Beaverbrook Art Gallery to Carry the Torch of York Wilson’s Legacy

Beaverbrook Art GalleryFebruary 7, 20170 Comments


Beaverbrook Art Gallery to Carry the Torch of York Wilson’s Legacy

York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts and Beaverbrook Art Gallery Announce Future of York Wilson Archive


Fredericton, NB, February 7, 2017: The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is pleased to announce an outstanding gift from the York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts. The donation, consisting of over 850 works of art, financial support, and a digital archive of the artist’s works, represents the largest single collection of York Wilson’s work.

The York Wilson Foundation, dedicated to encouraging public awareness and interest in Ronald York Wilson’s artistic legacy, has previously donated over 600 artworks to institutions across Canada. This latest gift is part of a larger scale transfer of ownership over the artworks, as well as the digital archive of Wilson’s entire collection. This addition to the permanent collection of the Gallery represents the celebrated Canadian artist and his entire career. It is the largest donation from the Foundation to date, and one of only two East of Ontario. 
In addition, the Foundation has pledged $260,000 in financial support.

“At the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, we are committed to building an outstanding collection that is representative of the work of artists of high artistic achievement who have played a leading role in the development of Canadian art,” says Terry Graff, Director/CEO of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. “We are, therefore, sincerely grateful to the York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts for this most generous and remarkable gift. As a major enhancement to our Canadian holdings, this important study collection enables the Gallery not only to celebrate and showcase Wilson’s art and career accomplishments, but to place his work in the context of artists of his time who were also active on the Canadian and international art scene.”

Jeffrey Spalding, Chief Curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, adds: “The Beaverbrook Art Gallery is honoured to be entrusted as the custodian of the legacy of this extensive collection of the life’s work by York Wilson. Throughout the 1950s to 1970s, Wilson was the exemplar of the progressive modernist artist. His work embraced a staggering range of creative explorations from representational to abstract art; it was the formative influence upon generations of emerging artists.”

Ronald York Wilson (1907-1984) was born in Toronto, where he went on to take two years of formal art education and began a career as a commercial artist. His experience working alongside members of the Group of Seven was very influential on his style and skills, and led him ultimately to branch off as an independent artist. Wilson led a nomadic style of life for many years, moving around the world and focusing mainly on an abstract style of painting. Wilson travelled extensively through the world to gather subjects and themes for his art. The artist’s work is in major public galleries around the world, from the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa to the Uffizi in Italy. York Wilson is revered for his monumental-scale murals permanently on view at The O’Keefe Centre, the Imperial Oil Building, and Bell Canada.

The York Wilson Foundation for Visual Arts is dedicated to maintaining this artistic legacy, as well as offering access to Wilson’s body of work for public engagement and education. It was established in 2011, and has since actively worked on donating hundreds of artworks by the artist, and maintained a central source of research material on the artist, including images of artworks, video, and research and writing.

“The Board of directors of the York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts would like to express our delight that a large body of York Wilson's artwork has found a home with the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, so that as a collection it will preserve the spirit, thought and time of art history in which this work was generated.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery looks forward to completing the acquisition of this monumental and significant collection in the near future, and to furthering the goals of the York Wilson Foundation for the Visual Arts in preserving the legacy of this influential Canadian artist.


About the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery was founded by Lord Beaverbrook on September 16, 1959. The Gallery is internationally known for its collection of Atlantic Canadian, Canadian, British, and International works of art. The Beaverbrook Art Gallery “enriches life through art”. As the official art gallery of New Brunswick, and one of Canada’s leading art galleries and most important cultural treasures, its mission is to “bring art and community together in a dynamic cultural environment dedicated to the highest standards in acquisitions, exhibitions, programming, education and stewardship.”

The Beaverbrook Art Gallery enriches life through art.
La Galerie d'art Beaverbrook enrichit la vie par l'art.

Media Contact
Jeremy Elder-Jubelin
Manager of Communications and Visitor Services
Beaverbrook Art Gallery
703 Queen Street, P.O. Box 605
Fredericton, NB  E3E 5A6
Phone: (506) 458-2039
Fax: (506) 458-2028

Edited February 17, 2017: Removed the erroneously-inserted words "of programming" in the sentence: "The donation, consisting of over 850 works of art, financial support of programming, and a digital archive of the artist’s works, represents the largest single collection of York Wilson’s work." We regret the error.

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