Catalogue


Bringing art to life : a biography of Alan Jarvis /
Andrew Horrall.
imprint
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, c2009.
description
xiii, 457 p., [16] p. of plates : col. ill., ports. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
9780773535749 :
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, c2009.
isbn
9780773535749 :
catalogue key
6817021
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Reviews
Review Quotes
"In 1959 the Conservative government fired the director of the National Gallery of Canada, Alan Jarvis, for being too chic, too mouthy, too gay, and too careless about committing himself to buy Old Masters when he didn't have money in the budget to pay for them." Robert Fulford
This item was reviewed in:
Globe & Mail, December 2009
Quill & Quire, December 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
Alan Jarvis - the brilliant director of the National Gallery of Canada - resigned in 1959 following a disagreement with the government over the purchase of works by European Old Masters. He never fully recovered from this dismissal, and succumbed in little over a decade. This book is a portrait of his colourful life and tragic death.
Main Description
In 1959, Alan Jarvis - the brilliant and charismatic director of the National Gallery of Canada - was forced to resign following a disagreement with the government over the purchase of works by European Old Masters. He never fully recovered from this dismissal, or the public humiliation that followed, succumbing to alcoholism in a little over a decade. Only thirty-nine when he took over the National Gallery in 1955, Jarvis already had an extraordinary record of achievement and social mobility at home and in England: he had trained with Canada's greatest artists, won a Rhodes scholarship, lunched at the Algonquin Round Table in New York, managed an aircraft factory, written a bestseller, produced films, run a slum settlement, and moved in a London social circle that included Noël Coward and Vivien Leigh. As head of the National Gallery, Jarvis was a provocative public educator, advocating his idea of "a museum without walls" in countless public appearances. Instrumental in bringing modern art to the National Gallery, he shook artists and the art-minded public out of a period of national complacency. This first detailed account of the controversy surrounding his time at the gallery provides an important context for the ongoing and contested role of publicly supported arts and art institutions in this country. Tracing Jarvis' personal background and varied careers through archives, published sources, and interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Bringing Art to Life assesses his impact and exposes the formal and informal mechanisms through which Canadian culture operated in the mid-twentieth century.
Main Description
Only thirty-nine when he took over the National Gallery in 1955, Jarvis already had an extraordinary record of achievement and social mobility at home and in England: he had trained with Canada's greatest artists, won a Rhodes scholarship, lunched at the Algonquin Round Table in New York, managed an aircraft factory, written a bestseller, produced films, run a slum settlement, and moved in a London social circle that included Noël Coward and Vivien Leigh. As head of the National Gallery, Jarvis was a provocative public educator, advocating his idea of "a museum without walls" in countless public appearances. Instrumental in bringing modern art to the National Gallery, he shook artists and the art-minded public out of a period of national complacency. This first detailed account of the controversy surrounding his time at the gallery provides an important context for the ongoing and contested role of publicly supported arts and art institutions in this country. Tracing Jarvis' personal background and varied careers through archives, published sources, and interviews with family, friends, colleagues, and critics, Bringing Art to Life assesses his impact and exposes the formal and informal mechanisms through which Canadian culture operated in the mid-twentieth century.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Colour plates follow pagep. xii
ôA Walking Work of Artö: Introductionp. 3
ôA Curiously Mixed Backgroundö: Family and Childhood, 1915-1934p. 8
ôDouglas Duncan Invented Meö: Undergraduate, 1934-1938p. 27
ôI May Come Home with an Accent, God Forbidö: Europe, Oxford, and Darlington, 1938-1939p. 55
ôThe Dead Daysö: Toronto and New York City, 1939-1941p. 85
ôUp to My Ears in the Business Worldö: England, 1942-1945p. 105
ôTo Build a New Kind of Societyö: The Council of Industrial Design, 1945-1947p. 136
ôA Break in a Millionö: Pilgrim Pictures, 1948-1950p. 159
ôI Certainly Hope 1950 Will Be Differentö: Oxford House, 1950-1955p. 189
ôA Museum without Wallsö: The National Gallery of Canada, 1955-1956p. 217
ôA Chamber of Horrorsö: The National Gallery of Canada, 1957-1959p. 264
ôCanada's Most Outspoken and Witty Man About the Artsö: Toronto, 1960-1968p. 277
ôWe Have Lost Our Sheep Dogö: The Last Years, 1968-1972p. 337
Conclusionp. 350
Notesp. 355
Bibliographyp. 427
Index
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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