Throughout his life, Alfred Bader has found solace, inspiration, and intellectual stimulation in works of art. This exhibition, which marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first Bader gift to the Agnes in 1967, aims to paint a portrait of Dr Bader’s enduring relationship with the Old Masters. The works on view—by such artists as Girolamo da Santacroce, Jan Victors, Michael Sweerts, and Bernardo Bellotto—include early gifts as well as paintings more recently donated by Drs Alfred and Isabel Bader, exhibited here for the first time. This selection articulates his activities as a collector and amateur art historian in a very personal way by highlighting his scholarly discoveries and the parameters of his taste. In short, Alfred Bader Collects honours the discerning eye and focused vision of one Queen’s alumnus, and his desire to make the Agnes “the finest art museum of any university in Canada.”
The Bader Collection at the Agnes contains more than 200 European paintings spanning the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, with an emphasis on Dutch and Flemish art from the Baroque period. At the heart of the collection are two character studies and one portrait by Rembrandt van Rijn, paintings that unite the collection in numerous ways. These three works are currently on view and are complemented by the paintings in the exhibition by Bernardo Bellotto, Ferdinand Bol, Lambert Doomer, Aert de Gelder, Luca Giordano, Jan Lievensz., Claes Cornelisz. Moeyaert, Jacob Symonsz. Pynas, Pietro Antonio Rotari, Girolamo da Santacroce, Abraham Susenier, Michael Sweerts, David Teniers I and Jan Victors.