The Ontario Society of Artists and the Government of Ontario share a long and rich history starting with the Society's founding in 1872.
Until 1912, the Government regularly bought paintings from OSA exhibitions to build the Government of Ontario Art Collection. Following the opening of the first phase of the Art Gallery of Toronto (the Grange) in 1912, and the creation of the the Ontario College of Art and Design in the same year, the Government informed the OSA that they would no longer be making purchases at the OSA Annual Exhibition (although further paintings were bought in 1913 and 1914). However, this was not the end of the relationship. Over the years many OSA artists have sold or donated works to the Ontario Government Art Collection. In 2005, 18 OSA members donated works to the Collection; these can be seen on the site. Further, in 2012 there was another generous group donation from OSA artists to the Collection; some of these can be seen in a video showing works hanging in the Premier's office.
The Government of Ontario Archives website features a number of fascinating articles about this history. To view these articles - click here
Click here to see the slide show of the 2005 group donation from the OSA members to the Government of Ontario Art collection.
To see recent videos and learn more about the Government of Ontario Art Collection, including access to the Collection database, click here