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Glenbow Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Archives

"Tourist X" by John HallAs Western Canada's largest museum, the Glenbow Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Archives located in Calgary, Alberta, houses a very significant and extensive array of work in its art collection of more than 28,000 pieces. Viewing the works held there provides a rich artistic sense of the transitions and creative roots of not only the province, but also the country.

Housed within a larger museum, which also contains permanent and changing exhibits, a library and archives, the art collection interacts with a number of different audiences, among them students, journalists, and researchers.

"First Whiskey Spilled" by Richard Barrington NevittThe art collection is primarily organized by period and is made up of the contemporary, historic, modern, Aboriginal, Inuit, print and western art collections. These embody works from the 19th century to the present, with pieces originating from a number of places in North America's northwest quadrant.

A look at the Glenbow's contemporary collection reveals a variety of styles, such as photorealism and minimalism, an assortment of media, such as video, printmaking and sculpture—all created within the past 20 to 30 years.

"Café" by Maxwell BatesWorks by individuals who were in Canada during the 19th century as settlers, fur traders, and military personnel make up the historical collection. Though not professional artists, these people documented their living environment through visual depictions considered art.

New figurative styles that professional artists introduced to Alberta are held in the modern art collection. This body of work draws upon the pioneers of the province's art scene. That is, individuals like A.C. Leighton who acted as arts educators, and became involved in founding and running art schools such as the Alberta College of Art and Design, clubs such as the Alberta Society of Artists, and numerous galleries.

"Hońgeeżesa, Untitled"The Glenbow's First Nations and Inuit art collection encompasses the historic period to the present and contains the work of artists from northern and eastern Canada, the West Coast and the prairies. Among other pieces, it displays carvings, prints and paintings.

Etchings, block prints, lithographs and other print forms are held in the significantly large print collection composed of various 20th century pieces and some individually profiled collections. Individual collections, such as that of Margaret Shelton, contain a strong representation of the artist's work, as well as original blocks and plates created and used by the printmakers to produced finished works.

Featured Audio

Featured Audio

Kathy Ylitalo talks about the exhibit Multiple Associations showing at the Glenbow Museum and discusses Mary Scott's work in detail. Listen Now


"West Coast Indians and Totem Poles", colour linocut print on paper by Edwin HolgateAnother body of art held by the Glenbow is the Western collection. Standing as its own genre, it is comprised of artwork depicting Western Canadian land, nature and people. Roland Gissing's mountains, Nicholas de Grandmaison's portraits and many more legendary icons like cowboys, fur traders and Royal Canadian Mounted Police are found in this group of artwork.

To take in a sampling of visual creations in the Glenbow's "Warrior's Return" by Frederic Remingtonart collection can serve as a visual overview of Alberta's life and times. Having collaborated with various other organizations, and individuals such as Catharine Whyte, the Glenbow's acquisitions strive to be comprehensive and relevant to audiences. Collected pieces are chosen for their aesthetic qualities, as well as for their historical significance. They share stories and ideas that may otherwise have been lost to newer generations.

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