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Works by Kenneth Lochhead donated to OAG’s Permanent Collection

January 19, 2022

Kenneth Lochhead, Flower Plots, 1981, oil on Masonite, 24 x 32”. Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery: gift of Tavis Lochhead, 2021. © Estate of Kenneth Lochhead. Copyright Visual Arts-CARCC

We are thrilled to share that the OAG has acquired 24 works by prominent Canadian artist Kenneth Lochhead (1926-2006) through a generous donation by the Lochhead Family.

Considered to be one of the forerunners of Canada’s modern art movement, Kenneth Lochhead was an influential artist both nationally and internationally who experimented with numerous styles and mediums throughout his career. Acquired in 2021, this exciting donation of Lochhead’s work is comprised of 23 paintings and one installation by the artist, ranging in date from the 1960s to the early 2000s.

Within this donation, four large-scale canvases speak to the artist’s practice of minimalist abstract experimentation and his studies of colour and form in the 1960s, while Variable Arrangement (1970) – a sculptural installation made of aluminum bars painted in the colours of cars on Canadian roads at the time, was a commission for the lobby of the new Canadian Chancery Building in Warsaw, Poland. It presents a unique three-dimensional version of his hard-edge abstract paintings. 

Kenneth Lochhead, Soft White Repose, 1966, acrylic on canvas, 175.3 x 193 cm. Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery: gift of Joanne Lochhead, 2021. © Estate of Kenneth Lochhead. Copyright Visual Arts-CARCC

Also included in this acquisition are pieces from Lochhead’s Women in the Garden and Birds series from the 1990s, which are unique examples of his playful approach to the figure. In addition, five group portraits reflect the artist’s interest in colour, light, line and space, and include vibrant depictions of several Ottawa sports teams, including the Ottawa Juniors, the Ottawa Senators, and the Ottawa Lynx.

Kenneth Lochhead, The Juniors, 1993, oil on canvas, 24 x 32”. Collection of the Ottawa Art Gallery: gift of Ivana Lochhead, 2021. © Estate of Kenneth Lochhead. Copyright Visual Arts-CARCC

Finally, strong examples of Lochhead’s contribution to landscape painting in Canada, focused on his home city of Ottawa, are represented through a rendering of the flower plots at the Experimental Farm in the 1980s, and six additional dynamic landscapes of Ottawa and Gatineau.

Together, the works within this significant donation provide an excellent reflection of Lochhead’s style throughout his career, and expand the scope of his practice currently represented in the OAG’s Permanent Collection. With this donation, the OAG now holds 36 works by Kenneth Lochhead.

The OAG would like to thank donors Allan Lochhead, Alyssa Boissineau, Colin Lochhead, Danika Lochhead, Ivana Lochhead, Jennifer Lochhead, Joanne Lochhead, Tavis Lochhead, and Tessa Lochhead for their generous gifts of artworks.


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