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The Hart House Permanent Collection had its beginnings in 1922 with the purchase of a work by A.Y. Jackson, one of the members of the then recently formed Group of Seven painters. A dominant force in the early 20th century history of Canadian art, the Collection encompasses now world-renowned works by members of the group and their wider circles across the country, including Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Charles Comfort, David Milne and others, whose primary interests was in the representation of the Canadian landscape and wilderness.

In the mid-century, the collection came to focus on the Montreal-based Automatists and the Toronto-based artists associated with Painters Eleven, whose works explored and promulgated abstraction.

Most recently, the Art Committee has focused on acquiring works by culturally diverse artists in a greater range of media, including artists who are at once engaged with but also counter prevailing canons and mythologies of identity and history in Canadian art. Inclusive of broader gender and cultural identities, as well as artistic forms, the current selection of works features Toronto-based artists such as Wendy Coburn, Erika DeFreitas, Jalani Morgan, Jon Sasaki, and Laurel Woodcock, as well as artists from across the country, including Stan Douglas, Ken Lum, Divya Mehra, Adrian Stimson, and many others.

On the occasion of Hart House’s Centennial, we are thrilled to share some of the most recent additions to the Hart House Permanent Collection. Selected by the Art Museum’s curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan, and installed in collaboration with Art Museum and Hart House staff, the works on view capture uniquely contemporary perspectives by Indigenous, settler and newcomer artists. Encompassing works in a variety of media including painting, photography and language-based works, their presence creates a living place for the multiplicity of artists’ voices and ways of thinking as they shape the story of art and its relation to our present time.

The artists whose works are featured in this presentation of the collection include Meryl McMaster, Jon Sasaki, Divya Mehra, Jalani Morgan, Jérôme Havre, Shelley Niro, Deanna Bowen, Laurel Woodcock and Erika DeFeritas. These will be displayed alongside artists’ works acquired over the previous decade, such as Norval Morrisseau, Scott McFarland, Stan Douglas, Lynne Cohen, Joanne Tod, Kent Monkman, Greg Curnoe, Carol Condé and Karl Beveridge, Micah Lexier, and Monica Tap, among others.

 

Image: Jon Sasaki, Microbes Swabbed from a Palette Used by Tom Thomson, 2013, archival inkjet print. Purchased by the Art Committee, 2016.