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New Emily Carr Donations

November 12, 2005 - November 12, 2005

Patronage. It seems like a word from the past. A patron, defined in the dictionary is ‘one who countenances, protects or gives influential support to something, especially the arts’. Interestingly, its other meanings also include ‘a regular customer’, with other references to patron saints, ‘the special guardians of somebody or something.’

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and much of its collection, has been built on the generosity of ‘patrons’ and it is heart-warming to know this tradition continues.

In honour of the Gallery’s many great and dedicated patrons in Victoria and across the country, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is presenting an exhibition of recently donated works. This exhibition will explore two areas: the Gallery’s impressive and expanding Asian Art collection as well as an extension of the exhibition that previews five recently donated works by Emily Carr.

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is proud to announce the donation of five paintings to their Emily Carr collection. The five early watercolour paintings by this renowned BC artist have rarely been seen in public before and came to the Gallery as a generous gift from a local Victoria family.

Three of the five watercolours were painted around 1909 and depict Arbutus trees, forest scenes and a wind swept hillside of Beacon Hill Park. The two smaller paintings do not have a confirmed date but appear to have been painted before 1909. One portrays a driftwoodstrewn beach scene and the other documents Victoria’s Inner Harbour with references to a Hudson’s Bay Company building on Wharf Street, the 1874-75 Federal Custom House, the 1894 Post Office and the spires of the old Christ Church Cathedral in the distance.

The addition of these five works significantly expands the Gallery’s collection to 41 pieces and places our collection of Emily’s early works among the strongest in the province. As well, the provenance of the works is extremely important. All five paintings donated by the Davies family came to the family directly from Emily Carr herself: two were given as wedding gifts and others are believed to have been purchased from the artist by the family during a time of the artist’s need.

The family has made this donation in memory of the family members that were friends with Emily Carr and hope this gift will renew a public focus on the importance of her work and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s Carr collection. The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is much indebted to the Davies family for donating their Carr legacy so that future generations will be able to enjoy it as well.

When the exhibition is over, the Gallery intends to renovate and redesign the Emily Carr exhibition to incorporate the new paintings. The Gallery is very interested in hearing from the community about Emily Carr and the design of a new exhibition. There will be an opportunity for public input during the preview of the new paintings. As well, people can submit their ideas

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