Art collector, philanthropist bequeaths $1.1-million to Victoria gallery
The late Rosita Tovell posthumously donated $1.1-million for the Greater Victoria Art Gallery, the largest such donation the gallery has ever received. (Courtesy Greater Victoria Art Gallery)
The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria has received its largest bequest ever from an art lover and philanthropist.
Rosita Tovell left a whopping $1.1-million for the gallery, and also donated more than 100 pieces from her personal art collection.
A special gathering was held at the art gallery Wednesday to announce the donation and honour Tovell, who was a passionate arts advocate and spent decades as a gallery volunteer and donor.
“I’m very proud of what my mother has done for the gallery and how the gallery has received her works,” said Rosemarie Tovell, Rosita’s daughter. “She liked the whole idea that this is a way of letting the public know what wonderful, creative people we had in our world.”
The gallery will use the money for art collections, programming and exhibitions.
“The gallery’s going through some renovations, we’re going to be building a new section and new galleries, so they’re going to look absolutely incredible,” said director Jon Tupper. “And it means that we can do shows that look equally incredible in the galleries with this donation.”
Rosemarie said her mother collected much of her art directly from artists she knew personally. She passed away at her Victoria home in June 2014.
The gallery, which opened in 1951, now houses nearly 20,000 works and has been referred to as the largest public collection in B.C.