Canadian Art Collection


The Canadian Art Collection has been of great help in creating and reinforcing the canon of art of Canada and greatly assists in shaping Canadian national identity. The art gallery of Ontario (AGO) has an exceptional Canadian art collection and majorly emphasizes the art of Ontario and Toronto. For instance, the texts in the Gallery illuminates the 11,000 years of the Canadian tradition and visual expression. Moreover, the department of art of Canada has a collection of ancient forms of human expression that spans from the history of man up to 1985. Such artwork collections include the Inuit Visible Storage and the First Nations.

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The Thomson collection is the pride of the AGOs Canadian Collection and has a fascinating presentation of the First Nations historic arts gathered from the Pacific Northwest. It also hubs the artwork of artists like Alex Colville, William Kurelek, Paul Emile Borduas, David Milne, and other prominent contemporaries. The AGO collection also has a gallery of prints, photographs and drawings for some of the most important Canadian works . The most distinguished premier collections that make the AGO unique include the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson and their related generation. The emphasis of these unique art collections revolves around the landscape and features both resource industries and natural phenomenon. In 1920, the Group of Seven had their first exhibition at the Toronto Art Gallery that changed to Ontario Art Gallery. The artwork done by this group continues to influence the Canadian national identity in the contemporary setup.

The groups artwork receives complementary strength and reinforcement from paintings done in different times of history such as the artwork done by Canadians with a reflection of the French modernist and academic paintings. The artistic synergy also comes from the Victorian era paintings, the ancient Quebec art, historic sculpture work and Canadian abstraction and modernist and other incredible artwork in the history of Canada. The Inuit Visible Storage is one of the most distinctive features in the world that mark the Canadian Art Collection and emphatically harbors different pieces of artwork done by the Canadians since 1948. The contemporary gallery preserves more than five thousand objects; among them are two thousand eight hundred sculptures, one thousand three hundred prints, an assorted collection of wall hangings and seven hundred drawings. Today, AGO continues to focus on selecting pieces of artwork that reflect the far Norths current state of affairs. These include baleen, antler, stone, ivory, large whalebone of Akpaliapiks Manasie and other contemporary pieces of fascinating artwork.

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Thomson Collection of Canadian Art and J.S. McLean Center for Canadian Art

Thomson Collection in a private Canadian art collection that appreciates the philanthropy and commitment of Ken Thomson as an arts collector. The collection is of great significance since it harbors Ontario art gallerys two thousand outstanding works. The gallery hubs assorted signature artworks by great Canadian artists spanning from 19th century to 20th century . Tom Thomson and the Group of Seven contributed about three hundred pieces of artwork in this collection. Other collections include; Cornelius 19th century remarkable paintings, totaling to one hundred and forty five and David Milnes 20th-century fascinating paintings, totaling to a hundred. Another group composes of artwork done by other similar luminaries such as William Kurelek, Paul Emile Borduas and Paul Kane.

A tour around Thomson collection begins either at gallery 207 that has 22 paintings done by Group of Seven or at gallery 206 that has 28 done by Morris Edmund, Kane Paul and Carr Emily. In gallery 207, there are also art pieces from West Coast done by First Nations comprising of two masks and a salmon mobile. There is also a display of a Raven rattle in gallery 206 done in 1860, a comb done in that period and a clapper. Another attractive gallery is 218 that displays 43 paintings that portray landscape of Ontario and done by Harris Lawren and collected by the Group of Seven. This gallery also has impressive blue stone done by Harris Lawren and three pieces of Northwest Coast art that portray historical background. On the eastern side of this gallery, there are galleries 221, 220, 205, 204 and 203 that display white artists paintings totaling to 193 in number. Others include paintings done by Krieghoff Cornelius, Morris Edmund and Quebec French Canadian artists and out of the 193, Krieghoff did 104. To the western side of Thomson collection stands big paintings that portray landscapes. Gallery 216 contains 59 pieces of Thomsons artwork that inspired the Group of Seven. A collection of 160 pieces of artwork stands in gallery 208, 209 and 210 done by Group of Seven. Finally, one hundred and fourteen of Milne Davids artwork stands in gallery 211 to gallery 214.

The J.S. McLean Centre

Gallery 224 to gallery 239 together with gallery 201 constitutes The J.S. McLean Centre. They depict the theme of power, myth and memory. The galleries portray the diversity and complexity of the Canadian artwork and show the chronological art of the First Nations. In gallery 225, contemporary artworks together with historical arts exist and First Nations did these artworks.

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The Analysis of the Canadian Art Collection History

The electrifying sketches by Tom Thomson provides a journey across Canada beginning from east to west together with the artwork done by other luminary painters like Harris Lawren by displaying the rocky mountains and the arctic fascinations. The Canadian art collection enhances the Canadian culture by portraying the history of the people pictorially in form of photographs, drawings and prints. The federal mandate and policies of Art Gallery of Ontario is to bring people together by creating a community using art and to assist people in understanding and experiencing the world in a new way. This entails promoting and preserving the heritage of Canadians and contributing towards the collective sense of identity and memory of the people . It means that there should be a collection of artwork from different regions and across various cultures for the Canadian art collection to meet their mandate and policies. It also has premier art collection of other places such as America and Europe. Through these art collections, the Gallery maintains the worlds biggest arts exhibition touring program. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson present their artistic impressions in a manner that depicts s journey from sketches to finished arts work, from woods to sky and from Algonquins lakes and trees view to the Arctic. All these fascinating artwork impressions show Canadian iconic status of a rich and well-endowed cultural heritage.

The paintings by Thomson, some done by sketch boxes, provide a rich heritage of the countryside and landscape since he spent most of his time canoeing and fishing and exploring Algonquin. On the other hand, the paintings by Harris Lawren draw much influence from theosophical tenets and illustrate the relationship between nature and the spiritual elements in the representation of the landscape. Harris, being a stylish trained painter, depicts several genres in his artworks ranging from different views of Algoma, portraits, urban scenes and winter landscape. In view of these, the mandate of the AGO is met satisfactorily.

However, one important thing misses out in the art gallery and requires a better criterion. There should be a change or review of the deaccessioning policy by AGO to make it better than what it is today. Currently, the artworks removed from the gallery never find their way to any other room for exhibition since individuals buy them. Unfortunately, the paintings, drawings or prints displaced may mean a lot to some viewers or may express a very significant part of the history or culture. The best criterion to handle such pieces of work is to preserve them in a separate room in order not to lose the information they convey.



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