top of page
  • whytemuseum

J.E.H. MacDonald: The O'Hara Era - Summer 2024 Whyte Museum Exhibition in Photos

Updated: Jun 27


A refreshing June evening in the heart of Banff National Park brought together members, donors, board members, visitors, and community members to celebrate one of the Whyte Museum's most anticipated exhibitions — J.E.H. MacDonald: The O’Hara Era.


Details of painting by Group of Seven artist J.E.H. MacDonald.
Details of painting by Group of Seven artist J.E.H. MacDonald.
Author Patricia Cucman explains to guests the artifacts behind her research.
Author Patricia Cucman explains to guests the artifacts behind her research.
Guests at the exhibition opening of J.E.H. MacDonald - The O'Hara Era at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.
Guests at the exhibition opening of J.E.H. MacDonald - The O'Hara Era at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

CEO Donna Livingstone opened the evening with remarks of appreciation for all efforts it took for this unique exhibition to come to fruition, shown exclusively at the Whyte Museum as the sole venue this summer.


"An amazing opportunity came together very quickly about four years ago," said Livingtone. "We are still snapping our fingers and shaking our heads with excitement."


CEO Donna Livingstone gives introductory remarks at the opening of the Whyte Museum's 2024 summer exhibition.
CEO Donna Livingstone gives introductory remarks at the opening of the Whyte Museum's 2024 summer exhibition.

"J.E.H. MacDonald was a founding member of the Canadian Group of Seven. He first came to Lake O’Hara 100 years ago and returned for many years, painting and sketching some of his most iconic works.


I’m very proud – we’re all very proud - to welcome you as we present a National Treasure in our National Park. J.E.H. MacDonald, the O’Hara Era!

Through Rod Green of Masters Gallery, we discovered that Patty Cucman and Stan Munn had been quietly researching J.E.H. for over 20 years. They tracked down the sites where he painted, studied his notes, and even found scraps of paint. Along the way, Stan created beautiful photographs that document how the landscape has changed since that time. The trees may have grown, but in each, the mountains remain eternal.


Rod Green linked Patty and Stan’s research with Director and Chief Curator of Art and Heritage Anne Ewen who sparked the idea of a 100th anniversary exhibition of J.E.H. Rod knows who has the works and helped us track them down.


Our Director and Chief Curator of Art and Heritage Anne Ewen and her team approached national and public galleries to seek out loans and worked carefully to ensure proper conservation and security conditions were met. Amie Lalonde did an outstanding job of working out the extensive paperwork on each loan, including the breathtaking Albert Bierstadt painting from Ted Turner in Montana on view in the next room. DL Cameron, Kate Riordan, and Mike Cameron did a fabulous job as always in hanging the show."


Ryan Green of Masters Gallery brilliantly grasped the importance of a major publication to reflect this and supported one of the freshest new books of Canadian art in the country. Autographed copies of To See What He Saw are available in the Whyte Museum Book Shop.


"It’s more than a reflection of a great Canadian artist working in a Western landscape he loved," explained Livingstone. "It shows the deep connection J.E.H. felt for nature, for this remarkable landscape. This is the reason we are all in the mountains. This is our true connection to nature."



About the Exhibition



Until October 20th, 2024, the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies offers a rare opportunity to view over 100 works by Group of Seven artist J.E.H. MacDonald from public and private collections. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of his first trip to Lake O'Hara, the exhibition is an exceptional and unique experience, as the Whyte Museum is the sole venue to exhibit these exquisite works and artifacts.


The show is strengthened by original research conducted by geologists Patricia Cucman and the late Stanley Munn, who meticulously identified the exact locations of MacDonald's works, along with photographs, over the past 18 years. Their findings, documented in a major illustrated book titled To See What He Saw: J.E.H. MacDonald and the O'Hara Years 1924-1932, offer a fresh perspective on MacDonald and his work. Additionally, intriguing discoveries such as paint scrapings and teacup shards have been found in these exact locations — likely remnants of MacDonald's plein air sittings — providing further insight into MacDonald's creative process and daily life during his time at Lake O'Hara. These items are displayed at the Whyte Museum alongside his work.


Partnering with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and sponsored by Masters Gallery Calgary, we invite you to take an opportunity this summer to appreciate this breathtaking exhibition featuring mountain landscapes inspired by MacDonald.


Want to learn more about our exhibitions? Visit our website and stop by this summer to enjoy this rare opportunity to view the works of J.E.H. MacDonald's visits to Lake O'Hara.

 

Gallery 1: Photos from the summer exhibition opening of J.E.H. MacDonald - The O'Hara Era on June 15th, 2024 at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Photos by Katie Goldie.


0 comments

Comments


bottom of page