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Art Gallery of Ontario

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General Information Fact Sheet

Founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens as the Art Museum of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a physical facility of 583,000 square feet. The AGO expanded it facility in 2008 with an innovative architectural design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry.


The AGO holds more than 80,000 works in its collection, which spans from 100 A.D. to the present.

The Canadian collection vividly documents the development of the nation's art heritage since pre-Confederation, including one of the largest and finest Inuit art collections in the world. The collection includes pivotal works by Cornelius Krieghoff, Lucius O'Brien, James Wilson Morrice, Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven, David Milne, Emily Carr, Paul-Emile Borduas, Joyce Wieland, and Kenojuak Ashevak.

Masterpieces of European art include works by renowned artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte.

The Thomson Collection at the AGO includes a broad range of works, from European to Canadian art, ship models and decorative arts. Its European collection includes 900 works from the 12th to the 19th century, featuring Peter Paul Rubens' 17th-century masterpiece, The Massacre of the Innocents. The Canadian collection includes signature works by Cornelius Krieghoff, Paul Kane, Lawren Harris, and Paul-Emile Borduas. The Thomson collection of ship models features pieces from the Napoleonic era to the 19th century, and a decorative arts collection includes more than 500 objects of international significance, including the 12th-century Malmesbury Chasse.

The AGO maintains a comprehensive collection of Contemporary art spanning from 1960 to the present, reflecting global developments in artistic practice across all media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, projection art, and installation art. The collection is defined by strong holdings of leading Canadian artists such as David Altmejd, Brian Jungen, Jeff Wall, Shirley Wiitasalo, and inflected by major works by international artists such as Mona Hatoum, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo, Tino Sehgal, Cindy Sherman, Richard Serra, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol.

Artists represented in career-spanning depth include Iain Baxter& / N.E. Thing Co, David Blackwood, Jack Bush, Paterson Ewen, Betty Goodwin, General Idea, Robert Motherwell, Kazuo Nakamura, Greg Curnoe, and Michael Snow.

The AGO houses the world's largest public collection of works by internationally renowned British sculptor Henry Moore.

A collection of more than 40,000 photographs represents the emergence of the medium in all its artistic, cultural and social diversity. Works by 19th-century British, French, American and Canadian photographers, and 20th-century modernists, including a significant group of 1850s prints by British photographer Linnaeus Tripe, one of the foremost collections of works by Czech photographer Josef Sudek, and more than 18,000 press photographs from the Klinsky Press Agency taken in the 1930s and 40s.


As one of Canada’s most distinguished art museums, the AGO organizes and hosts a wide spectrum of major exhibitions. Over the past few years, the AGO has presented:

  • Picasso: Masterpieces from Musee National Picasso, Paris, 2012
  • Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2011
  • Abstract Expressionist New York: Masterpieces frm the Museum of Modern Art, 2011
  • Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, 2010
  • Julian Schnabel: Art and Film, 2010
  • King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs, 2009
  • Emily Carr: New Perspectives on a Canadian Icon, 2007
  • Andy Warhol/Supernova: Stars, Deaths and Disasters 1962–1964, 2006
  • Catherine the Great: Arts for the Empire - Masterpieces from the Hermitage Museum, Russia, 2005
  • Turner, Whistler, Monet: Impressionist Visions, 2004
  • Voyage into Myth: French Painting from Gauguin to Matisse, from the Hermitage Museum, 2002
  • Treasures from the Hermitage Museum, Russia: Rubens and His Age, 2001
  • The Courtauld Collection, 1998
  • The OH!Canada Project, 1996
  • From Cézanne to Matisse: Great French Paintings from The Barnes Foundation, 1994

Annual operating revenues

  • $61.38 M in 2011/12
  • 37% government funding (federal, provincial, municipal)
  • 27% self-generated (admissions, retail, food & beverage)
  • 21% private sector support (memberships, donations, sponsorships)
  • 15% amortization of deferred capital contribution


  • Total attendance in 2011/12: 601,693
  • 52% of visitors are from the GTA
  • 9% of visitors are from other provinces in Canada
  • 9% of visitors are from Ontario, outside the GTA
  • 12% of visitors are from the U.S.
  • 12% of visitors are international

Capital Expansions

1911  –  Acquired The Grange building and property through a private bequest
1918  –  Opened first paintings galleries, with a connecting link to The Grange (Darling and Pearson Architects)
1926  –  Opened Walker Court, three flanking galleries and an entrance on Dundas Street (Darling and Pearson Architects)
1935  –  Two additional galleries built (Darling, Pearson & Cleveland Architects)
1974  –  Expansion by John C. Parkin, Parkin Partnership, Architects and Planners (Stage I: Zacks Pavilion, Henry Moore Sculpture Centre)
1977  –  Expansion by John C. Parkin, Parkin Partnership, Architects and Planners (Stage II: Canadian Wing)
1993  –  Expansion by Barton Myers/KPMB Architects (Stage III: Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Sculpture Atrium; Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Study Centre)
2002  –  AGO announces Transformation AGO project – Gehry International Architects
2005  –  Construction commences on the Transformation AGO expansion project, designed by Gehry International Architects, Inc.
2008  –  The transformed AGO opens to the public on November 14.
2010  –  Construction commences on the new Weston Family Learning Centre, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects. A public celebration in September 2011 will officially mark the launch of the new facility.
2011  –  A public celebration in October 2011 officially marked the launch of the new Weston Family Learning Centre.

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