Prints and Drawings
About the AGO's Prints and Drawings Collection
The AGO’s Prints and Drawings Collection spans the entire history of works on paper in the West from the 1400s to the present day, and intersects with all the other collecting areas. The Prints and Drawings department encompasses all works on paper and administers the Marvin Gelber Print and Drawing Study Centre, which houses over 20,000 prints and drawings and the related collection of 53,000 photographs. Built largely over the past 35 years, the prints and drawings collection is of international importance and rivals that of the National Gallery of Canada.
Grounded in a strong collection of European prints, drawings, watercolours and pastels, the main strengths of the AGO’s holdings are from artists in the Italian (1500s–1700s), French (1600s) and British (1700s-1900s) schools, as well artists associated with the Dutch and German schools. Featuring works on paper by David Blackwood, Greg Curnoe, Betty Goodwin, David Milne, Michael Snow, Walter Trier and F.H. Varley among others, the AGO’s collection of Canadian prints and drawings since the 1800s rivals the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.
Some of the finest artists throughout history are represented in the AGO’s Prints and Drawings collection, including François Boucher, John Constable, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Thomas Gainsborough, Paul Gauguin, Vasily Kandinsky, Henri Matisse, Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso Rembrandt, Egon Schiele and Vincent van Gogh. One of the most notable recent acquisitions is an outstanding drawing by Théodore Géricault.
The Thomson Collection at the AGO has added important groups of drawings by Peter Paul Rubens and Willem van de Velde. In addition to individual works, the prints and drawings collection also contains several series of international importance including French ballet designs of the early 1600s for the court of Versailles by Daniel Rabel and his circle, politically charged works from Cologne Dada artists, and a broad selection of works on paper by Stanley Spencer and Henry Moore. Other important international collections of prints and drawings include French and English caricatures, Victorian reproductive engravings, posters, and prints by Ernst Barlach, James Gillray, Rembrandt, Thomas Rowlandson, James Tissot, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and James McNeill Whistler.