A Cultivating Journey: The Herman H. Levy Legacy

This exhibition is organized and circulated by the McMaster Museum of Art and curated by Dr. Ihor Holubizky, Senior Curator.

June 16 to October 28, 2018

Camille Pissarro (French/Français, 1830–1903), Pommiers en fleurs/Apple Trees, 1870, oil on canvas/huile sur toile, 45.7 × 55.3 cm, Gift of/Don de Herman H. Levy, 1984, McMaster Museum of Art


In 1984, Hamilton businessman and philanthropist Herman Herzog Levy (1902-1990) formalized the donation of his art collection to the McMaster Museum of Art.

His collection of 185 works included a remarkable selection of historical and modern European art. The gift ranks among the most important donations to a university gallery in Canada for its quality and significance, and rivals that of more publically known donations.

Herman H. Levy also provided a substantial financial Bequest with the only stipulation that the funds be used for continuing collection purchases and the proviso that it be used for works created outside of North America.

The earliest pieces in the exhibition date from the 15th Century, including a number of etchings on paper by Renaissance artist Albrecht Durer, while a number of more recent works are from the 1950s and 60s. It features works by artists including Gustave Courbet, Claude Monet, Mary Beale, Camille Pissarro, Vincent van Gogh, and many others.

More than sixty drawings, etchings, and paintings comprise the exhibition which spans five centuries of visual art, and offers viewers the opportunity to examine a variety of art movements and styles.

A Cultivating Journey reflects the remarkable acumen of Levy as a collector and offers visitors a cross-section of art history through the filter of his personal interests, which favoured Impressionist and Post-Impressionist landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.

Visionary partner

Exhibition sponsor

This project is supported by the Museums Assistance Program at Canadian Heritage.


Calendar of Events

Opening Reception
Friday, June 15, 6 to 8 pm
This is a free event, open to members and guests by invitation.

Tour and Talk with Guest Curator Ihor Holubizky
Saturday, June 16, 2 to 3 pm
Join us for a tour of the exhibition and conversation with Ihor Holubizky, Senior Curator at McMaster Museum of Art.

Lecture Series
Saturdays, 2 to 3 pm
Laura Jane Richie, Curator at the Kelowna Art Gallery | July 14
Robert Belton | August 11
John Hall | September 15
Roger Boulet. | October 13

Guided Tours
Tuesdays, 6 to 7 pm
Saturdays, 1 to 2 pm
Book a tour outside of these times by calling 250-762-2226

Exhibition Catalogue
A beautiful, full-colour, 224-page catalogue accompanies the exhibition, and is available for purchase at the gallery.
Cost: $49 ($45 for members)



Workshop of Adriaen Brouwer, The Drinker; The Bitter Draught, c. 1635–1638, oil on oak panel on oak cradle, 34.3 × 27.1 cm. Gift of Herman H. Levy, 1984 McMaster Museum of Art

Mary Beale (English/Anglaise, 1633–1699), Portrait of/de Charles Beale, c./v. 1660, oil on paper, later mounted to canvas/ huile sur papier marouflé sur toile, 39.3 × 31.2 cm, Gift of/Don de Herman H. Levy, 1984, McMaster Museum of Art


Vincent van Gogh (Dutch/Néerlandais, 1853–1890), Untitled, Still Life: Ginger Pot and Onions/Sans titre : Nature morte avec pot à gingembre et oignons, 1885, oil on canvas/huile sur toile, 34.5 × 49.5 cm, Gift of Herman Levy, Esq., OBE, 1984


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