Founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens as the Art Museum of Toronto, the Art Gallery of Ontario is one of the largest art museums in North America, with a physical facility of 583,000 square feet. The AGO expanded it facility in 2008 with an innovative architectural design by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. The AGO holds more than 80,000 works in its collection, which spans from 100 A.D. to the present.
The Canadian collection vividly documents the development of the nation’s art heritage since pre-Confederation, including one of the largest and finest Inuit art collections in the world. Masterpieces of European art include works by renowned artists such as Anthony van Dyck, Thomas Gainsborough, Auguste Rodin, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and René Magritte.
The Thomson Collection at the AGO includes a broad range of works, from European to Canadian art, ship models and decorative arts. Its European collection includes 900 works from the 12th to the 19th century, featuring Peter Paul Rubens‘ 17th-century masterpiece, The Massacre of the Innocents. The Canadian collection includes signature works by Cornelius Krieghoff, Paul Kane, Lawren Harris, and Paul-Emile Borduas. The Thomson collection of ship models features pieces from the Napoleonic era to the 19th century, and a decorative arts collection includes more than 500 objects of international significance, including the 12th-century Malmesbury Chasse.
The AGO maintains a comprehensive collection of Contemporary art spanning from 1960 to the present, reflecting global developments in artistic practice across all media, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, projection art, and installation art. The collection is defined by strong holdings of leading Canadian artists such as David Altmejd, Brian Jungen, Jeff Wall, Shirley Wiitasalo, and inflected by major works by international artists such as Mona Hatoum, Gerhard Richter, Doris Salcedo, Tino Sehgal, Cindy Sherman, Richard Serra, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol.
The museum houses the world’s largest public collection of works by internationally renowned British sculptor Henry Moore. A collection of more than 40,000 photographs represents the emergence of the medium in all its artistic, cultural and social diversity. Works by 19th-century British, French, American and Canadian photographers, and 20th-century modernists, including a significant group of 1850s prints by British photographer Linnaeus Tripe, one of the foremost collections of works by Czech photographer Josef Sudek, and more than 18,000 press photographs from the Klinsky Press Agency taken in the 1930s and 40s.