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Two Gifts

Both Remai Modern and its predecessor the Mendel Art Gallery benefitted from extraordinary gifts of art from their namesakes. In the 1960s, the Mendel family gave 13 paintings — now called the Mendel Gift — to the museum. Almost 50 years later, Ellen Remai made her own major gift of art by donating a collection of linocuts by Pablo Picasso to Remai Modern. Artworks from both gifts have become touchstones for our visitors. Our shared collection, which now numbers more than 8,000 works, is built from this history.

Event/Exhibition meta autogenerated block.


Remai Modern

This exhibition brings together the Mendel Art Gallery’s first major donation with a selection of Picasso linocut prints contributed by Remai through the Frank and Ellen Remai Foundation. 

Ten years ago, Remai, lead patron of Remai Modern, gifted the museum 406 linocuts by the famed modernist. The collection comprises 194 of Picasso’s distinct linocut subjects and 212 working proof and variant inkings. With only 197 different linocut subjects known to have been produced by the artist, Remai Modern holds the world’s most complete collection of Picasso’s works in this medium. This dynamic set of prints furthers the museum’s ongoing commitment to interrogating the idea of “modern” from multiple cultural, historical and contemporary positions. The linocut collection has also given us the opportunity to bring the work of this master into conversation with other artworks from our collection and new pieces by local, national and international artists.

The concept of modern art — in global, national and local forms — was solidified as part of our collection from the outset. In 1965, the Mendel family made a significant donation of 13 paintings from their extensive private collection. The Mendel Gift includes works by members of the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, who were at the forefront of modernist explorations in Canada. These paintings formed the nucleus of the Mendel Art Gallery’s collection and set the tone for its development over the next 50 years.

Both gifts of artwork in this exhibition were given to the people of Saskatoon by fellow citizens. They are held in trust and cared for in perpetuity by Remai Modern. We are grateful for these important gifts and for all work in our collection that allows us opportunities for learning, unlearning, enjoyment, care, contemplation and critical thinking.