Art need not be intimidating, and it need not break the bank. At Masters Gallery we’ve built our business around those two basic beliefs, and our feelings haven’t changed since the day we first opened our doors.     

That was back in 1976, making us one of the oldest art dealers in the city. We are also one of the few galleries in Canada to carry both contemporary and historical works. Our goals always been to seek out the finest examples from a broad spectrum of Canadian painting, drawing and sculpture. Whether a piece was created in 1890 or the present, we focus on one thing: quality. 

Don’t know us? Drop in for a coffee and cookies sometime. You’ll find we don’t put on airs here. To our way of thinking, a gallery should be a fun place to visit. The art scene can be bewildering enough if you’re new to it. When you walk into Masters, we want you to just enjoy looking around. Indeed, if you’re on unfamiliar ground, that’s exactly what we suggest you do—look at art, read about art, ask lots of questions and develop a feel for the type of work you like.

Contrary to popular perception, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to acquire good art. Even so, buying a painting on impulse can still be a costly mistake. It takes a lot of thought, a little help and a financial plan to build a collection that has value. And that’s where we come in. Since value is a function of quality, we counsel our customers on how to buy the best work for the money they have available.

Evaluating early work is relatively straightforward. With the passage of time, every artist assumes a place in history, based on his or her contribution to Canadian art culture. The value of a particular piece is then dependent upon subject matter, date and condition.

Investing in contemporary art is a more subjective endeavour. There are times when a piece of art just doesn’t seem right after you’ve lived with it for a while. At some galleries, that would be a problem—your problem. At Masters, we encourage you to take work on trial. And come the day you want to increase the value of your collection, we’ll always welcome back old friends in trade. it’s one of the best ways we know of to keep in touch with our customers.

Early Canadian Art

Canada’s earliest painters were often priests or missionaries, and religious subjects dominated their canvases. Signs of a distinctively Canadian style began emerging in the late 18th century, when portraiture was very much in vogue in Quebec. By the second half of the next century, a legion of artists – chief among them Cornelius Krieghoff, Paul Kane and Frederick Verner – had turned their attention to landscape and genre painting, depicting their new country and fellow citizens with a romantic intensity that matched the prevailing sentiment.