Just in time for the holidays, the AGO
has opened a group of intimate exhibitions that feature the work of two remarkable storytellers Aesop and Walter Trier. Animal Tales: Beasts, Toys, and Fables from the AGO Collection opened December 24 and comprises four installations: Walter Trier: The Animals Conference; Aesop and Other Fables; Savage and Sublime: Animal Prints from the 1700s; and Walter Triers Toyland. The installations feature brightly coloured illustrations that celebrate the timeless appeal of picture books and the magic of visual storytelling.
Because of our unprecedented offers of free admission to visitors 25 and under and the special family package for Maharaja: The Splendour of Indias Royal Courts, we wanted to ensure that families had a number of exciting reasons to spend a day of their holidays at the AGO, says Matthew Teitelbaum, the AGOs Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. In addition to the spectacular treasures on display in Maharaja, families visiting the AGO over the holidays will have the opportunity to experience a wide range of outstanding works of art, from Julian Schnabels expansive canvasses and Betty Goodwins inspiring notebooksboth on display in our contemporary tower to the enchanting fun and whimsy of Animal Tales.
The four installations that comprise Animal Tales:
Walter Trier: The Animals Conference
Featuring more than 30 original pen-ink-and-watercolour illustrations by Walter Trier, The Animals Conference is a classic childrens book written by Erich Kästner and published in 1947. It tells a story of a group of animals who hold a peace conference at the same time as government leaders meet to discuss war. As the story progresses, the animals are forced to take drastic measures to ensure a future without conflict. The playful story unfolds through Triers vivid watercolours, and in a nod to its young visitors, the AGO has replaced traditional wall labels with the text of the story and hung the works at a kid-friendly height. Hands-on activities for kids will be available inside the exhibition and copies of various translations and editions of the book will also be on view.
Aesop and Other Fables
Aesops Fables has been published continuously for seven centuries and was one of the first illustrated books to be printed after the invention of the printing press. Published first in Latin, the fables have been translated into numerous languages over the centuries. This exhibition features selections from 27 different editions of Aesops Fablesthe earliest published in 1667, the most recent in 2008displayed alongside texts from some of the most treasured tales, including The Hare and the Tortoise and The Fox and the Crane. The exhibition also features 12 etchings by Francis Barlow, originally published in 1687 in the volume Aesops Fables with his Life: in English, French and Latin.
Savage and Sublime: Animal Prints from the 1700s
In the late 1700s images of wild animalslions, tigers, leopards and untamed horsesappealed to the popular fascination in Britain for the exotic and the dangerous. According to philosophers of the time, an individual could experience the sublime through the contemplation of such awe-inspiring, terrifying subjects. This installation includes seven works on paper by six artists, including two works by George Stubbs and three directly inspired by his work. The images of Stubbs and his contemporaries were spread to wide audiences through the remarkable engravings made after their paintings by other artists.
Walter Triers Toyland
In 1922, Walter Trier illustrated the book Spielzeug (Toys) by Oskar Seyffert. An avid collector of traditional German folk toys, Trier was inspired by their simple expressive forms and whimsical qualities, and they provided a constant source of inspiration for his art. This installation displays 11 watercolour illustrations along with three antique German toys from Triers own collection.
Walter Trier: The Animals Conferenc
e will be on view until April 25, 2011; Savage and Sublime: Animal Prints from the 1700s
and Walter Triers Toyland
will be on view through March 20, 2011; Aesop and Other Fables
will be on view through March 27, 2011.