Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery

May 2 - August 23, 2015    |    Regular Exhibition

Daily guided tours and audio guides are available in both official languages; more information here!




This monumental exhibition highlights the first and founding strength of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery — a permanent collection of extraordinary masterworks, the most significant and valuable art collection in Atlantic Canada, and one of the finest and most important holdings of British art in North America. Featuring extraordinary works of art by world-renowned artists, such as Gainsborough, Constable, Copley, Delacroix, Reynolds, Sargent, Sickert, Sisley, Sutherland, Turner, Freud, and Dali, and by seminal artists in the history of Canadian art, such as Krieghoff, Morrice, Harris, and Carr, it represents the remarkable legacy of the multi-millionaire business tycoon, newspaper publisher, politician, author, personal confidant of Sir Winston Churchill, and great philanthropist, Lord Beaverbrook, or Sir William Maxwell (Max) Aitken (1879-1964).

Among the many generous benefactions Lord Beaverbrook bestowed upon New Brunswick, and there are a multitude of them, the greatest is arguably his magnificent collection of masterworks and the creation of a purpose-built art gallery in which to house them. In 1959, at the opening of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Premier Hugh John Flemming stated: “No man could make a finer, richer, more enduring gift to his friends than Lord Beaverbrook is now giving to the Province of New Brunswick.” Dr. W.G. Constable, curator of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and a former director of the National Gallery in London, England, referred to his gift as “incomparably the greatest contribution made by Lord Beaverbrook to the arts in Canada.” Time magazine called it “Beaver’s Greatest Landmark”.

Lord Beaverbrook took a proactive approach towards establishing a world-class art collection by enlisting numerous international art experts to advise him on key acquisitions, and by directing his charitable foundations (the UK Beaverbrook Foundation and the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation) to fill the art gallery with works of art of only the very best quality. These initiatives, in his words, were “of great assistance in our attempts to achieve a higher and higher standard of pictures in the gallery.” Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is reflective of Lord Beaverbrook’s well-defined collecting program, which focused on British and Canadian art from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, and was inclusive of the work of prominent and promising painters of his day whom he befriended and supported, as well as important works donated by many of his friends and associates. A total of 323 works of art were gifted to the people of New Brunswick at the Gallery’s inception.

Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery was organized in 2009 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the designation of the city of Fredericton as a cultural capital of Canada. Building on a long history of sharing and making accessible the Gallery’s permanent collection, it constitutes the first national and international touring exhibition of its most prestigious holdings for the appreciation and enjoyment of audiences in North America. To date, it has travelled to the Society of the Four Arts, Palm Beach, Florida; the Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, Alabama; the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta; and the Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba. After presentation at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, it will tour to the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery, Sarnia, Ontario.

Curator: Terry Graff
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery and supported by the Museums Assistance Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage, by Presenting Sponsor TD Bank Group, and by the law firm of McInnes Cooper.

Presenting sponsor

Supporting sponsor

Funded by the
Government of Canada



Want to learn more? Christine McLean spoke with our Masterworks International Lecture Series speakers for CBC Radio's Information Morning.

You can listed to the lectures directly below, or follow the links to listen to them on the CBC website.

Elliott King - June 29, 2015

William Feaver - July 6, 2015

Katerina Atanassova - July 13, 2015

Sally Moss - July 20, 2015