"The Agnes" is one of Canada's most respected art museums, with a permanent collection of more than 14,000 pieces.
The collection ranges from the 14th century to the present, with an emphasis on Canadian art. It includes paintings, sculptures, and graphics by major Canadian artists, European old master paintings – including two works by Rembrandt -, costumes, quilts, silver and other decorative objects, Inuit art, and one of the largest public collections of African art in Canada. Exhibitions from the permanent collection are complemented by travelling exhibitions and a variety of public programs.
The centre opened in 1957 in the home of Frederick and Agnes Richardson Etherington (1880-1954). In 1926, Mrs. Etherington was part of the formation of the Kingston Art and Music Club. She continued to work for the arts throughout her life and, in her final years, drew up plans to bequeath her house to Queen's "for the furtherance of art and music and for the exhibition of pictures and music." Prominent Canadian artist André Biéler was the founding Director.
The red-brick house, built in Victorian style for the Richardson family in 1879, was remodelled as a Georgian-style building in the 1920s and still contains many of the Etheringtons' elegant furnishings.
In 1962, a large modern addition was built, giving the centre a total of seven exhibition galleries and a studio. Further extensions were made in 1975 and 1978, and in 1998 the Art Centre was temporarily re-located to Mcgillivray-Brown Hall to make room for the $7.2 million renovations of the permanent building.
In 2000, the Agnes moved back into its original home, complete with a refurbished gallery that features up-to-date collections, enlarged storage, studio and volunteer space, improved climate control, better visibility, and improved public amenities such as the André Biéler Studio, the Atrium, a new reception area, a Rental and Sales Gallery, and a Gallery Shop.
Learn more about the Agnes Etherington Art Centre...