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The National Bank Private Collection

Since 1971, National Bank has been acquiring artwork to expose nationwide in its offices, branches and subsidiaries. With over 7,000 original works, National Bank has the largest corporate art collection in Canada. Here’s an inside look, with curator Jo-Ann Kane.

Describe National Bank’s collection in a few words.

Our collection represents the history of Canadian art, from 1895 to now. It includes paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs and digital works. Without naming any names, I can say that our collection includes works from both up-and-coming and well-known artists.

What is the goal behind the collection?

First off, we want to create both a stimulating workplace for our employees and a welcoming environment for our clients. More importantly, we want to encourage local artists. Acquiring artwork is a direct way to support Quebec and Canada’s visual arts community.

What criteria do you apply to your acquisition decisions?

The artist must be recognized by his or her peers, have at least ten years of experience and have shown work in well-known galleries.


What is the acquisition process?

I propose selected works to the acquisition committee. This committee meets three or four times a year and is responsible for making final decisions.

Outside of National Bank offices and branches, where can we see works from the collection?

We do a lot of outreach with our artwork. You’ll find it displayed with descriptive texts in public places where National Bank clients can see it. We also post Instagram stories about the collection to make certain works more accessible and we regularly lend pieces from our collection to museums across Canada. It is always a pleasure to lend works out so that they reach as many people as possible.


Several works from the National Bank private collection will be shown at the Papier Contemporary Art Fair in Montréal.


Text: Diane Stehle
Photos: Patrick Bernatchez, À la recherche du jour d’après, 2012 © Christian Perreault Photographe – Ed Pien, Dream Land, 1999-2010 © Christian Perreault Photographe

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