Sam Weir, The Consummate Collector
Since the death of Samuel E. Weir in 1981, the collection he left behind has been interpreted and displayed with attention to the founder’s tastes, interests, and passions for fine art and history. The current exhibition extends this focus to include the range of objects collected by Weir throughout his life. His interest was caught by fine and decorative art to be sure, but also rare books, silver, medals, coins, stamps, historic documents, bird decoys, horticultural specimens, furniture and even celebrity autographs. This diversity suggests Weir is best understood as an example of what historians Paula Rubel and Abraham Rosman describe as the “unruly” collector.
The Battle of Lake Erie
The Battle of Lake Erie, one of the most significant U.S. American victories of the War of 1812-14, took place on Sept. 10 1813, off the coast of Put-In-Bay, Ohio, near Pelee Island Ontario. This exhibition features representations of the naval battle in various media, including a series documenting specific moments in the encounter by U.S. American artist Thomas Birch (1779-1851). The Birch series, from the collection of Samuel E. Weir, is accompanied by other representations of the battle on earthenware pottery, prints, watercolour, and by archival documents and other objects loaned by collector/historian Cameron Ward.
Nineteenth-Century Views of the War of 1812-14
This exhibition includes a sampling of images from the permanent collection at RiverBrink depicting events in different theatres of the war, with a special emphasis on the Battle of the Thames and the death of Shawnee Warrior Tecumseh in 1813. Collector and RiverBrink founder Sam Weir was particularly interested in this battle due to its proximity to his home town of London, Ontario. The exhibition also features artworks depicting battles in the Niagara region.
Norval Morrisseau: Journey with a Genius
Richard Baker’s collection of paintings and prints by Norval Morrisseau, on loan to RiverBrink, charts a personal and professional relationship that began when Richard was just starting his career as a lawyer. Over the years he acquired several important art works by Morrisseau and an equal number of stories about the artist’s life and work. In the process, Richard developed an interest in art and an appreciation for Morrisseau’s achievements as an innovator, an experience expressed in the title “Journey with a Genius.”
Augustus John, Works on Paper
2011 marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Welsh-born artist Augustus John (1878-1961). Equally celebrated as an artist as he was for his notoriously bohemian lifestyle, in recent years John’s artistic reputation has been eclipsed by that of his sister Gwen (1876-1939). This exhibition of works on paper, drawn from the permanent collection at RiverBrink, showcases John’s strengths as a draftsman. The exhibition includes both sketches and etchings of family members and friends such as fellow artist Jacob Epstein. John often used his family and friends as models, particularly for his more experimental work.
Inunoo, ‘of-the-People’: Inuit Carpets and Drawings
This exhibition extends the museum’s current focus on collecting to include drawings and carpets/tapestries loaned by Doug Mantegna of Inunoo & Associates, NOTL. Mantegna, a graphic designer and textile artist, has worked with Inuit artists for many years through Dorset Fine Arts in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. This collaboration with carvers and printmakers has resulted in an exclusive line of hand-made carpets, based on original drawings and prints created by Inuit artists. The exhibition includes three carpets along with drawings, prints, and a selection of Inuit sculptures from the RiverBrink collection. (Opening November 23)
A Childish View: Scenes of Childhood from the RiverBrink Collection
Among the art works in the RiverBrink collection are a significant number of images of children. These include formal portraits but also boys and girls captured in moments of quiet repose and reflection. “A Childish View” presents a sampling of these images in prints, drawings, paintings, and sculptures, along with William Blake’s Songs of Innocence, a fitting accompaniment in poetry. (Opening November 23)