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Alfred and Isabel Bader donate 68 paintings to Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University, Kingston

From the press release:

KINGSTON, ON – Daniel Woolf, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University, announced today that long-time benefactors Alfred (Sc’45, Arts’45, MSc’47, LLD’86) and Isabel Bader (LLD’07) have donated 68 paintings from their personal collection of Dutch and Flemish Baroque art to the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University.

“The Baders’ most recent gift adds another chapter to their long and enduring legacy at Queen’s,” says Principal Woolf. “This spectacular gift of paintings places the Agnes Etherington Art Centre among the leading university art galleries in Canada with one of the largest collections of European art in the country.”

The 68 paintings join more than 130 works of art the Baders have donated to the Art Centre since 1967. The gift cements the Art Centre’s position as a world leader for the understanding and enjoyment of the Rembrandt School, the group of artists who studied with, followed and befriended the great master over his long and storied career.

“We are thrilled to receive this transformative gift, and honoured to be entrusted by the Baders with its care and interpretation,” says Jan Allen, Director of the Art Centre. “As visitors will discover, the quality of the works is truly outstanding. We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing collection, and eager to share it with our immediate community and with students, researchers and audiences around the globe.”

The 68 paintings span a time period from 1610-1710 and represent the work of 49 artists. Alfred Bader’s passion for paintings of this period led him to start collecting art in 1951. The gift richly encompasses the various types of painting of the Baroque period, including portraits, landscape, still life, genre scenes and history painting.

A few of the highlights include:

A self-portrait by one of Rembrandt’s most talented pupils, Willem Drost, as St. John the Beloved; two works by Rembrandt’s friend and rival, Jan Lievens; two Biblical scenes by Rembrandt’s loyal, late pupil, Aert de Gelder; a painting by Hendrick ter Brugghen, who was admired by Peter Paul Rubens, and an exquisite portrait by Jacobus Leveck, long thought to be by Rembrandt.

“Dr. Bader’s philanthropy opens doors and creates opportunities for students at a level that is recognizably international in scope,” says David De Witt, Bader Curator of European Art. “Queen’s is one of a few universities in the world that gives students the chance to examine such high quality original works in a campus setting supported by conservators and specialists in Baroque art. The Bader Collection really serves as a springboard for students to widen their knowledge of art and art history and to move smoothly from enjoyment and appreciation to advanced study.”

The Art Centre will mount an exhibition to present highlights of the gift from April 26-June 1. The opening reception for The Bader Collection Gift exhibition will take place on Saturday, April 26 from 5-7 pm at the Art Centre (36 University Ave).

“These paintings have hung in the Baders’ home and have been a part of their lives for many years. We are grateful they have offered to share such a personal gift with Queen’s,” says Judith Brown, Associate Vice-Principal (Advancement). “Dr. Bader has approached art collecting with incredible intensity, passion and dedication to scholarship, and these paintings represent a large part of his life’s work.”


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