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The Agnes Etherington Art Centre is a research-intensive public art museum in Kingston, Ontario, Canada located in the heart of the historic campus of Queen's University. It presents artistic traditions of the past and innovations of the present through year-round programs of exhibitions and outreach activities staged across eight galleries, the Biéler Studio, and assorted public spaces including the period rooms of the historic Etherington House.The gallery has received a number of awards for its exhibitions from the Canada Council for the Arts,[1] the Ontario Association of Art Galleries[2] and others.

Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Agnes Etherington Art Centre Winter.jpg
Agnes Etherington Art Centre is located in Southern Ontario
Agnes Etherington Art Centre
Location within Southern Ontario
Established1957 (1957)
Location36 University Avenue, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Coordinates44°13′31.4″N 76°29′46.5″W / 44.225389°N 76.496250°W / 44.225389; -76.496250
TypeArt museum
DirectorJan Allen



The Agnes has its roots in the Kingston Art and Music Club, founded in 1926, and owes its existence to Agnes McCausland Richardson Etherington (1880–1954), a driving force behind the club.[3] Agnes Etherington's grandfather had founded the grain dealer James Richardson & Sons in 1857 and the family had become very wealthy. Agnes's brother George Richardson, who died fighting in World War I in 1916, left a legacy for her to use as she felt fit to stimulate development of the arts at Queen's University. She used this to found the George Taylor Richardson Memorial Fund, which still provides an important source of arts funding to the university.[4]

Agnes Etherington bequeathed her house, an elegant Neo-Georgian mansion, to Queen's University for use as a university and community art gallery. The Agnes Etherington Art Centre opened to the public in 1957. The building was extended in 1962, 1975, 1978 and 2000, and now has an area of 1,720 square metres.[5] As a space of display, innovation, and exchange, the Agnes is an experiential learning space for diverse disciplines at Queen's, and the public gallery for Kingston region.


In addition to the historical Etherington House and eight galleries, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre features a studio, atrium, a publications lounge and the David McTavish Art Study Room.

Events and public programsEdit

The Agnes offer a spectrum of events and programs throughout the year that deepen understanding of visual art of the past and the present and cultivate creative skills and exchange. Courses, workshops, drop-in studio sessions and school programs draw on exhibitions for discussion and as inspiration for hands-on activities in the André Biéler Studio. Through the fall and winter, lectures, discussions, tours, custom seminars and screenings involve the Queen's University's research and learning context, while engaging the wider public from near and far. Each summer, the gallery offers the Summer SmARTs program which is an art-intensive summer day camp for children and an art course of teens.


The Agnes Etherington Art Centre holds over 16,000 works ranging from the 14th century to the present, placing it among the largest galleries in Ontario. The collection, which can be searched and viewed online, includes paintings, sculptures, and graphics by major Canadian artists, European old master paintings, African art, historical dress, quilts, silver and decorative art.[6]

Canadian Historical ArtEdit

The Canadian Historical collection primarily representing the history of Canadian fine art in the Euro-American tradition, it also reflects the evolving Canadian cultural matrix through Inuit and Indigenous art and artifacts, as well as historic dress and decorative arts. The collection is notable for fine early topographical watercolours and major 20th-century paintings, and encompasses material intimately connected to regional history in the Queen's University Collection of Canadian Dress, the Heritage Quilt Collection, and the Silver Collection. The Canadian historical collection includes works by: Andre Charles Bieler, Tom Thomson, Emily Carr, Lawren Harris, Arthur Lismer, Frederick Varley, Edwin Holgate, LeMoine FitzGerald, Fernand Leduc, Ozias Leduc, David Milne, William Ronald, Carl Beam, William Henry Bartlett, William Brymner, Kananginak Pootoogook, Pitseolak Ashoona

Contemporary ArtEdit

The Contemporary Art Collection features critically relevant visual art, with emphasis on the emerging generation of artists and works that reflect contemporary life and Canadian society. It is national in scope, representing vital artistic impulses, ideas and events of the current period and context, and capturing key movements through socially relevant and aesthetically provocative art. The Contemporary collection includes works by: Charles Stankievech, Rebecca Belmore, Judy Radul, Brendan Fernandes, Luis Jacob, Vera Frenkel, David Rokeby, Norman White, Robert Houle, Shary Boyle, AA Bronson, General Idea, Ian Carr-Harris, Sarindar Dhaliwal, Andre Fauteux, Kim Ondaatje, Derek Sullivan

Historical European ArtEdit

The European Art Collection holds many paintings, prints, and drawings of exceptional quality and depth. The heart of the European collection is The Bader Collection, with over 200 paintings donated by philanthropist Alfred Bader and Isabel Bader. The European collection includes works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Willem Drost, Jan Lievens, Govert Flinck, Aert de Gelder, Gerbrand van den Eeckhout, Godfrey Kneller, Philip de Koninck, Ferdinand Bol, El Greco, Dosso Dossi, Michael Sweerts, Luca Giordano, Georg Pencz, Sebastien Bourdon, Peter Lely, Joseph Wright of Derby, Raphael, Parmigianino, Guido Reni, Gustav Klimt, Pablo Picasso

African ArtEdit

Numbering over 500 objects, the Justin and Elisabeth Lang Collection of African Art ranks among Canada's most comprehensive and significant African Art collections. Comprising primarily works by West and Central African peoples, it emphasizes series that articulate the creative variety and dynamism found among objects of similar purpose.

Selected Works from the CollectionEdit

Selected publicationsEdit

The Art Centre has issued many publications over the years.[7] A selection follows:

Title Author(s)
Brendan Fernandes: Lost Bodies Jan Allen, Delinda Collier, Kevin D. Dumouchelle, Amanda Gilvin, Amanda Jane Graham, Erica P. Jones, & Nat Trotman ISBN 978-1-55339-493-8
I'm Not Myself at All: Deirdre Logue & Allyson Mitchell Sarah E. K. Smith & Heather Love ISBN 978-1-55339-408-2
The Artist Herself: Self-Portraits by Canadian Historical Women Artists Alicia Boutilier & Tobi Bruce ISBN 978-1-55339-407-5
Bernard Clark: Tattoo Portraits Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-261-3
Vera Frenkel's String Games Jan Allen & Earl Miller ISBN 978-1-55339-259-0
Annie Pootoogook: Kinngait Compositions Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-260-6
Lost and Found: Wright of Derby's View of Gibraltar John Bonehill, Janet M. Brooke, Barbara Klempan, David de Witt ISBN 978-1-55339-258-3
Don Maynard: Franken Forest Jan Allen & Linda Jansma ISBN 978-1-55339-256-9
William Brymner: Artist, Teacher, Colleague Alicia Boutilier & Paul Maréchal ISBN 9781553392514
Sorting Daemons: Art, Surveillance Regimes and Social Control Jan Allen, Kirsty Robertson & Sarah E.K. Smith ISBN 978-1-55339-253-8
Karin Davie: Underworlds Jan Allen ISBN 978-1-55339-095-4
The Bader Collection: Dutch and Flemish Paintings David de Witt ISBN 978-1-55339-094-7
Beyond the Silhouette: Fashion and the Women of Historic Kingston M. Elaine MacKay ISBN 978-1-55339-093-0
Etherington House: Building a Legacy Patricia Sullivan ISBN 978-1-55339-091-6
Lyla Rye: Hopscotch Kenneth Hayes ISBN 978-1-55339-092-3
Telling Stories, Secret Lives Jan Allen, Steven Matijcio et al. ISBN 978-1-55339-088-6
Neutrinos They Are Very Small Jan Allen, Corinna Ghaznavi & Allison Morehead ISBN 978-1-55339-089-3
"An Artist After All": Daniel Fowler in Canada Dorothy M. Farr ISBN 1-55339-090-3
Sarindar Dhaliwal: Record Keeping Sunil Gupta, Richard Fung, Janice Cheddie et al. ISBN 1-899127-05-4
Erik Edson: Fable Jan Allen & Catherine Osborne ISBN 1-55339-086-5
Ah, Wilderness! Resort Architecture in the Thousand Islands Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey & Dorothy Farr ISBN 0-88911-543-5
Machine Life Jan Allen, Ihor Holubizky & Caroline Seck Langill ISBN 0-88911-918-X
Gary Kibbins: Grammar Horses Jan Allen & Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-916-3
Connected: Contemporary Art in Kingston Jan Allen (ed) ISBN 0-88911-912-0
Museopathy Jan Allen, Jim Drobnick & Jennifer Fisher ISBN 0-88911-908-2
Better Worlds: Activist and Utopian Projects by Artists Jan Allen & Laura Marks ISBN 0-88911-912-0
Who Means What: Brent Roe, Paintings 1992-2001 John Armstrong ISBN 0-88911-906-6
Laurel Woodcock: Take Me, I'm Yours Jan Allen & Paul Kelley ISBN 0-88911-827-2
Gretchen Sankey: Some of the Parts Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-754-3
Jayce Salloum Jim Drobnick & Jennifer Fisher ISBN 0-88911-752-7
Crime and Punishment Jennifer Rudder ISBN 0-88911-750-0
Flaming Creatures: New Tendencies in Canadian Video. Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-748-9
Tapes that Think: Video Works by Steve Reinke, Tran T. Kim-Trang, Rodney Werden Gary Kibbins ISBN 0-88911-702-0
Edifice Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-748-9
Germaine Koh: Persona Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-744-6
Of Mudlarkers and Measurers S. Dhaliwal ISBN 0-88911-742-X
Rise and Fall: John Dickson, Laurie Walker. Jan Allen et al. ISBN 0-88911-706-3
Sophie Bellissent: In the Flesh Jan Allen ISBN 0-88911-740-3
RX: Taking Our Medicine Jan Allen & Kim Sawchuck ISBN 0-88911-698-9
Pictorial Incidents The Photography of William Gordon Shields Michael Bell ISBN 0-88911-504-4
A. A. Chesterfield Ungava Portraits 1902-04 William C. James ISBN 0-88911-373-4
Heritage Quilt Collection Ruth McKendry & Dorothy Farr ISBN 0-88911-539-7


  1. ^ "The Agnes Etherington Art Centre receives the 2005 York Wilson Endowment Award" (PDF). Canada Council for the Arts. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  2. ^ "Awards: 2015 Winners". Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  3. ^ "The people behind campus landmarks" Archived May 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Queens Journal. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  4. ^ Smith, Frances K.; et al. (2006), André Biéler : an artist's life and times, Toronto: Firefly Books, ISBN 1-55407-232-8
  5. ^ "About the Art Centre". Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Agnes Etherington Art Centre". Queen's University. Archived from the original on 11 February 2009. Retrieved 4 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Publications". Agnes Etherington Art Centre. Retrieved 9 July 2012.

External linksEdit