Today, the Gallery holds in trust the world’s largest public collection of modern and contemporary Inuit art. Other areas of note include historical and contemporary Canadian art, historical British and European art, decorative art, and photography. Explore the constantly evolving collection, reflecting the combined efforts of generations of curators, researchers, collectors, donors, and artists.
Spanning the 19th and 20th centuries, the WAG’s collection of historical and modern Canadian art is one of the finest in the country.Learn More >>>
Nearly half of the WAG collection is composed of artwork by Indigenous artists, including the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art in the world.Learn More >>>
The WAG’s collection of art produced since the 1980s includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and installation with a focus on work by artists with a connection to Winnipeg and Manitoba.Learn More >>>
The WAG is home to a large collection of ceramic, glass, metal, and textile objects from the 17th to the 21st centuries, including particularly strong representation of 18th and 19th century English ceramics.Learn More >>>
American & European Art
The WAG holds notable collections of art from the Flemish and German Renaissance, as well as British, 19th and 20th century French, German Expressionist, and 20th century American art.Learn More >>>
Photography & Video
The Gallery’s photographic and video collections include work by major international figures, as well as world-renowned Manitoba photographers.Learn More >>>
Prints & Drawings
Works on paper make up almost half of the WAG collection, including excellent examples of Italian and Dutch Baroque ink drawings, contemporary Inuit stonecuts, and contemporary pieces.Learn More >>>
The WAG is committed to extending engagement with the collection and supporting learning initiatives that advance our mission. We welcome proposals for loan requests for consideration by our team.
Please note that due to construction of the WAG Inuit Art Centre, we have instituted a loan moratorium.
Due to construction of the Inuit Art Centre, the WAG has instituted an acquisitions slowdown, both for artwork donations and purchases. This slowdown is likely to carry through 2020. However, we would still love to hear from you. If you are interested in donating or selling an artwork to the WAG, please contact the Exhibitions & Museum Services Assistant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note the Gallery does not provide appraisals for works of art. If you are interested in the value of your artwork, please contact the Art Dealers Association of Canada, who will put you in touch with a qualified appraiser.
Provenance refers to the ownership history of an artwork from the time it was created to the present day. It is an important way to understand the cultural, social, and economic contexts of an artwork. The provenance of some artworks may have legal and ethical implications such as requiring the return, or repatriation, of looted or illegally exported works to their rightful owners.
If an artwork is found to be acquired in an unethical manner by the WAG or by the individual or institution who collected the works prior to it entering the Gallery’s collection, the WAG would move forward with the necessary steps towards repatriation. Public access to provenance information on all artworks in the WAG collection is available upon request. Research on the provenance of artwork in the WAG collection is an ongoing exercise that is part of the WAG mission and operations. For instance, in 2014, the WAG was one of six galleries who participated in a pilot research project coordinated by the Canadian Art Museum Directors Organization (CAMDO) to research the provenance of Holocaust-era artworks.
The WAG’s permanent collection, like most museum collections, contains artworks that have incomplete provenances. For art objects that are several centuries old, it is quite common for their provenance history to be incomplete. This is especially true of works whose histories intersect with periods of political and social upheaval, or in situations of cultural inequity, when all forms of moveable assets tend to change hands frequently – legally or otherwise. Since records of ownership are often lost or don’t exist in writing, it is often difficult to fully document the provenance. While researching and securing the provenance for these objects is complex, it is a scholarly activity that the WAG is always doing as part of its broader mission.
Provenance research is undertaken in a variety of ways, starting with clues that may still exist on the artworks themselves such as on the backs of paintings, on their frames, or on labels or inscriptions that point to earlier owners or transactions, or at least to their locations. It is a form of forensic investigation, requiring specialized expertise. A wide variety of relevant documentation must be identified, located and consulted such as old auction sale catalogues, dealer records, exhibition records, archival photographs, personal papers, family histories and stories, and other forms of published sources. Each artwork presents its own particular case and challenges. Whereas intensive provenance research on a particular artwork may result in the complete reconstruction of its provenance, there are no guarantees of success.
The WAG is committed to investigating the provenance of works in its permanent collection and is open to reviewing new evidence as emerges through the varied channels of research and reconciliation.