Pictures on the Wall: Building a Canadian Art Collection

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The deeply personal story of a milestone Canadian art collection.

“There are many ways to collect art, many motivations and points of departure. In my estimation, Michael Audain’s is of the socially beneficial variety: avid and personal enough to cultivate the eye, local and deep enough to generate knowledge. Would that his approach were more common. This generous book shows how it’s done.” (Marc Mayer, C.M., former director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada.)

Michael Audain’s passion for art began when he was a teenager, taping reproductions of Bruegel paintings to his dorm room walls. Over the years, his eye for art developed and together with wife Yoshiko (Yoshi) Karasawa, he acquired one of Canada’s most notable collections. In Pictures on the Wall, Audain tells the story of the first tentative purchases to ultimately donating much of the collection to Whistler’s stunning Audain Art Museum.

With heart, humour and candour, Audain looks at seventy-five significant works that transformed both his collection and his relationship with art: the Indigenous art pieces that enthralled him from an early age, the Emily Carr paintings that inspired his lifelong connection to the artist, the works of Mexican modernists sought out after his early love of their murals, the paintings of Jean Paul Riopelle that opened his mind to the power of non-figurative art, and many more.

Accompanying each beautifully reproduced image is a description of the work and how it came to find a place in Audain’s collection. Throughout, Audain’s personal and practical narrative aims to light the way for anyone hoping to begin their own art collection, and to inspire everyone to explore and enjoy their own relationship with art.


By Michael Audain

208 pages
11 x 10 inches
ISBN 9781771623742
Douglas & McIntyre