Generous Lochhead family gift brings Ken Lochhead art collection home to U of R

By Greg Duck Posted: May 31, 2019 3:40 p.m.

Joanne Lochhead looks on at The Football Team, a later Lochhead piece on display at the President's Residence and part of her family's largest gift to the University.
Joanne Lochhead looks on at The Football Team, a later Lochhead piece on display at the President's Residence and part of her family's largest gift to the University. U of R Photography

Ken Lochhead with students
Ken Lochhead with students at College Avenue Campus, 1954 (Photo courtesy of U of R Archives & Special Collections)
Vianne, Joanne, and Tom
Dr. Vianne Timmons, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, Joanne Lochhead, and Dr. Thomas Chase, U of R Provost and Vice-President (Academic) at the announcement of the Lochhead family's latest gift
Joanne Lochhead
Joanne Lochhead discusses the inspiration behind her husband's work

Thursday marked a new chapter in the nearly 70-year relationship between the Lochhead family and the University of Regina with the announcement of the family's most significant gift to date.

Dr. Vianne Timmons shared the news of the Lochhead family's gifting of 70 paintings and sketches by the legendary Canadian artist Kenneth Lochhead to the President's Art Collection and Library Archives on Thursday at College Avenue Campus. The gift is valued at $716,000.

"Thanks to the generosity of the Lochhead family, the University of Regina is now home to one of the largest collections of Lochhead's work - with nearly 100 pieces in our collection," said Dr. Timmons at the announcement made at College Avenue Campus. "The gift also returns many pieces that Lochhead created right here in Regina in the 1950s and '60s to his first artistic and academic home."

In 1950, Ken Lochhead, a 24-year old Ottawa-based painter was invited by Dr. William Riddell, Dean of Regina College (now the University of Regina), to interview for the role of Director of Art. Lochhead would spend 14 years with the University in this role working at College Avenue Campus teaching hundreds of students - including the late Joe Fafard - and creating some of his most influential work.

The six-decade long career of one of Canada's most celebrated artists included bringing renowned artists to Saskatchewan through the University's Emma Lake Professional Artists' Workshops, helping to start the Norman MacKenzie Art Gallery in 1953, and generating international attention for Regina's art scene as a member of the Regina Five.

Ken, an Officer of the Order of Canada, would also have hundreds of national and international commissions and exhibitions, and receive an honorary degree from the U of R in 2001. Sadly, he passed away in 2006. The Lochhead family, however, has kept his memory and relationship with the U of R alive through their acts of generosity.

Joanne Lochhead, wife of the late Ken Lochhead, has remained close to the U of R for many years. She has coordinated several gifts of art on her family's behalf, and regularly attends U of R alumni events in her hometown of Ottawa. Joanne Lochhead was on hand for the gift announcement, noting how happy she was to share her husband's work with our community.

"The time Ken spent here in Regina helped shape him as a person and as an artist, so to have this collection come home means so much to our family," said Lochhead.

Several pieces from the collection are proudly displayed at the University's campuses, ensuring that Lochhead's legacy will continue for generations.

"A gentleman, and a true Canadian treasure, and it is an honour for us to be able to display Ken's works on the very campus where he worked for the first part of his long and distinguished career as an artist and educator," said Timmons.

A reception was held at the President's Residence later in the day to honour the Lochhead family and celebrate their gift to the University.


Learn more about the life and work of Ken Lochhead

Learn more about the President's Art Collection

View the catalogue for the exhibition, Colour is of the Senses (7 MB)PDF icon currently on display at the President's Residence