In an effort to reach new audiences, and reinforce the close relationship between local Toronto cultural organizations, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) have reached an agreement on a collections object loan that will offer their visitors a unique experience.
“We wanted to give our visitors something new to see when they visit and we thought, what better way than to trade something with the AGO, straight up” says Mark Engstrom, Deputy Director and Head of Collection and Research at the ROM.
The AGO will be getting the ROM’s Futalognkosaurus specimen, which the AGO hopes will give its visitors an example of an artwork created by nature, rather than simply based on it. Much of the AGO’s beloved collection is art that is representational of nature in the form of still-lifes, portraits and of course landscapes made famous by the Group of Seven. The addition of a dinosaur to the collection is a return, of sorts, to the source of artistic inspiration. The AGO plans to display Futalognkosaurs in Walker Court as soon as she is dismantled and sent over piece by piece via TTC.
In what is felt to be an equal trade, the ROM will be receiving the AGO’s West Wind – an iconic gem in the collection, made by Canadian art star Tom Thomson. Painted in Algonquin Park, and found in Thomson’s studio when he died in July 1917, the work was exhibited at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto later that summer. Our Curatorial team has decided to hang this very important work on one of the trees in the Mixedwood Forest in the Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity on level 2 next to the bat cave. The display is complete with fibreglass casts of real trees from Algonquin park!
Tom Thomson. The West Wind, Winter 1916-1917. Oil on canvas. 120.7 x 137.9cm. Gift of the Canadian Club of Toronto, 1926. Image © 2017 Art Gallery of Ontario
The trade is slated to take place as soon as possible, and comes with some conditions. If the ROM’s attendance increases as a result of the trade, the AGO will receive another dinosaur to be named later. Vice versa, the ROM will receive a Group of Seven painting to be named later, possibly a Harris or one of those other guys.