Canada, art lovers will be able to see in person The Blinding of Samson, a large-scale oil on canvas by Rembrandt from the Städel Museum, Frankfurt, in the exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition. The exhibition highlights the evolution of Rembrandt’s career as an artist, mentor, and entrepreneur by placing his works in dialogue with those of 20 other artists who were his friends, followers, and rivals. New attention is also brought to the NGC’s Old Testament Heroine, painted by Rembrandt in 1632/33, and the Gallery’s outstanding collection of etchings by Rembrandt. Visitors will also see Landscape with Stone Bridge from the Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam)—one of eight known landscape paintings by Rembrandt, returning to Canada for the first time in more than 60 years.

Rembrandt in Amsterdam, for which a new and groundbreaking approach was taken by the Gallery to contextualize the period during which the Dutch Republic emerged as a colonial power, presents contemporary art works from both Indigenous and Black artists. Visitors will enter the exhibition through the sculpture Longhouse of the Future, 2019, an aluminum Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) longhouse structure by artist Skawennati (Kanien’keha: ka and Italian-Canadian who lives and works in Tiohtia: ke [Montreal]). Other contemporary art works on view from both Indigenous and Black artists based in Canada include dark string, 2010, a live video installation by Greg Staats (Skarù:ręˀ/Kanien’kehá:ka who lives and works in Toronto, and From 1848 to the Present/Cross-section of a Slave Ship, 2006–2018, a drawing by Canadian Congolese artist Moridja Kitenge Banza who lives and works in Montreal. The voices of Indigenous and Black curators, authors, and scholars on the impact of the Dutch colonial project on Black and Indigenous peoples were also brought to the narrative through wall texts.

Rembrandt in Amsterdam: Creativity and Competition is organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt am Main. The exhibition is honoured by the co-patronage of His Majesty the King of the Netherlands and the Office of the Governor General of Canada. Proud partners include the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Canada and the Canadian Tulip Festival.

Symphony, by Jamaican-Canadian artist Tau Lewis, welcomes visitors to the Rotunda as they leave the exhibition Rembrandt in Amsterdam. Conceived with reclaimed clothing and fabrics, with floral garlands reaching to the ceiling, Symphony is an expressive portrait of a “mutable, devoided of gender that can transmute into blossoms.”

More than 200 works from the private collection of prints of Dr. Jonathan Meakins and Dr. Jacqueline McClaran are brought together in the exhibition The Collectors’ Cosmos. The Meakins-McClaran Print Collection. It features works from 15th-century Germany, 18th-century Holland, and 20th-century North America and Europe. Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Hendrik Goltzius, Camille Pissarro, Jusepe Ribera, Jacob Van Ruisdael, Jean-François Millet and John James Audubon are among the great artists represented.

Outside the Gallery, along the entire length of its southern façade overlooking the Taiga Garden, the large-scale photographic installation Barcelone, by Canadian artist Geneviève Cadieux, is open to the sight of passers-by. The installation is supported by the Scotiabank Photography Program at the National Gallery of Canada.

For budding artists and their families

On weekends and holidays, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., the Gallery offers Family Art Adventures for children aged 3 and up accompanied by an adult, to explore the galleries of the national collection with a guided interpreter, or on their own with a self-guided activity kit. Kits are available in the Fred & Elizabeth Fountain Court, located in the heart of the Indigenous and Canadian art galleries, where appointments for the tours can also be made.

To find out more about the Gallery’s programming and activities, visit and follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube and Instagram 

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