ABOUT THE COLLECTION

AGO’s collection of close to 95,000 works ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art such as Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt) by Pierre Huyghe to European masterpieces such as Peter Paul Rubens’s The Massacre of The Innocents; from the vast collection by the Group of Seven to works by established and emerging Indigenous Canadian artists; with a photography collection that tracks the impact of the medium with deep holdings of works by artists such as Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus; and with focused collections in Gothic boxwood miniatures and Western and Central African art.


COLLECTION AREAS

Canadian Art

We have an outstanding collection of historical Canadian art, with an emphasis on the art of Toronto and Ontario.

Indigenous

Indigenous art at the AGO currently includes works from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis as well as global Indigenous Art from Africa, Australia, and the Torres Strait Islands.

European

The Old Master Collection is comprised of three pillars: Dutch painting from the 1600s, Italian painting and sculpture from the 1600s, and French Salon and Impressionist painting from the 1800s.

Modern

The Modern Art Collection offers visitors a comprehensive experience of American and European art from 1900 to 1960.

Contemporary

The Contemporary collection includes painting, sculpture, immersive installation, works on paper, photography, performance, video and sound art from international artists since 1960 and Canadian artists since 1990.

African

The Art Gallery of Ontario’s African art collection contains work created by many different cultures and people from south of the Sahara Desert in Africa during the 1800s and 1900s.

Photography

The collection spans the history of the medium from the 1840s to the present day, and includes more than 70,000 works.

Prints & Drawings

Our Prints and Drawings Collection spans the entire history of works on paper in the West from the 1400s to the present day, and intersects with all other collecting areas.

Library & Archives

The library’s 380,000+ volumes include Rare Books and Artists’ Books ranging from folios and art historical books from the 17th century to the present, illustrated books and magazines, travel guides, art sales catalogues, and artists’ books and multiples.


COLLECTIONS IN FOCUS

The Boxwood Project

Explore stunning gothic boxwood miniature carvings that have captured the imaginations of their owners and viewers for almost 500 years.

Malcolmson Collection

The Malcolmson Collection spans the history of photography from the 1840s, and includes representative photographs from each of the significant periods and styles of the history of the medium.


COLLECTION RESOURCES

E.P. Taylor Library & Archives

The E.P. Taylor Library & Archives is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday. Access to the Archives and Special Collections is by appointment. Book collections are searchable through our online catalogue. Special collections holdings may be browsed online using our alphabetical list.

Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre

This state-of-the-art facility is open to the pubic and dedicated to the study of prints, drawings and photographs. It houses a collection of over 70,000 works which date from the 13th century to the present day. Find out more about the AGO's prints and drawings collection.

Image Resources

AGO Images licenses to scholarly and commercial clients worldwide. The AGO’s Digital Studio is staffed by the industry’s leading art photographers and imaging staff. Our high-tech equipment and expertise enable us to produce the best art and museum photography available.

Conservation at the AGO

Conservation is the care and protection of cultural objects. As the caretakers of collections, conservators examine, research, clean and repair artworks, while also taking action to prevent future deterioration. Here at the AGO, the Conservation Team includes conservators, mat makers, framers and mount makers. These specialists work together to ensure each work will look its best not only for today, but also for generations to come.

Provenance Research Project

The AGO is committed to investigating the provenance of works in its permanent collection, particularly as it pertains the ownership history of European painting and sculpture during the 1933–45 period. The purpose of this is to increase awareness and understanding of the spoliation of works of art by the Nazis and others.

The AGO's Deaccessioning Policy

The Art Gallery of Ontario cares for its collections according to the highest standards. Its resources should only be devoted to works of art that serve its mission and are worthy of such care. This occasionally demands that works be judiciously and carefully deaccessioned from the collections. The proceeds from this are reinvested in new works of art.

Artefacts Canada

Thanks to the important contribution of this country's heritage institutions, the Artefacts Canada database contains close to 4 million object records and approximately 800,000 images from Canadian museums.

 

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