October 16th, 2018

Bequest adds to U of L art collection

By Kuhl, Nick on June 14, 2018.

Lethbridge Herald

The University of Lethbridge Art Gallery has unveiled an unparallelled bequest of more than 1,000 works of art – valued between $4 million and $5 million – from the estate of Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess.

“This is the largest gift of art and cultural properties to the U of L in its 51-year history,” said Mike Mahon, U of L president and vice-chancellor, in a press release. Wednesday’s announcement was in Calgary, with a local event planned at the U of L for this afternoon.

“We are honoured to become the home for these iconic works of art. Marmie was truly a renaissance woman; she was highly educated and committed to the arts, education and the community.”

Most of the works haven’t been seen in public since Hess acquired them, including Cliffs Near Petawawa by Tom Thomson, a contemporary of the Group of Seven. It alone is valued at more than $1 million.

The collection also contains more than 400 works by Indigenous artists, primarily Inuit and Northwest Coast First Nations.

“It was important to Marmie that her collection be open and accessible to the broadest audiences possible and also be used to support education, teaching and research,” say Dale Boniface and Richard Haskayne, co-executors of the Hess estate, in a release.

“Given these wishes, we find it so satisfying that the Hess collection has found a new home at the U of L. Recognized nationally for the quality of its art collection and the standard of care and stewardship it provides to the collection, we take great comfort in knowing that Marmie would be absolutely thrilled with the new home and plans for her collection.”

The U of L Art Gallery, in addition to renaming the main gallery space as the Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess Gallery, will focus on researching the works and providing access to them through exhibitions and public programs.

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