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About the Malcolmson Collection

Harry and Ann Malcolmson began collecting photography in earnest in 1989. Guided by personal sensibility, they built a collection of exceptional works by those innovators who helped define what is possible in photography in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The collection includes 279 photographs, ranging from 1843 to 2011, by 110 artists.

Harry and Ann Malcolmson are passionate and innovative collectors who believe strongly in the power of art to transform lives. Thanks to their extraordinary generosity, this one-of-a-kind collection remains in Canada and has transformed the AGO’s photography holdings.”

— Matthew Teitelbaum, Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO

Regarded as one of the most important collections of historical photography in Canada, the core of the Malcolmson Collection is comprised of bold experimental photographs by such artists as Eugène Atget, Jaromír Funke, Tina Modotti, László Moholy-Nagy and Ian Wallace, among others.

There are seven artists to whom the Malcolmsons made a particular commitment by acquiring more than five works each: Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank, André Kertész, Man Ray, Aleksandr Rodchenko and John Vanderpant. Their works feature a range of approaches and reveal the variety of Modernist visions, often in the context of broader art movements such as Surrealism, Constructivism and post–World War II Expressionism. The photographs explore notions of how to see a city, how to reveal subconscious impulses and how to construct a new world.

The Malcolmsons have also brought together works by contemporary photographers—many Canadian—whom they felt were particularly connected to the medium’s history: Max Dean’s homage to Robert Frank; Ian Wallace’s retracing of Charles Marville’s steps in Paris; and Kristan Horton’s reimagining Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr. Strangelove. The collection also embraces a strong group of press photographs—yet another expression of Modernism.

To learn more about the collection, watch each video below.

About the Malcolmson Collection

Harry and Ann Malcolmson discuss the highlights of their collection.

Becoming Collectors

Harry and Ann Malcolmson talk about the process of collecting.

Finding a New Home

Harry and Ann Malcolmson explain why they chose the AGO as the new home for their collection.

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