The Cape Breton University Art Gallery is home to a significant collection of artwork. Over the years, the collection has grown in size and importance thanks to many noteworthy donations made by the gallery’s generous benefactors.
The permanent collection currently consists of nearly two thousand works of art of regional, national and international significance. As the principle resource in cultivating an appreciation for the arts at CBU gallery, exhibitions of art from the permanent collection are an integral part of the engaging exhibition schedule at the gallery.
The permanent collection also exists as a tool for scholarly investigation, and researchers may access the permanent collection by contacting the gallery. To date, pieces in the permanent collection have been included in essays, catalogues, and theses by researchers from the Maritimes and further afield.
The permanent collection holds a wide variety of original artworks with broad appeal. Works of regional historical importance include those by Louise Bradley MacLennan, Hetty (H.D.) Kimber, and Bill Daye. The Maritime folk-art tradition is represented by works from artists including Joe Norris, Charlie Norris, Sidney Howard, Wilhelm Hess, Eddie Mandaggio, Bradford Naugler, Leo Naugler, Donald Manzer, and Murray Gallant.
The collection is home to artworks by wide selection of important Canadian artists including Group of Seven members Arthur Lismer, F.H. Varley, and A.J. Casson. Among other significant Canadian artists in the collection are Moses Reinblatt, Miller Brittain, Molly Lamb Boback, Goodridge Roberts, Ghitta Caiserman-Roth, Ron Bolt, Jack Bush, Jean-Paul Riopelle, Alex Colville, Charles Comfort, and Harold Town.
A number of celebrated Aboriginal artists are represented in the permanent collection including Norval Morriseau, Blake DeBassige, Robert Kakegamic, and Carl Ray. Inuit artists in the collection include Manasie Akpaliapik, Germaine Arnaktauyok, Eegyveidluk Pootoogook, Eliyakota Samualie, Kingmeata Etidloie, Victoria Mamnguqsualuk, Samuelie Keeleemeeoomee, Audla Pudlat, and Pudlo Pudlat.
The permanent collection also contains a large of selection of turn of the century photographs including works by Robert Frank, Alvin Langdon Coburn, André Kertész, Edward Muybridge, Robert Demachy, Adolphe DeMeyer, Frantisek Drtikol, David Octavius Hill, Guido Rey, Clarence H. White and Lewis Hine.
The Cape Breton University Art Gallery also holds a number of works of art by internationally celebrated artists such as Tom Wesselmann, Georges Braques, Picasso, Arman, Raoul Dufy, Rainer Fetting, and William Wegman.