Thursday, October 4, 2012

Michael Audain Searches For a Home for His "Awe-Inspiring" Collection of West Coast Art. Has Nanaimo Approached Him?

E.J. Hughes. "Departure from Nanaimo," 1964.
Collection of Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa. Courtesy of Vancouver Art Gallery.
Calling from Canada | The Audain Collection at Vancouver Art Gallery | Art21 Blog

Michael Audain aims to build gallery in Whistler - The Globe and Mail


Frank Murphy said...

Reply received from Councilors Pattje and Brennan and my response:

Subject: Re: A quick follow-up and some background...
Date: 4 October, 2012 5:58:06 PM PDT
To: Fred Pattje , Diane Brennan
Cc: Mayor&Council , GENERAL MANAGERS ,,

Fred and Diane, Thanks for looking into this!

While this is probably a done deal, I sure think it's worth a shot. It has surprised everyone, especially the Vancouver Art Gallery (he chairs the board of the VAG Foundation and is a major supporter and contributor) and I imagine they thought they could count on the collection to anchor the new building they desperately want. This probably means no new building. They're putting a brave face on it but I imagine Julie would agree that the collection really is that important. Maybe the premiere private collection in Canada. What's of particular interest to me though is how anchored it is in this part of the world. How many places in the world (the Mediterranean comes to mind) have Vancouver Island's high-quality visual art tradition. The collection includes Emily Carr's of course and EJ Hughes' and also paintings by a favourite of mine who after a career as artist and architect in Calgary lived and painted for many years in Victoria, Maxwell Bates. Audain has expressed a number of times that having this work close to home has alway been a fundamental motivation for collecting it. The First Nations masks and fabrics and artifacts are breathtaking and destined eventually for a First Nations art museum perhaps at Haida Gwaii. Thanks again…


On 2012-10-04, at 4:59 PM, Fred Pattje wrote:


I have written to Michael Audain, as Chair of the City's Cultural Committee, to see if he sees value or merit in reuniting any of EJ Hughes' works with their " origin of subject" , that being Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, as opposed to sending these to Whistler........

Will keep you posted if a response in forthcoming.

Fred Pattje

From: Diane Brennan
Subject: Re: A quick follow-up and some background...
Date: 4 October, 2012 4:47:25 PM PDT
To: Frank Murphy
Cc: Mayor&Council , GENERAL MANAGERS , ""

Frank thanks for your ideas. I wonder if this suggestion is best sent to the Art Gallery for their initial thoughts and assessment. Have you contacted them?....db

Sent from my iPad

On 2012-10-04, at 1:42 PM, "Frank Murphy" > wrote:

Audain Searches for Home for "Awe-Inspiring" West Coast Art Collection. Has Nanaimo Approached him? @VanArtGallery

Frank Murphy said...

And email thread from Oct 5:

From: Fred Pattje
Subject: FW: attn: Mr. Audain
Date: 5 October, 2012 5:46:10 PM PDT
To: Diana Johnstone , Diane Brennan
Cc: "''" , "''" , 'Frank Murphy'

Herewith the response to my note to Michael Audain:

Mr. Pattje - Mr. Audain has asked me to thank you for your e-mail and to let you know that he recalls his visits to Nanaimo as his great-great grandfather was one of Nanaimo's original residents. He will give sympathetic consideration to your request and get back to you in due course.


Barbara Binns
Executive Assistant
Audain Group
604 871-4207 Fax: 604 871-4280

From: Fred Pattje
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 4:50 PM
To: ''
Subject: attn: Mr. Audain

Ms. Binns, could you kindly pass this note on to Mr. Audain.

Fred Pattje

Dear Mr. Audain,

After reading John Mackie’s article on Whistler’s art museum in today’s Vancouver Sun, I decided to be bold and write to see if there would be any possibility to have a chat with you on the subject of connecting any E.J. Hughes pieces with their “ origin of subject” , that being Nanaimo and Vancouver Island.

While I do not know how often, or how long ago, you may have visited us, we are a changing City, one where “Cultural Vitality” was recently added as the fourth pillar of our new, revamped and refurbished Strategic Plan.

We have an amazing Nanaimo Art Gallery, well on the way to making great things happen under the leadership of Julie Bevan, formerly of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and a graduate of UBC’s Critical and Curatorial Studies program, which you so generously support.

Then of course we have E.J.Hughes’ great 1938 mural of Captain Malaspina sketching the Malaspina Gallery on Gabriola Island, a mural which is aching for company.......

It would be great to hear from you!


Fred Pattje
City of Nanaimo
Chair, Cultural Committee
Nanaimo Parks, Recreation & Culture Commission