• By: Keith Whittier

A Surreal Career: The Ottawa Art Gallery Opens Permanent Exhibit for the late Gerald Trottier

Gerald Trottier The Pilgrimage of Old Age, 1982

Today, between 5:30 – 7:30pm., the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) is hosting a reception and donation lunch for the late Gerald Trottier, internationally recognized artist and Ottawa area resident.

This collection contains nearly 100 pieces that were generously donated by Trottier’s wife Irma. Irma and her family have carefully selected watercolours, sketches, prints, drawings, and colleges from their large collection, some of which were too difficult and personal to part with.

Still, this donation marks the largest the OAG has ever received. Featuring his works from the 1940s to the 1990s, this collection traces the evolution of an artist that never slowed down.

Trottier is known for his realistic and vivid style that he developed as a student in Belgian Dutch Surrealist and Expressionist schools. This style is evident in one of Trottier’s most popular works, the Pilgrimage I, which is part of the OAG exhibit.

Pilgrimage I, 1980
Pilgrimage I, 1980


Before creating this breakout piece, Trottier was already gaining notoriety at 19-years-old when he opened his first exhibit in 1944. By 1950 Trottier had his art in the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts.

Part of his success is owed to Bernard Klonis, who he studied under as a member of the New York Art Students League.

Trottier spent a portion of his long career teaching drawing at Carleton University. While at Carleton, Trottier completed his mural Pilgrimage of Man (1962) that can be seen in the lobby of the Henry Marshall Tory Building.

Trottier’s work is also on display at the National Art Gallery of Canada. Outside of Canada, Trottier’s art has been featured in exhibitions in Austria, Mexico, and Brazil.

In addition to preserving the work of an internationally recognized Canadian artist, the OAG’s ART Rental and Sales department will have 23 works of Gerald Trottier for sale for a short time. Available works include sketches, landscape portraits, and even a piece he made as a chemistry student in high school.