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About the Collections

Aligned with the exhibition and education programs, the Art Museum maintains and develops four major Collections: the Hart House Art Collection; University College Collection; University of Toronto Collection; and the Malcove Collection. Comprising over 7,000 objects, they serve teaching purposes across multiple academic faculties, the research interests of scholars in art and art history, as well as an intensive loan program at local, national and international levels.

The Hart House Collection

The Hart House Permanent Collection is a major collection of Canadian art developed by the Hart House Art Committee and administered by the Art Museum. Inaugurated in 1922 the Art Committee built the core of the original collection with representative artworks by members of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries. More recently, the Art Committee expanded its collecting strategy to include a greater diversity of media as well as works by artists of increasingly diverse cultural backgrounds. With its exclusive focus on supporting living Canadian artists through the purchase of their work, today the collection numbers over 700 works of art, including 59 artworks deemed “National Treasures.” Works from the Hart House Permanent Collection are on view throughout Hart House and are in constant demand for exhibitions at major museums around the world.

The Malcove Collection

Over the course of 50 years, Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) developed a collection of over 500 objects, comprised of paintings, drawings, furniture, icons, manuscripts, and textiles, as well as sculptural objects in a diversity of materials that reflect her varied interests and prodigious knowledge. Spanning a vast range of art history, from prehistory to the 20th century, the strengths of the Collection are Early Christian, Byzantine and Post Byzantine objects. Dr. Malcove bequeathed her magnificent collection along with a major endowment, which supports the permanent display of the Collection, to the University of Toronto in 1981 to serve as a useful and inspiring resource for students, faculty and the general public. In 2002, a generous donation by Dr. John Foreman of London, Ontario, added 55 Greek and Russian icons dating from the 16th to 20th centuries to the Malcove Collection. This gift makes the Malcove Collection one of the most important and invaluable resources for students and experts conducting research on Byzantine icons and iconography in Canada..
Malcove Collection: Deesis and Four Saints, 17th century, tempera, gold leaf, 40 x 31.4 x 2.9 cm. Gift of Dr. John Foreman.

The University College Collection

Currently comprising nearly 700 works, the University College (UC) Collection is the oldest at the University of Toronto; with many works having been donated over the years by members of the College's large and active alumni association. The Collection focuses on Canadian art, including important pieces by Lawren S. Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and A.J. Casson, members of the Group of Seven. Highlights of the Collection include a small 1917 oil sketch by Tom Thomson – donated in 1997– and several works by the late Barker Fairley, a renowned professor of German literature at University College. The Collection also contains a number of portraits, especially of individuals who have been important in the life of the College.
David Milne, Barn among the Hills and Brick House and Stormy Sky II [double sided canvas], nd [1932]. Oil, 66.6 x 82 cm, oil. Purchase 1943.

The University of Toronto Art Collection

The University of Toronto Collection comprises nearly 5000 works of art, of which approximately 1,100 pieces are installed across the St. George campus at any given time through the Art on Campus program. Some works have traditionally resided in their faculties or departments, such as portraits of former deans, while others have been installed to enhance the working and teaching environment of the campus. The collection is eclectic and wide-ranging, from works of art from East Asia, installed in the Cheng Yu Tung East Asian Library, to examples of contemporary Inuit art placed throughout the Rotman School of Management. The collection continues to be built by donations of art, with particular, though not exclusive emphasis on Canadian and international art of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
J.M.W. Turner, Pembroke Castle: Clearing up of a Thunderstorm, 1806.Watecolour gum arabic, body colour, scratching out, 67.3 x 101.1 x 0 cm. Gift of Mrs Augustine FitzGerald in 1932 in memory of her husband Augustine Fitzgerald and especially her husband’s father, Mr. William FitzGerald.