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Egos and Icons: Portraits from the Permanent Collections of the University of Toronto Art Centre

Limestone sculpture of person holding cross and fruit

Works by:

Edward Burne Jones, Mary Pratt, Lynn Donoghue, Cathy Daley, Tony Scherman

Egos and Icons

Portraits from the Permanent Collections of the University of Toronto Art Centre

January 27–May 29, 2004

University of Toronto Art Centre

While visitors to the Art Centre may be already familiar with the landscape holdings of the University College Art Collection, the icons in the Malcove Collection, and the modern and abstract works that so characterize the art collection of the University of Toronto, this exhibition is intended to reveal the rich holdings all three collections have in the realm of portraiture.

Much of the University’s richness in the portrait genre is spread over the campus in the form of the installed portraits-of-record of various university officials and administrators, many of which date from the early- and mid-nineteenth century. This exhibition will comprise works that are normally not on view, and will explore the relationships among depictions of a wide variety of personages, spanning a time period of several centuries. It is this notion of inter-relationships that inspired the initial curatorial concept for the show, that of the imagined gallery conversations among the various sitters depicted.

The University’s Art Curator has worked with a group of five interns who are all students in the department of fine art to research and plan the exhibition. Extended label texts created by these students will accompany each of the thirty works, and an illustrated brochure with discussions of the nature and definition of portraiture itself will be produced to accompany the installation.

Works included range from carved stone pieces from the first to second centuries, through to an eighteenth-century conversation piece that depicts John Graves Simcoe, and to one of the University’s masterpieces, a portrait by the nineteenth-century Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne Jones. Several works date from the twentieth century, and are by artists who are known nationally, for example, Mary Pratt, the late Lynn Donoghue, Cathy Daley, and Tony Scherman.

Opening Reception

Monday January 26, 2004, 12pm
University of Toronto Art Centre

Title Image: Tony Scherman, Kurt Cobain (Blue Highway), 2001-2002. Encaustic on canvas. 244 x 213 cm.