Hugh Hanson Davidson: A Life in the Arts
April 2 to June 18, 2016
Central Gallery
In 2014, the Kamloops Art Gallery received a bequest of works of art from the private collection of Hugh Hanson Davidson (1930-2014). Davidson was a generous benefactor to the Gallery. He donated a number of works in 1998, as well as his library of art books. The Gallery celebrated Davidson and his gift at a special reception in 2002, naming its library the Hugh Hanson Davidson Library. It was always Davidson’s intention to bequeath to the Gallery what remained in his collection, which he amassed over many decades.

Davidson spent virtually his entire life in the arts. His grandparents’ Westmount home in Montreal had works of art on the walls and contained objets d’art typical of the late Victorian and Edwardian mansions of the day. The well-known Canadian artist, Randolph Hewton, had been commissioned to paint his mother’s portrait in 1925. Though his primary interest was music, and most of his working life was as an arts administrator and music programmer for various agencies, including the CBC, the BBC, the Canadian High Commission in London, the National Arts Centre and the Canada Council, Davidson had an abiding interest in the visual arts. As a young man, he began to collect works that caught his eye and that he could afford. Later, especially during his years in Ottawa and Montreal, his taste reflected a greater awareness of contemporary art and a prime motivation was to support younger artists. This continued during his retirement years, when he moved first to Vancouver in 1988 and then to Victoria in 1998.

This exhibition celebrates a life in the arts. It presents work which Davidson inherited from his family and work he acquired throughout his life. Not only does this collection present an insightful survey of Canadian modern art, but it also shows how this collector’s acquisitions were informed by where he lived, where he travelled and what would give him lasting delight in his home.

This exhibition of approximately 100 works represents a collector’s biography, showing how the collection was formed, highlighting the dealers Davidson patronized and how his collecting activity became an expression of his support of artists and their work.

A coinciding publication is available.
Curated by Roger H. Boulet, Historical Canadian Art, Kamloops Art Gallery
Generously sponsored by Funk Signs Inc.
View images of the exhibition here.

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