Home » Fairy Godmother of the Arts Dies

Fairy Godmother of the Arts Dies

From this morning’s Ottawa Citizen, we learn that Shirley Thomson, the former director of the National Gallery of Canada, has died.


Jana Sterbak, Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic, 1987. Image: makefive.com

Thompson is known for her staunch defence of the gallery’s decision to purchase Barnett Newman’s Voice of Fire for $1.8 million in 1988. You can’t help but smile remembering the hou-ha that that caused, considering today’s $100 million plus prices that we see at auction. She also acquired the famous “meat dress” by Montreal artist Jana Sterbak.

From the article, which quotes her as saying “We know that some of the cutting-edge Canadian artists, by the very nature of their innovation, are not necessarily going to please a broad expanse of the public. However, we are morally and esthetically committed to these artists.”

“She served as director of the Canada Council for the Arts from 1998 to 2002, and as chair of the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board from 2003 to 2007.”

Read the full article HERE.

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