AGO Acquires Acclaimed Malcolmson Collection of Photography
TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013
TORONTO, Dec. 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) has
acquired the renowned Malcolmson Collection, a grouping of 268 vintage photographic works by 110 significant 19th-
and 20th-century artists. The acquisition was made possible through a
donation of photographs by Ann and Harry Malcolmson and a private donation. The Malcolmson Collection is regarded as one of
the most important collections of historical photography in private
hands in Canada and has been exhibited in Vancouver in 2009, and in
Toronto in 2012.
"Harry and Ann Malcolmson are passionate and innovative collectors who
believe strongly in the power of art to transform lives," said Matthew
Teitelbaum, Director and CEO of the AGO. "Thanks to their extraordinary
generosity, this one-of-a-kind collection will remain in Canada and
transform the AGO's photography holdings. It will spark new approaches
to our own collection and open up new ways to represent the art of the
20thcentury. Already we are developing programming and education initiatives
centred on these works, which we now hold in the public trust."
"Ann and I are thrilled," said Harry Malcolmson. "Thanks to the AGO's
intervention, the Collection will not be dispersed and will be publicly
available for generations to come."
The Malcolmson Collection spans the history of photography from inventor
William Fox Talbot to Robert Frank and includes representative
photographs from each of the significant periods and styles of the
history of the medium. It also highlights photographers known for
creating a uniquely photographic visual language, including Eugène
Atget, Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, Man Ray, László
Moholy-Nagy, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Harry Callahan and John Vanderpant,
regarded by the Malcolmsons as Canada's most important photographer of
the modernist period.
The Collection's importance and special character derives from the
decision made by Harry and Ann Malcolmson in the 1980s to refocus their
30-year association with contemporary art—including Harry Malcolmson's
stint as an art critic—to explore the unknown territory of historic
"It was as if we entered a darkened room when we began collecting," said
Harry Malcolmson. "And when the lights went up, we found ourselves in
an enchanted room." Ann Malcolmson added, "That so little attention was
paid to such wonderful works of art seemed inexplicable, so we
responded. We didn't collect photography—it collected us."
Reflecting on their association of over 50 years with the Gallery, Harry
Malcolmson remarked, "You can think of Ann and me as AGO 'lifers.'" The
Malcolmsons have donated more than 50 works to the Gallery over that
time, including paintings, prints and photographs—most notably the 1856
seascape by Gustave Le Gray, Le Soleil couronné, which was the first work by the artist to enter the AGO's collection.
"The Malcolmsons have developed the leading private collection of its
kind in Canada," said Maia Sutnik, the AGO's Curator of Special
Photography Projects. "The core of their Collection is supported by
exceptional photographs marked by bold experimentation, both historical
and contemporary. In many cases, these would be the first or superior
examples of works to add to the AGO's collection, particularly from the
early 20th-century modernist period, which is currently a significant
Offering visitors their first glimpse into the Collection, select works
will be on display at the AGO from June 15, 2014, to Jan. 25, 2015.
Further details will be announced in the new year.
ABOUT THE AGO
With a collection of more than 80,000 works of art, the Art Gallery of
Ontario is among the most distinguished art museums in North America.
From the vast body of Group of Seven and signature Canadian works to
the African art gallery, from the cutting-edge contemporary art to
Peter Paul Rubens' masterpiece The Massacre of The Innocents, the AGO offers an incredible art experience with each visit. In 2002
Kenneth Thomson's generous gift of 2,000 remarkable works of Canadian
and European art inspired Transformation AGO, an innovative
architectural expansion by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry that in
2008 resulted in one of the most critically acclaimed architectural
achievements in North America. Highlights include Galleria Italia, a
gleaming showcase of wood and glass running the length of an entire
city block, and the often-photographed spiral staircase, beckoning
visitors to explore. The AGO has an active membership program offering
great value, and the AGO's Weston Family Learning Centre offers
engaging art and creative programs for children, families, youth and
adults. Visit ago.net to find out more about upcoming special exhibitions, to learn about
eating and shopping at the AGO, to register for programs and to buy
tickets or memberships.
The AGO acknowledges the generous support of its Signature Partners: American Express, Signature Partner of the Conservation Program; and Aimia, Signature Partner of the Photography Collection Program.
The Art Gallery of Ontario is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of
Tourism, Culture and Sport. Additional operating support is received
from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous
contributions from AGO members, donors and private-sector partners.