About the Collection

The University of Saskatchewan began acquiring works of art in 1910, building a collection of over 6,000 spanning many art movements, styles, subjects and media. Guided by the vision of its first president, Walter Murray, the Collection’s earliest works include prominent and emerging artists of the day, including Group of Seven painters Arthur Lismer and Lawren Harris, and Saskatchewan based artists Frederick Loveroff, James Henderson and Ernest Lindner.

Augustus (Gus) Kenderdine was hired by President Murray in 1923 as a “presence’ on campus and in 1928, became the university’s first lecturer in art. His paintings are well-represented in the collection, but his lasting legacies are the Kenderdine Art Gallery and the Emma Lake/Kenderdine Campus.

The Kenderdine Art Gallery opened to the public in 1991, assisted by a gift from Gus Kenderdine’s daughter, May Beamish. Its mission was, in part, to create a venue for the presention of and engagement with art works from the Collection. 

The Emma Lake campus was founded during the Depression in 1936 “with the intention of enabling young people to see beauty in the land when many saw only darkness and defeat.”[1] Beginning in 1955, workshops taught by prominent artists, such as Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, John Cage and renowned art critic Clement Greenberg, had a profound impact on the Saskatchewan artists who attended. Many of the artworks collected from the 1930s onward reflect Emma Lake’s extraordinary artistic activity, reputation and influence. 

1997.002.001.jpgThe Collection has grown to include important early Canadian works and modernist works from North America and Europe, as well as significant Inuit and Indigenous art objects and a large prairie folk art collection. Nearly 90% of its holdings are works by Canadian artists; of that more than 70% is produced by Saskatchewan artists. Approximately 10% of the works are by international artists. Of note are important early Canadian works and modernist works from North America and Europe. 

Today, our mandate emphasizes the acquisition of art objects that reflect the cultural life, research objectives and imagination of the university community and Saskatchewan’s art community, as well as the public at large. In particular, we are focused on including the work and voices of Indigenous artists to advance our vision respecting the principles, values and Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Finally, the collection must be available as a vital educational resource to support the research, scholarly and artistic activities of our university. 

Explore our collections database. For additional information on works in the collection, please contact Blair Barbeau.

Featured Artwork

Lori Blondeau: Grace, 2006.

Lori Blondeau: 
Grace, 2006. 
14 photographs on paper
image: 20 x 20 inches
support: 24 x 24 inches
Gift of the artist, 2018.

“In these works, the hands over the faces do not completely hide the identity of the people represented and can be interpreted as expressing alternating gestures of acceptance and rejection, remembrance and loss, celebration of life and closing off of the self, a place where dichotomies are resolved and rejected…”—Dan Ring, curator, from Lori Blondeau: Grace at the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon (2006) 

A survey exhibition titled Grace held at the College Art Galleries in 2018 revealed interdisciplinary artist Lori Blondeau’s working methodology of Indigenous storytelling, referring to personal and familial experiences. She appropriates dominant stereotypes and images from popular culture as a way to decolonize from the repression and consumption of Indigenous female identities. By reclaiming this imagery from the colonial gaze, Blondeau points to the racism, trauma and violence endured by Indigenous women. 

Blondeau has, throughout her career, produced tough, powerful female personas in her performance and photography-based practice. Her extensive body of work continues to impact and influence Canadian contemporary art. A Cree/Saulteaux/Métis member of the George Gordon First Nation in Saskatchewan, Blondeau holds an MFA (2003) from the University of Saskatchewan and apprenticed with James Luna (1998–2001). In addition to her extensive exhibition history, she is a co-founder of the Indigenous artist collective TRIBE Inc. She has exhibited and performed nationally and internationally, including at the Banff Centre, Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon), Open Space (Victoria) and FOFA (Montreal). Blondeau was part of The Requickening Project with artist Shelly Niro at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art Gallery (Winnipeg) presented a solo exhibition of her work in 2016.

Art Acquisitions

The University of Saskatchewan Art Collection continues to build its holdings through purchases and donations. All donors are recognized for their generous gifts and may qualify for income tax receipts. Donors may submit offers of donation for a charitable property tax receipt.  The USask Art Collection has a Class 5 Cultural Property designation.  Prospective gifts are subject to the approval of the Art Acquisitions Committee. The Collection is currently stored in an Art Vault equipped with humidity and temperature controls, and is located in the Peter MacKinnon Building on the ground floor.

How to submit a work to the Collection

Please note the University Art Collection currently has a moratorium on collecting artwork not produced by BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ artists. This is an act of reparation that acknowledges the systemic barriers to collection as well as the important role a collection plays in amplifying the values and belief systems of their host institution and stewards.  As the University Art Collection has exceptional representation of early Modernist works, and have actively collected the artists that have represented settler/immigrant culture, we now seek improved balance and enrichment of our collection to actively demonstrate our institutionally stated values.

Artwork may be offered as a donation for a cultural property tax receipt or a charitable tax receipt in a calendar year, as designated by the date the transfer of ownership is signed.   Prospective donors should speak with their accountant, or inquire at University Relations, to determine tax ramifications pertaining to the gift.

Please include the following items with your letter of intent to donate artwork to the USask Art Galleries and Art Collection. An email is fine. All of the documentation listed below is necessary for both a charitable tax receipt and a CCPERB application. We cannot proceed with your donation offer until we receive the information listed below.

Personal Information:

Name of Donor(s) in full
Home mailing address
Phone number(s)

Art Object Information:

Date of creation:

Compiled information on artist(s) and art object(s) will be submitted to the Art Acquisitions Committee who will determine whether it is of interest to the University.  University Transfer documents will be forwarded for a donor signature once the gift has been fully determined and approved by the Committee. Following approval and transfer of the gift, the works will be catalogued and appraisals will be obtained. Donations made contingent upon acquiring a desirable evaluation, or upon CCPERB certification, will not be considered by the University of Saskatchewan.  For cultural property gifts, the application package will then be forwarded to the CCPERB for processing, and a letter will be sent to the University and the donor once a decision has been made, accompanied by a tax certificate if the application was successful. An income tax receipt will then be sent by the University of Saskatchewan, Financial Services Division. 

If you have questions or require assistance with your donation, please contact the USask Art Galleries offices:
(306) 966-4571

or for tax related queries, please contact University Relations:
(306) 966-5186 or 1-800-699-1907

Campus Art Placement Program

Over 2,000 works of art from the USask Art Collection are on display in buildings and offices on campus through the Campus Art Placement Program. The program offers USask students, staff and faculty the opportunity to enhance their surroundings and benefit from everyday encounters with original works of art. Our goal is to have as much of the collection on view as possible by placing artworks in offices, hallways, lobbies, lounges and other high traffic public spaces. Many areas feature thematic placements and temporary Collection-based exhibitions. 

How to receive an art placement

If interested in an art placement for your area, please contact the University Art Collection. 
(306) 966-4571

USask Art Collection charges an administration fee for placing artworks from the collection into buildings on campus. Fees are directed to a fund to support the conservation and framing of artwork in the collection.  There is a one time cost from the Art Collection of $125 for 2 hours of consultation (add $50/hour for additional time) and $45 per artwork placed.  Note that framing and installation is at the additional cost of the client.  Commercial art framers do our framing, University Material Handlers move the work if vehicles are neceessary, and Facilities Management carpenters install the work with security hangers.  

During the initial space assessment, we must ensure that specific conditions are met to ensure the safety and security of the artwork. Prospective placement locations are assessed to determine suitability based on dimensions, visibility, security, environmental controls, relationship to other works in the area, longevity of the location remaining as is at the time of the assessment and pedestrian and other traffic.  It is preferred that artworks be installed in areas of high public exposure, including reception areas, lounges, boardrooms and communal spaces to best serve the university community and its visitors.  These areas of greater engagement will be prioritized over individual offices.

We will inquire about what kind of work you are interested in for the space, and then send a number of images that we believe you may be interested in considering.  After an initial dialogue where we outline available works that we believe are suitable for the space, a final decision is made together and we obtain estimates for framing and installation to ensure that it fits your budget.  Information labels accompany each installed artwork to promote public understanding, identification and appreciation of the artworks. Th eplacement and production of thsi neceessary part fo public installation of artwork, must also be discussed at this time.

You may review costs, procedures and responsibilities by downloading the art placement agreement.