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Authority record

Abramov, Ayala Zacks, 1912-2011

  • Person
  • 1912-2011

Sam and Ayala Zacks were prominent Canadian art collectors of international repute active in the mid-20th century whose gifts form the basis of the modern European art collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ayala Ben Tovim Fleg Zacks Abramov (1912-) was born in Jerusalem and educated in Israel, Paris and London. In 1938 she married Maurice Fleg in Paris, and joined the French Resistance after her husband died in action in1940. Active in Zionist circles after the war, she met Sam Zacks in Switzerland. Samuel J. Zacks (1904-1970) was a financier, Zionist and art collector, born in Kingston Ontario and educated at Queen’s University and Harvard. Following their marriage in 1947 they immediately began to collect art of the School of Paris as well as Canadian and Israeli art and antiquities, amassing an extensive collection by the late 1950’s that was in continual demand by museums around the world. In 1956 a collection of Canadian art was donated to Queen’s University, Mr. Zack’s alma mater, the first of many significant gifts to institutions in Israel and Canada including the Hazor Archaeological Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mr. and Mrs. Zacks were both involved in international art circles, sitting on the Boards of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM), a branch of UNELA.SCO, the International Committee of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and others. In 1969 Mr. Zacks received an Honourary Fellowship from St. Peter’s College, Oxford. He died in 1970 in Toronto. After his death, Ayala Zacks was awarded the Order of Canada and an honourary degree from the University of Toronto. She married Zalman Abramov, an Israeli lawyer and politician in 1976 and moved permanently to Israel in 1982.

Band, Charles Shaw, 1885-1969

  • Person
  • 1885-1969

Charles Shaw Band (1885-1969) was a Toronto business executive, philanthropist and collector of Canadian art. He was born in Thorold, Ontario and educated at Upper Canada College in Toronto. In 1914 he married Helen Huntington Warren (whose mother Sarah Trumbull Van Lennep Warren was a founder of the Art Gallery of Toronto) with whom he began collecting artworks. During his career, he worked with many Canadian firms, including Canadian Surety, Goderich Elevator and Transit Co. Ltd., Manufacturers Life Insurance, Toronto General Trust, as well as Gutta Percha and Rubber Limited of Toronto.

In addition to his business interests, Band was affiliated with various community organisations including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the John Howard Society, the Red Cross, the Art Gallery of Toronto, and the National Film Board.

Band was a friend of members of the Group of Seven, especially Lawren Harris and Fred Varley. He was President of the Art Gallery of Toronto 1945-1948 and again in 1964-1965. In 1948 he was made Officier d’Académie by the French government for his role in bringing an exhibition of French masters to Canada the previous year. The noted Collection of Mr and Mrs Charles S. Band was the subject of exhibitions in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Vancouver, Los Angeles and other cities. C. S. Band died in Toronto in 1969, leaving the bulk of his collection to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Canada Packers

  • Corporate body
  • 1927-1990

Canada Packers, Inc. (now Maple Leaf Foods, Inc.) was a Toronto-based meat packing and processing company.

The company was formed out of a succession of mergers with predecessor companies. These include the William Davies Company, Ltd. (est. 1854), the Canadian Packing Company, Ltd. (est. 1868 as the George Matthews Company), Gunns Ltd. (est. 1876), and the Harris Abattoir Company, Ltd. (est. 1896). These firms merged in 1927 to form Canada Packers, Ltd., which became Canada Packers Inc. in 1980. In 1990 Canada Packers Inc. merged with British based Maple Leaf Mills, Ltd. to form Maple Leaf Foods, Inc.

Conn, Gordon, d. 1977

  • Person
  • ca.1888-1977

Gordon Conn (ca.1888-1977) was an art collector and supporter of visual art in Toronto. He studied to be a musician and worked as a painter in his youth. Although he did not pursue a career as an artist, he maintained connections with many artists. He was a friend of the painter Kenneth Forbes (1892-1980) who painted Conn’s portrait in 1935. Together with Forbes, Gordon Conn founded the Ontario Institute of Painters devoted to the display of painting based on what Forbes called “traditional” art values. Conn turned over his studio in Wychwood Park in Toronto—The Little Gallery—to a series of one-man shows of its members. Near the end of his life, he donated paintings by artists represented in this collection to public art galleries in Ontario.

Lee, Thomas Roche, 1915-1977

  • Person
  • 1915-1977

Thomas Roche ("Tommy") Lee was an ephemera collector and amateur art historian who lived at least part of his life in Baie d'Urfé, Quebec. He was the author of Albert H. Robinson, the painter's painter (Montreal, Canada : T.R. Lee, 1956), and produced an edition of Daniel Fowler's autobiography. He also made studies of Quebec church architecture. Lee corresponded for many years with Sybille Pantazzi, Librarian of the Art Gallery of Ontario, with whom he exchanged rare Canadian exhibition catalogues, ephemera, and manuscript material. He died in Toronto in 1977.

Master Print and Drawing Society of Ontario

  • Corporate body
  • 1985-

The Master Print and Drawing Society of Ontario (MPDSO) is the first independent body of specialist collectors of prints and drawings in Canada. Founded in 1985 by Sidney Bregman and Katharine Lochnan, the Society first came into existence as the Master Print and Drawing Society, and operated as a non-profit educational association that provided special assistance to its members with problems unique to collecting. The Society is officially affiliated with the Art Gallery of Ontario, but is an independent organization belonging to its members, and through its Board of Directors determines its objectives, policies and activities, requirements for membership, selection of new members, and the composition of its executive. The executive consists of the President, Vice-President(s), Secretary/Treasurer, and Directors. The President has primary responsibility for determining the Society's activities, making arrangements for lectures, tours, and other special events. Since 1989, the MPDSO has been supported by the Fraser Elliot Foundation in fulfilling its mandate to represent the collective interests of its members in seeking out the expert advice of scholars, curators, and visiting lectures to contribute special assistance with collecting master prints and drawings from the 15th to the mid 20th century.

McLean, John Stanley, 1876-1954

  • Person
  • 1876-1954

James Stanley McLean (1876-1954), Toronto business executive and art collector, was president of Canada Packers and founder of the J.S. McLean Collection of Canadian art. He was born in Clarke Township, Durham County, Ontario. Having graduated from the University of Toronto in 1896, McLean became an employee of the Harris Abattoir Company in Toronto in 1901, rising to become president in the 1920s. He achieved a merger of his firm with three others in 1927, forming Canada Packers Limited — of which he was president until his death. J.S. McLean was a founder-member of the Art Gallery of Toronto and a member of its executive from 1934 until his death. He was a patron of Canadian art himself and started collecting in 1934. In 1939 he began to buy Canadian artworks of art to hang in the offices and other areas of Canada Packers’ plants across the country. The result was a significant collection amassed at a time when such art was not widely sought after. Among the creators of modern art in Canada, he focused especially on the work of A.Y. Jackson, Carl Schaefer, Paraskeva Clark and David Milne. In 1952 the collection was the subject of an exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of J.S. McLean. Many of the works lent for this exhibition were subsequently donated to the Art Gallery of Ontario. J.S. McLean died in Toronto in 1954.

Tovell, family

  • Family
  • 1880s-2014

The Tovell family of Toronto, in particular Harold Murchison Tovell (1887-1947), Ruth Massey Tovell (1889-1961) and their son Vincent Massey Tovell (b. 1922), was active in art circles in Toronto for several decades following the First World War. Harold Tovell and Ruth Massey married in 1910 and in 1913-1914 travelled in Europe, visiting the major art galleries. Returning to Toronto, they lived on the eastern edge of the city in Dentonia Park, the Massey estate, until 1936 when they moved to the city centre. The Tovells built a collection of works by Canadian and European artists. In France in 1926 they met French painter Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) through their friend American author and artist Walter Pach (1883-1958). In 1928 they purchased a painting by Duchamp’s older half-brother Jacques Villon (1875-1963) at an exhibition in New York. They met Jacques and Gaby Villon in Paris in 1930 and corresponded with them until the 1960s. The Villons befriended Vincent who visited them in France in the years before the Second World War. From 1941 to 1947, the Tovells lived near Port Hope, Ontario. After her husband’s death, Mrs Tovell returned to live in Toronto. Harold and Ruth Tovell had three other sons: Walter (b. 1916), a geologist and Director of the Royal Ontario Museum 1972-1975, Freeman (b. 1918), diplomat and historian, and Harold (1919-2002), a physician. They bequeathed many of their artworks to the Royal Ontario Museum, the National Gallery of Canada and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

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