From Our Collection: Recent Acquisitions 2015

March 5 - May 22, 2016

Organized by Glenbow

Robert McInnis The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue (detail) 1979, Collection of Glenbow.

From compelling artworks by both established and emerging artists to fascinating artifacts and documents from Glenbow's Indigenous Studies, Cultural History, Military History and Library and Archives departments, the exhibition From Our Collection: Recent Acquisitions exemplifies the depth and breadth of Glenbow's vast and varied collection. For 50 years, Glenbow has collected art and objects that represent the culture and history of our region and beyond. Every item (whether donated or purchased), is acquired into the collection with the intention that it should be used to learn, understand and inspire. This exhibition is an opportunity to share some of the special items that Glenbow collected in 2015.

Notable artworks in Recent Acquisitions include pieces by Ron Spickett, David Thauberger, Joane Cardinal Schubert, Lylian Klimek, and Robert McInnis. Artifacts range from a First World War trench map to a striking Cree outfit, including headdress, buckskin suit and eagle staff.

Caption Caption Caption Caption

The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue

Robert McInnis
1979 - 1982, oil on canvas

For almost 30 years, the status of Robert McInnis' painting The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue was "missing" -- and its disappearance was no small feat for an such enormous work. Three years in the making (1979 -1982), the epic painting consists of 13 panels containing portraits of artists, gallery owners, patrons, framers and others involved in the art scene on 17th Avenue in Calgary at the beginning of the late seventies boom.

In 1982, McInnis lent the work to a friend who had the wall space to hang the huge painting in their Calgary home. In 1987 the house was sold to Kathy Bentley, who agreed to act as temporary custodian of the paintings, with the understanding that artist was still the owner of the work. In 1992, Bentley was planning a move to Yellowknife and sold the house where the paintings had hung for over a decade. Bentley tried in vain to contact McInnis, but the phone number she had for him was disconnected (he had since moved to Winnipeg) and in the pre-internet age, the trail went cold. Bentley brought the paintings with her to Yellowknife, where they hung in her home until 2014, when she rekindled her search for the artist and true owner of the artwork.

McInnis, who believed his paintings to be lost, was tracked down in Winnipeg by Bentley’s daughter McKenzie, and the artist and the Bentleys met at last. Together, they decided that The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue should be in a public collection in the city where it was painted, and they jointly donated the work to Glenbow.

Important historically was well as artistically, the painting documents a pivotal time in the development of Calgary's visual art scene, and records many of the individuals involved in building Calgary's visual art community, including: Joane Cardinal Schubert, Illingworth Kerr, Rick Grandmaison, Ken Christopher, Douglas MacLean, Rod Green, Michael Miller and Nancy Tousley.


The Demise of Seventeenth Avenue: How a Calgary artist's 'stolen' paintings were found in Yellowknife 20 years later
Source: Swerve
Published: February 26, 2016

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