About the Permanent Collection
The permanent collection was established in 1959 with the gift of 300 works of art from Sir Max Aitken (Lord Beaverbrook). Its original focus was on British and Canadian painting and on various gifts of art that Lord Beaverbrook was able to secure from friends and colleagues (Sir James Dunn, Lady Dunn and their associates). Since its inception, the permanent collection has grown to include over 3,000 objects and several other categories of collecting activity.
The British collection comprises one of the most comprehensive collections of its type in Canada, encompassing work from the Elizabethan era through to the twentieth century. It includes full-length “Grand Manner” portraits, informal group portraits, and numerous preliminary studies of some of Britain’s best-known politicians, writers and celebrities by that country’s most prominent artists, as well as fine examples of landscapes and “scene” paintings, history and mythological subjects, still life and genre paintings of everyday life, Pre-Raphaelite works, and modern painting.
The Canadian Collection comprises a broad range of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and sculpture from across Canada from the eighteenth century to the present with special emphasis on the art of the Atlantic Region. Of particular note are comprehensive holdings of the work of Cornelius Krieghoff, Jack Humphrey, Christopher Pratt, and Bruno Bobak, and the 50th Anniversary Legacy Collection, which comprises 151 works in diverse media, providing a cross-section of Canadian contemporary art. Other special collections within the Canadian Collection include craft objects, folk art, Inuit prints, and First Nations art.
The International Collection spans six hundred years of artistic practice in Western Europe and features a wide-ranging yet cohesive array of art history’s most familiar subjects. Reflecting both secular and religious imagery, Italian, French, Spanish, Dutch and American works dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century provide an historical context for the British and Canadian collections. Of special note is the Hosmer Pillow Vaughan Collection, which comprises Continental fine and decorative art spanning seven centuries: paintings, European miniatures, British porcelain, tapestries, and furniture.
As the officially designated art gallery of New Brunswick, the gallery has established the New Brunswick Collection with the intention of providing a comprehensive historical survey of the visual arts in the province and featuring strong representation of the creative expression of local Acadian, Maliseet, and Mi’kmaq artists.
The permanent collection also includes large-scale outdoor sculpture by regional, national, and international artists installed on the gallery’s property, which features an adjoining sculpture garden.