The Thomson Collection

Ken Thomson’s gift of his art collection – the most significant private art collection in Canada –  added 2,000 outstanding works to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The collection features signature works by Canadian artists from the 19th to mid-20th century, with some 300 works from the Group of Seven and Tom Thomson. The collection also includes a remarkable 145 paintings by the 19th century artist Cornelius Krieghoff and 100 works by the early 20th century luminary David Milne - as well as key paintings by Paul Kane, Paul-Emile Borduas and William Kurelek.

The Thomson Collection of European Art comprises more than 900 objects, including the legendary 12th-century Malmesbury châsse, an extraordinary selection of Medieval and Baroque ivories and a distinguished group of portrait miniatures dating from 1550 to 1850. The gift also includes a compelling collection of 130 mainly British ship models from the 17th century through the Napoleonic era to the 20th century.

The highlight of the Thomson Collection of European Art is the 17th-century masterpiece by Peter Paul Rubens The Massacre of the Innocents.

This donation represents the largest gift ever made to a Canadian cultural institution.

Bristol Ship Model VR

Exploring the Bristol

Learn about the British fourth-rate two-decker 50-gun warship: Bristol, 1774 and access the virtual reality experience, Bristol 1775: from Warship to Prison Hulk, on STEAM.

Learn More


Marvin Gelber Print & Drawing Study Centre

This state-of-the-art facility is open to the public 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 Licensing

Find the image you need from the Art Gallery of Ontario, one of the most distinguished art museums in North America. AGO Images licenses to scholarly and commercial clients worldwide. Be inspired by Tom Thomson, James Tissot, Kennth Noland, Walter Trier and many more amazing artists.

Requests for Loans

The Art Gallery of Ontario is committed to broadening access to its collections and supporting educational initiatives that promote a new understanding of art, through a program of outgoing loans. 

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.


The unveiling of the Thomson Collection is marked by a set of five books co-published by Skylet Publishing and the Art Gallery of Ontario. These publications explore the particular character of Ken Thomson`s taste and his remarkable collection as well as highlighting individual pieces and setting them in their historical contexts.


Thomson Collection book covers


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