The mosaic in the fountain in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Vancouver Art Gallery from Robson & Howe
The Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is the fifth-largest art gallery in Canada and the largest in Western Canada. It is located at 750 Hornby Street in Vancouver, British Columbia. Its permanent collection of over 7,900 items includes more than 200 major works by Emily Carr and illustrations by Marc Chagall.
The VAG was founded in 1931 and had its first home in an art deco building on Georgia Street. In 1983 it was moved to its current location, a former provincial courthouse, after a $20 million renovation designed by the architect Arthur Erickson.
The VAG has 41,400 square feet (3,846 square metres) of exhibitionspace and nearly 8000 works in its collection, most notably its EmilyCarr collection. It has also amassed a significant collection of photoworks.
The Vancouver Art Gallery’s collection of over 8000 works of art represents the most comprehensive resource for visual culture in British Columbia. Established in 1931 with the founding of the Gallery, the collection grows by several hundred works every year. It is a principal repository of works produced in this region, as well as related works by other canadian and international artists.
To celebrate the Gallery’s 75th anniversary, the Gallery has published on on-line catalogue that features 75 works from its collection.
The VAG is currently located in the former main courthouse for Vancouver (See Supreme Court of British Columbia and British Columbia Court of Appeal). The original 165,000 square foot (15,329 square metre) neoclassical building was designed by Francis Rattenbury after winning a design competition in 1905. Rattenbury also designed the British Columbia Parliament Buildings and the Empress Hotel.
The design includes ionic columns, a central dome, formal porticos, and ornate stonework. The building was constructed using marble imported from Alaska, Tennessee and Vermont. The new building was constructed in 1906 and replaced the previous courthouse located at Victory Square. At the time, the building contained 18 courtrooms.
An annex designed by Thomas Hooper was added to the western side of the building in 1912. The Annex Building is the only part of the VAG that was not converted to use as an art gallery. It was declared a heritage site and retains the original judges’ benches and walls as they were when the building was a courthouse.
On the Georgia Street side of the building is the Centennial Fountain. This fountain was installed in 1966 to commemorate the centennial of the union of the colonies of Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Both the main and annex portions of the building are municipally designated “A” heritage structures.
The steps on both the Robson Street and Georgia Street sides of the building are a popular gathering spot for protest rallies. The Georgia Street side is also a popular place in the summertime for people to relax or socialize.