The Art Gallery's Permanent Collection

Welcome to the Collection

Over the years, the Library has acquired a collection of high quality fine art that's sure to delight, intrigue and inspire. We introduce you here to our most prominent pieces and invite you to appreciate them more fully the next time you visit us in person.

Panel of Knowledge: Tyee Salmon and EulachonSch’etxw tl’a snewíyelh: Kwu7s iy S7áynixw / Panel of Knowledge: Tyee Salmon and Eulachon by Halikium/Wade Baker; Waterjet cut and hand polished aluminum.
Location: McDonald Creek Meeting Room 

Descended from ancient Skwxwú7mesh/Squamish, xwmə0kwəy̓m/ Musqueam, Kwakwaka’wakw/Kwakiutl and Tlingit nobility, Halikium/Wade Baker inherited a rich artistic legacy. This work of art is created through the time-honoured traditions and stories of the Coast Salish Peoples, passed down to him through tribal lineage and oral storytelling. 

The Coast Salish Peoples revere all living things within their lands and waters. This art panel depicts both male (hooked nose) and female Tyee salmon swimming in unison with a school of eulachon smelt. The Tyee, translated as “the Chief,” represents the community’s knowledge keepers as they guide and mentor the eulachon, which represent the learners. The eulachon have long been a symbol of prosperity, as they feed the salmon and are thus essential to the life of the community. In fact, in many areas, the eulachon returned at a time of year when other food supplies were scarce, making them second only to salmon in importance as a source of food and trade. Beyond this, the eulachon oil is harvested to provide candlelight for storytelling—the transfer of knowledge between elders and the younger generation. 

Powerful teachings are embedded within the stories and artistic elements of the Coast Salish Peoples. Panel of Knowledge: Tyee Salmon and Eulachon is inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds the nearby Ch’tl’am Swa7lt/McDonald Creek and the Library—a gathering place for learners and knowledge keepers in the community. 

Funding for this art commission generously provided by the WVML Friends of the Library.

Mr. & Mrs. Plumtree, by Barbara Spring; Woodcarving.
Location: Main Hall.

First acquired in 1977, Mrs. Plumtree and her husband Carver Plumtree greet everyone at the Library door. Young children, in particular, make fast friends with these folksy wood sculptures, holding their hands, nattering away at them, and even taking a curious peek under Mrs. Plumtree's dress—which the American artist created from an old dress coated in resin and fibreglass. Both Plumtrees are part of the West Vancouver Public Art Inventory Collection.

These wooden sculptures have called the Library home since they were created at the Wood Sculpture of the Americas Symposium, held in West Vancouver, in 1977. The work of acclaimed American wood carver Barbara Spring (1917 – 2011), they have become important fixtures at the Library for newcomers and longstanding patrons alike. 

In 2015 Mr. and Mrs. Plumtree were restored by Straight Line Designs. The West Vancouver Public Art Advisory committee approved funding for the restoration and facilitated the work to return these sculptures to a condition which allows for their continued presence at the Library. (Five degraded wooden bicycles that were also part of the 1977 Wood Sculpture of the Americas Symposium were also restored to near mint condition and are on display at the West Vancouver Community Centre.)   

Barbara Spring was born in Essex, England in 1917. At the end of the Second World War, during which she served in the Women’s Royal Air Force, she emigrated to the U.S. as a war bride. She and her husband moved to Big Sur, California in the early 1970s where Barbara remained until her death in 2011. Barbara was a talented and widely respected wood carver whose work was exhibited extensively. Barbara Spring is considered one of the leading artists from the San Francisco Bay Region Art Movement during the 1960s and 70s.

Harmony, by John Henry Dearle; Stained glass window. 
Location: Main Hall.

In 1931, Henry Stone, a founder of the Vancouver Art Gallery, and his wife Beatrice commissioned John Henry Dearle, master craftsman and chief designer for the London firm Morris & Co., to create this breathtaking reproduction of Sir Frank Dicksee's painting, "Harmony," as a memorial to their son, Lieut. Horace Gordon Stone, who died in active service in 1918. The Art Gallery displayed the window until the Second World War, when it was removed for safekeeping. After the war, the window was given to Lieut. Stone's sister, Mrs. Allan S. Gentles. When the West Vancouver Memorial Library was constructed in 1950 as a memorial to honour those who gave their lives during World War II, Mrs. Gentles presented the Library with the window, which has been a prominent feature of our building ever since.

DiskobolosDiskobolos, by Myron (replica); Stone sculpture.
Location: Main Floor.

Those looking for a large print book, enjoying the Musto Lounge, or quietly studying can see a reproduction of Myron's "Diskabolos" ("Discus Thrower"), a famous Greek sculpture circa 450 BC known for its harmony and balance. Made of composite alabaster, this hand-finished piece was donated to the District of West Vancouver in 1973 by Nick Kogos.

Spring—Just Around the Corner and The Old Rail Fence, by Franz Johnston; Paintings.
Location: Main Floor, Musto Lounge.

Johnston is one of the original Group of Seven. Donated to the Library in memory of Herbert and Thelma Jamieson, his atmospheric watercolours depict a truly Canadian landscape. You'll find them on the pillar near the Assistive Services office.


Point Atkinson Lighthouse, by D. M. Flather; Painting.
Location: Peter J. Peters Room. 

The next time you relax with a magazine or newspaper in the Peters Reading Room, take a moment to enjoy the oil painting above the fireplace--arguably one of Flather's finest works, painted in the late 1930s.

The Off-Site Collection

Among other drawings, paintings, sculptures, collages and tapestries, The West Vancouver Memorial Library's permanent art collection also includes two watercolours by Emily Carr—The Chinese Gardener and Dead Man's Island—currently held in the archives of the West Vancouver Art Museum.

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