The board of trustees of the Remai Art Gallery of Saskatchewan—planned as the transformation of the Mendel Art Gallery, with a new building due to open in early 2015—announced today that the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation has donated 405 Picasso prints to the gallery.
These Picasso linocuts, valued at $20 million, are said to double the value of the gallery’s permanent collection.
The gallery’s chief curator, Lisa Baldissera, stated that “the editioned prints, experimental proofs, and working states comprise what is the largest, and arguably the finest, collection of Picasso linocuts in the world.”
Philanthropist Ellen Remai, whose foundation had already made a donation of $30 million to gallery-transformation endeavour in 2011, said she wanted to put the gallery on the international stage: “It is my hope that these works, by one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, will create many opportunities for the gallery and will inspire visitors and local artists for decades to come.”
A space on the third floor of the Remai Gallery will be dedicated to the Picasso gift and works of international modernity.
Other Saskatchewan art-world leaders also commented on the project.
“We are very excited for the gallery,” said Jeremy Morgan, executive director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery. “This generous donation by Ellen Remai is truly a gift to the people of Saskatoon, and indeed to all of Saskatchewan. We look forward to welcoming Picasso to the prairies when the Remai Gallery officially opens its doors in 2015.”