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dan donovan

The Donovan Collection

St. Michael's College is one of the older and more historic colleges in the University of Toronto federation, and Louis L. Odette Hall, constructed in 1856, is the University's oldest building in continuous academic use, facts that might, make Odette Hall at St. Michael's seem an unlikely location for a Collection of contemporary Canadian art that has drawn both wide attention and admiration since its installation in 1996.

Father Dan Donovan, whose genius in creating and shaping this collection, and whose generosity in gifting it to St. Michael's, is responsible for its location here, a fact which, as President, I celebrate. Professor Donovan has been a member of our teaching staff for thirty years and since 1980 he has brought together artworks representing the inspiration and talent of more than sixty Canadian artists active during the period; pieces in which he sees a particular reflection of each artist's attempt to express a spiritual theme or dimension, sometimes but not always involving religious images and symbols.

The Collection has come to be an important complement to St. Michael's flagship academic programme, Christianity and Culture, in which Father Donovan teaches. More broadly, it represents a survey of a full generation of the best in Canadian art and displays a unity that reflects the practice of adhering to a general theme in the collecting activity.

Richard M. Alway, President, University of St. Michael's College.
[From the Foreword to the Catalogue "Signs of the Spirit: The Donovan Collection at St. Michael's College", University of Toronto. 2001]


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