Roberts Gallery Blog
Roberts Gallery Blog

Our 175th Anniversary

This year, 2017, represents the 175th year of the Roberts Gallery.  This anniversary will sadly be marked by the passing of my mother, Jennie, in June at age 91.  It is hard to believe that it was 25 years ago we were celebrating our 150th.  My father, Jack, had passed away in December of 1991 and we dedicated that exhibition to him.  Jack and Jennie made a great team.

My father ran the gallery business, while Jennie was the social convenor, hosting dinner parties at our home and organizing the Tuesday evening openings at the gallery.

The gallery has been owned by three families in our 175 year period; the Pells (1842-1870), the Roberts (1870-1948), and the Wildridges (1948-present).  A synopsis of the gallery history and its five locations follows in this catalogue.

The gallery was, for many years, a framing and dealer of fine British, European and Canadian pictures.  The biggest change came in the mid 1950’s when my father started dealing with the top Canadian artists of the era, including Jean Paul Lemieux, Alfred Pellan, A. J. Cason, F. H. Varley, and the then controversial, Painters 11.  Dealing specifically in Canadian art transformed our gallery and many long term relationships were formed.  The one most prominent was with A. J. Casson.  My father and Mr. Casson became close friends and business associates, making Roberts Gallery the sole dealer for his work until his passing in 1992.

2017 represents the beginning of a new era with both my parents gone.

Charlene and I are still involved full time at the gallery.  Our daughter Allie, and son Tom, are now deeply entrenched in the day to day gallery activities and the transforming of the gallery in these changing times.

This exhibition is a celebration, in particular, of the 70 years that our family has owned the gallery and has collected examples of Canadian art.

Many of these works have not been displayed before and we hope you will enjoy seeing them and relating them to our galleries history.

On behalf of my family, I would like to thank the many clients we have enjoyed dealing with and the artists that have made it all possible.  Our gallery would not have survived without the many staff members who became like family to us.

-Paul Wildridge