A Walk Through The City: Experiencing Victoria as a Flâneur

Noah Becker, Untitled, (1991), oil on canvas

Noah Becker, Untitled, (1991), oil on canvas

March 4 – March 29, 2009

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown

Curated by Dr. Carolyn Butler Palmer, Williams Legacy Chair in Modern and Contemporary Arts of the Pacific Northwest.

The expression flâneur was coined by critic Charles Baudelaire in nineteenth-century Paris, a time of rapid growth both economically and industrially. The original definition, before developing into a more contemporary and inclusive version, was of an observer of Paris who lives immersed in the city while remaining a detached observer. Because of the developments in the city, flâneurs felt it necessary to properly experience these new visual stimuli. In doing so, the concept of the flâneur assisted in ushering in the age of modernism.

Michael Williams, the donor of many pieces in this collection, was a driving force in the revitalization of downtown Victoria. A business man, developer and heritage conservator, Williams is an excellent example of flâneur, someone who enjoyed experiencing the beauty of the city in which he lived.

The artworks are divided into four themes: Moving Through City Space, Anonymity, People Watching, and Ephemeral Features.