Rare Masterpieces By Monet, van Gogh, and Gauguin Will Hit the AGO This Fall

It’s not often something makes us excited for summer to be over before it even begins. But Toronto’s Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is doing just that.

The famed gallery will bring rare masterpieces by Monet, van Gogh, Gauguin, and more to Toronto; breaking new art historical ground in the process by exploring the mystical experience in nature.

Organized in partnership with the renowned Musée d’Orsay in Paris, Mystical Landscapes: Masterpieces from Monet, van Gogh and more features some of the greatest artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. This includes names like Emily Carr, Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh, Vassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keeffe, and James McNeill Whistler.

In total, 36 artists from 15 countries will be featured. The exhibition will include close to 90 extraordinary paintings and 20 works on paper, representing artwork that conveys the artists’ mystical experiences of something greater than themselves.

Of course, the late 1800s and early 1900s were marked by widespread materialism, rapid urbanization, and an increased disillusion with traditional religious institutions. Subsequently, many artists across Europe and North America searched for an alternative, unmediated spiritual path through mystical experiences. They’d convey their spiritual thoughts on nature and the cosmos in what have become some of the world’s most famous landscape creations.

Five years in the making, Mystical Landscapes was conceived and developed by Dr.Katharine Lochnan, the AGO’s senior curator of international exhibitions, together with guest curators Dr. Roald Nasgaard and Bogomila Welsh-Ovcharov, in addition to Guy Cogeval and Isabelle Morin Loutrel of the Musée d’Orsay. Over the past five years, a multi-disciplinary advisory group that was drawn largely from senior faculty at the University of Toronto assisted the AGO. Leading experts in the fields of theology, history, astrophysics, medicine, and psychology have looked at nature mysticism and art through different lenses.

“These masterpieces convey experiences that cannot be put into words,” says Lochnan. “The feeling of connecting with a deeper reality—a power much greater than ourselves—is a mystical experience. These experiences may reach any of us all through the contemplation of nature and the cosmos.”

Various cultural institutions worldwide have offered support of the project, lending pieces that are very rarely lent.

Mystical Landscapes debuts on October 22 and runs to January 29, 2017, before opening at the Musée d’Orsay in the spring of 2017.

So, if you’re looking for an indoor activity and want to tap into your own spiritual side, you should start getting excited.