LETHBRIDGE - The University of Lethbridge has received its largest ever gift of original artwork and cultural properties.
Valued at between $4 and $5 million, the 1,100 works were a gift from the estate of Calgary heiress Dr. Margaret (Marmie) Perkins Hess.
Many of the works haven't been seen in public since they were originally acquired, including a painting by Group of Seven artist Tom Thomson, called "Cliffs Near Petawawa." That work is valued at more than $1 million alone.
U of L Art Gallery Curator and Director Josephine Mills says "Marmie" went to university in Alberta and Toronto in the 1930s and was particularly interested in indigenous artists, like Bill Reid.
"Inuit and northwest coast. It was really her specialty. But there's also an array of Canadian artists from Group of Seven- Tom Thomson and Emily Carr. So, it's an extraordinary gift."
Mills says Marmie had a close connection with the University of Lethbridge, serving on the senate and receiving an honourary doctorate as well.
"The U of L has exceptional teaching and research and community engagement. We have a degree in Art History Museum Studies, so our students get really high end, professional development working with our collection and our artists and on our public programming. And we have an exceptional commitment to our public engagement."
About 10 per cent of the works will be on display at the U of L Art Gallery until September 7. There will be two other exhibitions this year, including one in a smaller space and another next January.
Many of the works are still being catalogued and processed, including 3D Inuit works of art.
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