Today, WAG-Qaumajuq holds in trust the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Inuit art. Other areas of note include historical and contemporary Canadian art, historical British and European art, decorative art, and photography. Explore the constantly evolving collection, reflecting the combined efforts of generations of curators, researchers, collectors, donors, and artists.
Our exclusive Guide to the Collections provides an overview of WAG-Qaumajuq’s defining collection areas through 400 artwork highlights.
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Government of Nunavut
The Government of Nunavut Fine Arts Collection, on long-term loan to the WAG, dates from the late 1800s to the present and includes thousands of sculptures, prints, drawings, artifacts, and textiles by internationally-renowned artists.Learn More >>>
Prints & Drawings
Works on paper make up almost half of the WAG collection, including excellent examples of Italian and Dutch Baroque ink drawings, contemporary Inuit stonecuts, and contemporary pieces.Learn More >>>
Photography & Video
The Gallery’s photographic and video collections include work by major international figures, as well as world-renowned Manitoba photographers.Learn More >>>
American & European Art
The WAG holds notable collections of art from the Flemish and German Renaissance, as well as British, 19th and 20th century French, German Expressionist, and 20th century American art.Learn More >>>
The WAG is home to a large collection of ceramic, glass, metal, and textile objects from the 17th to the 21st centuries, including particularly strong representation of 18th and 19th century English ceramics.Learn More >>>
The WAG’s collection of art produced since the 1980s includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and installation with a focus on work by artists with a connection to Winnipeg and Manitoba.Learn More >>>
Nearly half of the WAG collection is composed of artwork by Indigenous artists, including the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.Learn More >>>
WAG-Qaumajuq is committed to extending engagement with the collection and supporting learning initiatives that advance our mission. We welcome proposals for loan requests for consideration by our team.
Please note that we have instituted a loan moratorium.
Today, WAG-Qaumajuq’s primary collecting interests include both historical and contemporary works of art in the following areas: Inuit Art, Canadian art, Indigenous art, and European art.
If you are interested in pursuing a donation to the WAG-Qaumajuq Collection, please feel free to send the following information to the Collections & Exhibitions and Museum Services Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. Name of the artist(s)
2. Title of artwork(s)
3. Photo of artwork(s)
4. Dimensions, medium
5. Year the artwork(s) were created
6. Acquisition details
Donations of works of art to the Winnipeg Art Gallery go through a very considered process. The artwork is assessed to ensure it complements our existing collection and addresses our collecting mandate. Once assessed as such, the curator develops a justification and makes a presentation to WAG’s Works of Art Committee, where the artwork is voted upon for acceptance to the collection. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis.
Please note the Gallery does not provide appraisals for works of art. If you are interested in the value of your artwork, please contact the Art Dealers Association of Canada, who will put you in touch with a qualified appraiser.
Many artworks in the WAG collection are available to license for scholarly, personal, and commercial use. Requests can be made via our Right and Reproductions Request Form or by contacting Collections Management at email@example.com.
We are continually researching our collections and acquiring new documents in an effort to expand, amend, and refine artwork records and information. If you have any corrections or suggestions regarding the information on the catalogue, please contact Collections Management at firstname.lastname@example.org
WAG-Qaumajuq welcomes exhibition proposals. If you are a practicing artist and would like your work to be considered for an exhibition, or are a curator with an exhibition proposal, please send the following information digitally to our curatorial department.
The WAG requires that all Exhibition Proposals contain the following:
- Cover Letter
- Artist / Curator / Project Statement
- Current Curriculum Vitae
- A Maximum of 20 Images
- Relevant Support Material
An email of receipt will be sent out once the submission is received by the curatorial office. Proposals are generally considered on a quarterly basis.
As per standard art gallery practice the WAG’s exhibition schedule is programmed roughly 3 years in advance. This enables the WAG to fulfill provincial and federal government funding requirements and provide adequate planning time to mount significant exhibitions that are supported through educational programs and public relations.
Please email your proposal.
Provenance refers to the ownership history of an artwork from the time it was created to the present day. It is an important way to understand the cultural, social, and economic contexts of an artwork. The provenance of some artworks may have legal and ethical implications such as requiring the return, or repatriation, of looted or illegally exported works to their rightful owners.
If an artwork is found to be acquired in an unethical manner by the WAG or by the individual or institution who collected the works prior to it entering the Gallery’s collection, the WAG would move forward with the necessary steps towards repatriation. Public access to provenance information on all artworks in the WAG collection is available upon request. Research on the provenance of artwork in the WAG collection is an ongoing exercise that is part of the WAG mission and operations. For instance, in 2014, the WAG was one of six galleries who participated in a pilot research project coordinated by the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO) to research the provenance of Holocaust-era artworks.
The WAG’s permanent collection, like most museum collections, contains artworks that have incomplete provenances. For art objects that are several centuries old, it is quite common for their provenance history to be incomplete. This is especially true of works whose histories intersect with periods of political and social upheaval, or in situations of cultural inequity, when all forms of moveable assets tend to change hands frequently – legally or otherwise. Since records of ownership are often lost or don’t exist in writing, it is often difficult to fully document the provenance. While researching and securing the provenance for these objects is complex, it is a scholarly activity that the WAG is always doing as part of its broader mission.
Provenance research is undertaken in a variety of ways, starting with clues that may still exist on the artworks themselves such as on the backs of paintings, on their frames, or on labels or inscriptions that point to earlier owners or transactions, or at least to their locations. It is a form of forensic investigation, requiring specialized expertise. A wide variety of relevant documentation must be identified, located and consulted such as old auction sale catalogues, dealer records, exhibition records, archival photographs, personal papers, family histories and stories, and other forms of published sources. Each artwork presents its own particular case and challenges. Whereas intensive provenance research on a particular artwork may result in the complete reconstruction of its provenance, there are no guarantees of success.
The WAG is committed to investigating the provenance of works in its permanent collection and is open to reviewing new evidence as emerges through the varied channels of research and reconciliation.
As with many historical collections of artworks, there are certain works in the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collection that are culturally inappropriate in today’s context. This could include their subject matter, their mediums, or their institutional cataloguing and titles. The Artworks Renaming Initiative addresses these problematic pieces by incorporating Indigenous knowledge in their renaming.
Mandy HyattExhibitions & Loans Administrator
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