This gallery displays a selection of the museum's non-New Brunswick Canadian fine art, brought together for the first time as a single collection. In effect it combines the legacies of John Clarence Webster and Alice Lusk Webster, two of the New Brunswick Museum's greatest benefactors.
The former History Department, originated by Dr. J.C. Webster, acquired documentary Canadian art, some with funds from his endowment, the Webster Museum Foundation. Most of these are portraits of prominent New Brunswickers and other Canadians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, produced by artists who lived and worked outside New Brunswick.
The former Art Department, established by Alice Lusk Webster, collected art to further her goal of providing a visual resource from New Brunswick and beyond for the pleasure and education of the Province's artists and the general public. The collection comprises paintings and sculpture by noted Canadian artists, including some whose work bears a relationship to art in New Brunswick.
The golden age of contemporary art acquisitions occurred during the 1960s and 1970s. In these prosperous decades, the Museum participated in national and regional exhibition programs designed to promote Canadian contemporary art. This brought important work to the province and presented the opportunity for the Museum to acquire a number of its more significant Canadian paintings and sculptures. Western representation in the collection is the result of a Canada Council initiative offering matching purchase grants intended to encourage national distribution of works of art. It provided that eastern institutions acquire art from the West and vice versa. Recent additions have particularly strengthened representation of art from Québec and the Maritimes, and significantly augmented the collection of Inuit art.