The strength of the National Gallery of Canada lies in its collection of art, especially Canadian art, and its accessibility to the public across the country. The collection opens the way for appreciation of the finest in artistic expression: The works of art reveal the past, celebrate the present, and probe the future. The collection must be expanded, preserved, interpreted, and used extensively by the public for pleasure and understanding, for research and the advancement of knowledge.
When the National Gallery of Canada was established in 1880, its collection consisted of a single 19th-century landscape. Nearly 140 years later, the Gallery is home to more than 75,000 works of art, along with extensive library and archival holdings.
Comprising works from antiquity to the present day, the Gallery has one of the finest collections of Canadian and Indigenous art in the world, as well as masterworks from numerous other artistic traditions.
In addition to showcasing works of art, the Gallery preserves, studies and shares works in every conceivable medium, including photography, sculpture, painting, installation and the decorative arts. It does this through conventional means such as exhibitions and publications, as well as through its website, social media channels and other forms of international outreach.
Housed in one of Canada’s most iconic public buildings, the National Gallery of Canada is among the world’s most respected art institutions. As part of its ongoing evolution, and in response to the changing expectations of museum goers, the Gallery recently renewed its entire narrative on Canadian and Indigenous art, sharing a new and compelling story of artistic production in this country, from time immemorial to the present day.
While remaining committed to core values that include tradition, outreach and the sharing of knowledge, the National Gallery remains ever-alert to new ways of connecting with audiences, while showcasing the importance of art to the human condition – now and for generations to come.