In 1971, Dr. Harry Winrob began collecting Inuit sculpture and after 35 years he had amassed a collection of 330 pieces. As a medical doctor, he was fascinated by bone sculpture and he acquired many works in the media of whalebone, antler, and ivory. This is particularly significant in light of the declining use of these materials by Inuit artists. The collection is outstanding in its focus on imaginative and unique works. In his search for the unusual, Dr. Harry Winrob created one of the most significant personal collections of Inuit art.
In 2006, Curator, Darlene Coward Wight, made the selection of 246 works for donation to The Winnipeg Art Gallery from Winrob’s total collection of 330 pieces. Says Wight, “This donation by Dr Harry Winrob is outstanding in its focus on imaginative and original works. These masterful carvings constitute the most significant Inuit sculpture donation made to the Gallery in the last 30 years.” The exhibition The Harry Winrob Collection of Inuit Sculpture was organized by The Winnipeg Art Gallery and presented March 22 to June 29, 2008. The exhibition featured a selection of 130 sculptures by artists from all the main Inuit art-producing communities. This is the catalogue of that notable exhibition.
Over the years, The Winnipeg Art Gallery’s collection of Inuit sculptures has grown to its present size of 10,800 works mainly through the donation of large collections, such as the generous gift of sculptures donated by Dr. Harry Winrob.
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