THE WINNIPEG EFFECT
Winnipeg Art Gallery
300 Memorial Boulevard, Winnipeg
Director: Stephen Borys
The Winnipeg Art Gallery was established in 1912 when a group of Winnipeg businessmen each contributed $200 to open a gallery in the Winnipeg Industrial Bureau Exposition Building that existed at the corner of Main and Water Streets. Thus, the WAG was born, becoming the first civic art gallery in Canada. Now just past its centenary in 2012, the Winnipeg Art Gallery has developed from a small civic gallery to Canada's sixth largest gallery with an international reputation.
As it expanded, the WAG relocated premises several times to accommodate its growing collection, including its former residence in what is now the Manitoba Archives Building on St. Mary Avenue. It was here that the Gallery moved in an exciting new direction under the helm of Viennese-born art curator Dr. Ferdinand Eckhardt who transformed the gallery into an important international institution during his long tenure from 1953 to 1974.
Under Eckhardt's aegis, the WAG grew in stature, presenting significant exhibitions, and the collection grew apace with important acquisitions such as the Gort Collection of late Gothic and early Renaissance art. The 1950s also witnessed the beginning of several of the WAG's specialized collections, including that of Inuit Art. The WAG is now home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.
Eckhardt's determination also realized the construction of the present WAG building. Designed by Winnipeg architect Gustavo da Roza, the building was opened by Her Royal Highness The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, on September 25, 1971. In addition to eight galleries, the building contains a 320-seat auditorium, a rooftop sculpture garden and restaurant, a research library, a gift shop, and extensive meeting and lecture space. [excerpts from the WAG website]. See full history.
Winnipeg Art Gallery Chronology and Timeline
Winnipeg Art Gallery Website
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