The Centre for All Canadians

Generations: The Sobey Family and Canadian Art on view this summer

April 18, 2023 – One of Canada’s most impressive private collections of Canadian art will be on public display in the Maritimes for the first time this summer.

Coming to Confederation Centre Art Gallery (CCAG) in June, Generations: The Sobey Family and Canadian Art braids together works by early European newcomers, titans of Canadian 20th century art, a rich display by the Québec Impressionists and Les Automatistes, as well as trailblazing artists of today, including contemporary Indigenous artists.

The exhibition comes from the private collections of Nova Scotia’s Sobey family, who have championed Canadian art for three generations, starting in the 1960s and ’70s with the trailblazing collecting of Irene and Frank H. Sobey. Organized and circulated by McMichael Canadian Art Collection, the nationally touring exhibition gathers the family’s collections for public display for the first time.

“We are thrilled to be hosting this high-profile exhibition in Charlottetown and look forward to welcoming many new and returning visitors,” says CCAG director Kevin Rice. “The outstanding works of art in the Generations exhibition provide a unique opportunity to explore narratives in Canadian art that reflect on an evolving Canada.”

Generations includes pieces from nineteenth-century painter Cornelius Krieghoff; the Group of Seven and their twentieth-century contemporaries David Milne and Emily Carr; Québec luminaries from Maurice Cullen and Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté to the modern abstract painters Jean Paul Riopelle and Paul-Émile Borduas; and the leading contemporary artists of today—among them Indigenous artists such as Brenda Draney, Brian Jungen, Ursula Johnson, and Kent Monkman.

“Rather than treading predictably through the chronology of Canadian art, this exhibition takes its cue from the art of private collecting itself, in which new and unorthodox connections between artists can be made,” says McMichael’s chief curator Sarah Milroy. “The result is a panorama of Canadian creativity past and present, revealing landscapes, personal narratives, and vivid revisions of Canadian history.”

Generations opened to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Sobey Art Award, the country’s preeminent award for contemporary Canadian art. The exhibition celebrates that milestone, demonstrating the range and depth of the Sobey family’s engagement with Canadian art, and their prescient and visionary leadership in the cultural sector.

Generations will open at CCAG on June 10 and be on view until September 10. For details on all Gallery events, visit


Photo cutlines: Kent Monkman (b. 1965), Study for “mistikôsiwak (Wooden Boat People): Resurgence of the People,” (Final Variation), 2019, acrylic on canvas, 107.3 x 213.4 cm, Collection of the Sobey Art Foundation, © Kent Monkman

Media Contact:
Emily McMahon, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
[email protected] | 902-628-6135

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