Recent Acquisitions

William Kurelek



The Dream of Michael Negrich 1966

gouache on masonite

75 x 151 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Ronald D. Macdonald

© Estate of William Kurelek, courtesy of the Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto

Born in Alberta, raised in Manitoba, William Kurelek began painting seriously while receiving psychological treatment in England in the early 1950s. Returning to Canada in 1956, Kurelek’s star rose through a series of popular and, at times, controversial exhibitions at the Isaacs Gallery in Toronto. The Winnipeg Art Gallery became the first public art museum in Canada to mount a solo exhibition of Kurelek’s work in 1966. Nadia Negrich (then Skremetka) helped coordinate Kurelek’s visit to Winnipeg for the exhibition’s opening. She and her future husband, Michael Negrich, befriended the artist and hosted him on some of the many subsequent trips he made to Manitoba.

As yet, no written account of Michael Negrich’s dream has come to light. Kurelek’s painting unfolds as a series of disparate vignettes. It exudes an otherworldly, apocalyptic mood that testifies to Kurelek’s deeply held affection for Northern Renaissance artists like Bruegel, Bosch, and Patinir. Billowing clouds, grain silos, an erupting volcano, moon, flying teacups, seagulls, and the Virgin Mary populate the painting’s background. In the right foreground, the semi-prone figure of Michael Negrich slumbers among wildflowers in a field alongside a black dog. To the left, the prairie field opens to reveal an underworld vision of a demon leering at two oblivious children playing.

William Kurelek’s work has been collected by major institutions across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada and Art Gallery of Ontario, as well as the Museum of Modern Art (New York) and the London Transport Museum.

Shuvinai Ashoona


(b. 1961)

Sinking Titanic 2012

graphite, coloured pencil, Pentel pen on paper

124.5 x 122 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds realized through sale of Inuit prints

Shuvinai Ashoona has lived her entire life in the community of Cape Dorset on Baffin Island and is a member of one of the most prominent artistic Inuit families. She began making drawings in the early 1900s and quickly distinguished herself as an artist with an unconventional vision. She has had her work featured in many exhibitions since then and is the subject of a 2012 film by Marcia Connelly. In recent years, her drawings simultaneously chronicle the past (Titanic history) and the present (rock band on deck). This is the first of Ashoona’s large-scale drawings to be acquired by the Gallery.

Jules Olitski

American (born in Ukraine)


Harlow Flow 1964

oil miscible acrylic on canvas

210.8 x 203.2 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Fredrik S. Eaton

© Estate of Jules Olitski / SODRAC, Montréal / VAGA, New York (2015)

One of the first and most celebrated practitioners of Colour Field abstraction, Jules Olitski immigrated as an infant to the United States from Soviet Ukraine in 1923. He studied art in New York and, after the Second World War, in Paris with Ossip Zadkine. Back in the United States, he befriended the influential critic Clement Greenberg and began teaching at Bennington College in Vermont. In 1964, the same year that Harlow Flow was painted, Olitski led the Emma Lake Artists’ Workshop in Saskatchewan. Unlike Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock, Colour Field painters like Olitski consciously sought to remove any reference to painterly gesture. Their practice was deeply informed by Greenberg’s aesthetic ideas, which emphasized material and formal issues over and above those of subject matter and personal expression.

Harold Edgerton



Milk Drop Coronet 1984–1985

dye-transfer print on paper

50.8 x 40.6 cm Image: 46.7 x 34 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Angela and David Feldman, the Menkes Family, Marc and Alex Musso, Tory Ross, the Rose Baum-Sommerman Family and Shabin and Nadir Mohamed

© 2010 MIT. Courtesy of MIT Museum


Aqjangajuk Shaa


(b. 1937)

Hunter Carrying a Caribou 1985

stone (green serpentinite), antler

108.5 x 47 x 26.7 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds realized through sale of Inuit prints

Aqjangajuk  Shaa has been one of Cape Dorset’s leading sculptors since the 1960s. Born at Satuqitu camp on south Baffin Island in 1937, he has been carving for over fifty years. He has been in numerous exhibitions, both solo and group, from 1970 to the present, in Canada, the U.S., and Germany. In 2003 Shaa was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. His hunters, drum dancers, polar bears, caribou, walruses, and birds are presented as energetic and sometimes even heroic figures. The exaggerated quality of his imagery is characterized by mannered poses that still retain a fine sense of balance. This depiction of a hunter carrying a captured caribou is a good example of his aesthetic. The strength and stamina of the hunter is impressive, as he carries a large bull caribou which, strangely, seems to be still alive. It is as though the caribou, even in death, is struggling heroically to defeat its captor.


Kye-Yeon Son

Korean/Canadian (born in South Korea)

(b. 1957)

Embracing 2011-2 2011

steel, enamel

42 x 42 x 23 cm

Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with funds from the Winnipeg Rh Foundation Inc. and with funds from the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance program/Oeuvre achetée avec l’aide du programme d’aide aux acquisitions du Conseil des Arts du Canada

At the heart of Kye-Yeon Son’s practice is the concept of containment. Rooted in traditional utilitarian principles, her works serve as receptacles of spirits and memories. The titles of her work often allude to emotions and sensations. Indeed, she aims to synthesize the character of the metal with these very feelings. Her sculptures convey a lightness and elegance worthy of close inspection and quiet reflection. This particular piece relies on the essential simplicity of wire to interpret the complexity of the human experience. Soldered together in a network of interdependent constituents, Embracing 2011-2 is a quiet, poetic form which conveys the flexibility and adaptability of nature, the lightness and ethereal quality of core energy, and the fragile yet enduring strength of the spirit.

Kye-Yeon Son was born in South Korea, receiving her BFA from the Seoul National University in 1979 and her MFA from Indiana University, USA, in 1984. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including Precise: Craft Refined at the WAG in 2011. She holds the position of Professor at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, in the Jewelry department.

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