Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is an art museum on the eastern edge of Toronto's downtown Chinatown district, on Dundas Street West between McCaul Street and Beverley Street. With 486,000 ft² (45,000 m²) of physical space, the AGO is the 8th-largest art museum in North America.
Its collection includes more than 66,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present-day. It includes an extensive collection of Canadian art, which depicts the development of Canada's heritage from pre-Confederation to the present. Indeed, works by Canadian artists make up more than half of the AGO's collection. The museum also has an impressive collection of European art, including works by renowned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Vincent Van Gogh, and Edgar Degas. In addition to these, the AGO also has one of the most significant collections of African art in North America, as well as a contemporary art collection illustrating the evolution of modern artistic movements in Canada, the United States, and Europe, including works by Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, and Jenny Holzer. Finally, the AGO is home to the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, which houses the largest public collection of works by this British sculptor. Moore's bronze work, Two Large Forms (1966–1969) greets visitors at the museum's entrance.
In 2004, the AGO unveiled a $194 million (since risen to $207 million) redevelopment plan by architect Frank Gehry. The new addition would require demolition of the 1992 Barton Myers/KPMB Post-Modernist wing. Notable elements of the new building include a glass and wood sculpture gallery at the north end along Dundas Street; a 4-story, box-like contemporary arts gallery and hosting centre clad in blue titanium facing Grange Park, as well as a new entrance aligned with the historic Walkers Court and The Grange.
During the course of the redevelopment plans, board member and patron Joey Tanenbaum temporarily resigned his position due to concerns over donor recognition, design issues surrounding the new building as well as cost of the project. The rift has since been healed and the project is proceeding apace, with $180 million raised. The building is slated to be completed by Spring 2008.
The AGO was founded in 1900 by a group of private citizens, as the Art Museum of Toronto it was renamed the Art Gallery of Toronto in 1919 and then the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1966.
Ken Thomson was a major benefactor donating much of his collection to the Gallery as well as providing much of the funding for its current renovation.