Agnes Etherington Art Centre

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The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a research-intensive public art museum in Kingston, Ontario, Canada located in the heart of the historic campus of Queen's University. It has a distinguished collection and mounts 12 new exhibitions annually, as well as artists' talks and performances, public lectures, symposia, workshops and school and family programs. The gallery has received a number of awards for its exhibitions from the Canada Council for the Arts,[1] the Ontario Association of Art Galleries[2] and others.


The Art Centre has its roots in the Kingston Art and Music Club, founded in 1926, and owes its existence to Agnes McCausland Richardson Etherington (1880–1954), a driving force behind the club.[3] Agnes Etherington's grandfather had founded the grain dealer James Richardson & Sons in 1857 and the family had become very wealthy. Agnes's brother George Richardson, who died fighting in World War I in 1916, left a legacy for her to use as she felt fit to stimulate development of the arts at Queen's University. She used this to found the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, which still provides an important source of arts funding to the university.[4]

In her will, Agnes Etherington bequeathed her house, an elegant Neo-Georgian mansion, to Queen's University for use as a university and community art gallery. The Art Centre opened to the public in 1957. The building was extended in 1962, 1975, 1978 and 2000, and now has an area of 1,720 square metres.[5]


In addition to the historical Etherington House and eight beautiful galleries, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre features a studio, Atrium, and a publications lounge.

Events and public programs[edit]

Family and school programs use Art Centre exhibitions as a jumping-off point for discussion and hands-on activities in the André Biéler Studio.

The Art Centre offers the Summer SmARTs program, a summer day camp for elementary and high school aged children; adult classes taught by local artists; and free docent-led tours of current exhibitions on the third Thursday of every month.[6]


Attributed to or circle of Rembrandt van Rijn: Head of an Old Man in a Cap. Donated by Alfred and Isabel Bader

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre has a collection of 16,000 works ranging from the 14th century to the present, placing it among the largest galleries in Ontario. The collection, which can be viewed online at, includes paintings, sculptures and graphics by major Canadian artists, European old master paintings, costumes, quilts, silver and decorative art. The Agnes also houses one of the largest public collections of African art in Canada.[7] At the heart of the European historical collection are a group of nearly 200 paintings donated by philanthropists Alfred Bader and Isabel Bader, including works by Rembrandt van Rijn and El Greco.

Major artists represented in the collection include Shuvinai Ashoona, Rebecca Belmore, André Charles Biéler, Shary Boyle, AA Bronson, Ian Carr-Harris, Emily Carr, Bernard Clark, Sarindar Dhaliwal, Willem Drost, André Fauteux, Vera Frenkel, General Idea, Robert Houle, Luis Jacob, Fernand Leduc, Ozias Leduc, Jan Lievens, David Milne, Kim Ondaatje, Judy Radul, Rembrandt van Rijn, David Rokeby, William Sawyer, Derek Sullivan, Doménikos Theotokópoulos, William Ronald, Horatio Walker, and Norman White.

Selected publications[edit]

The Art Centre has issued many publications over the years.[8] A selection follows:

Title Author(s)
Bernard Clark: Tattoo Portraits Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-261-3
Vera Frenkel's String Games Jan Allen & Earl Miller ISBN 978-1-55339-259-0
Annie Pootoogook: Kinngait Compositions Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-260-6
Lost and Found: Wright of Derby’s View of Gibraltar John Bonehill, Janet M. Brooke, Barbara Klempan, David de Witt ISBN 978-1-55339-258-3
Don Maynard: Franken Forest Jan Allen & Linda Jansma ISBN 978-1-55339-256-9
William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague Alicia Boutilier & Paul Maréchal ISBN 9781553392514
Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control Jan Allen, Kirsty Robertson & Sarah E.K. Smith ISBN 978-1-55339-253-8
Karin Davie: Underworlds Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-095-4
The Bader Collection: Dutch and Flemish Paintings David de Witt ISBN 978-1-55339-094-7
Beyond the Silhouette: Fashion and the Women of Historic Kingston M. Elaine MacKay ISBN 978-1-55339-093-0
Etherington House: Building a Legacy Patricia Sullivan ISBN 978-1-55339-091-6
Lyla Rye: Hopscotch Kenneth Hayes ISBN 978-1-55339-092-3
Telling Stories, Secret Lives Jan Allen, Steven Matijcio et al. ISBN 978-1-55339-088-6
Neutrinos They Are Very Small Jan Allen, Corinna Ghaznavi & Allison Morehead ISBN 978-1-55339-089-3
"An Artist After All": Daniel Fowler in Canada Dorothy M. Farr ISBN 1-55339-090-3
Sarindar Dhaliwal: Record Keeping Sunil Gupta, Richard Fung, Janice Cheddie et al. ISBN 1-899127-05-4
Erik Edson: Fable Jan Allen & Catherine Osborne ISBN 1-55339-086-5
Ah, Wilderness! Resort Architecture in the Thousand Islands Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey & Dorothy Farr ISBN 0-88911-543-5
Machine Life Jan Allen, Ihor Holubizky & Caroline Seck Langill ISBN 0-88911-918-X
Gary Kibbins: Grammar Horses Jan Allen & Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-916-3
Connected: Contemporary Art in Kingston Jan Allen (ed) ISBN 0-88911-912-0
Museopathy Jan Allen, Jim Drobnick & Jennifer Fisher ISBN 0-88911-908-2
Better Worlds: Activist and Utopian Projects by Artists Jan Allen & Laura Marks ISBN 0-88911-912-0
Who Means What: Brent Roe, Paintings 1992-2001 John Armstrong ISBN 0-88911-906-6
Laurel Woodcock: Take Me, I'm Yours Jan Allen & Paul Kelley ISBN 0-88911-827-2
Gretchen Sankey: Some of the Parts Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-754-3
Jayce Salloum Jim Drobnick & Jennifer Fisher ISBN 0-88911-752-7
Crime and Punishment Jennifer Rudder ISBN 0-88911-750-0
Flaming Creatures: New Tendencies in Canadian Video. Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-748-9
Tapes that Think: Video Works by Steve Reinke, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Rodney Werden Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-702-0
Edifice Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-748-9
Germaine Koh: Persona Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-744-6
Of Mudlarkers and Measurers S. Dhaliwal ISBN 0-88911-742-X
Rise and Fall: John Dickson, Laurie Walker. Jan Allen et al. ISBN 0-88911-706-3
Sophie Bellissent: In the Flesh Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-740-3
RX: Taking Our Medicine Jan Allen & Kim Sawchuck ISBN 0-88911-698-9
Pictorial Incidents The Photography of William Gordon Shields Michael Bell ISBN 0-88911-504-4
A. A. Chesterfield Ungava Portraits 1902-04 William C. James ISBN 0-88911-373-4
Heritage Quilt Collection Ruth McKendry & Dorothy Farr ISBN 0-88911-539-7


  1. ^ "The Agnes Etherington Art Centre receives the 2005 York Wilson Endowment Award". Canada Council for the Arts. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  2. ^ "Awards: 2007 Winners". Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  3. ^ "The people behind campus landmarks" Queens Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  4. ^ Smith, Frances K. et al. (2006), André Biéler : an artist's life and times, Toronto: Firefly Books, ISBN 1-55407-232-8 
  5. ^ "About the Art Centre". Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  6. ^ "Programs and Events" Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  7. ^ "Agnes Etherington Art Centre". Queen's University. Retrieved 4 March 2009. 
  8. ^ "Publications". Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°13′31″N 76°29′47″W / 44.22528°N 76.49639°W / 44.22528; -76.49639