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The Cowansville Art Centre and the Bruck-Lee Collection

Color painting representing an impressionistic way of an autumn landscape with a fence in the foreground.

Autumn, painting by Sarah Robertson, Bruck-Lee Collection

A cultural hub
The Cowansville Art Center is inaugurated in the Bruck House on July 21, 1956. It is co-founded by Gerald Bruck, president of Bruck Mills, and Eugenie Sharp Lee, the wife of his vice president and general manager, Leopold Lee. The centre’s mission is to promote fine arts in the community and the Brome-Missisquoi region. The centre hosts numerous exhibitions, concerts and theme days as well as conferences and art workshops, such as those given by the artist couple Raymonde and Léon Plomteux.

Black and white photo of a lady (Eugenie Lee) surrounded by four men with a framed work in the center.

Vernissage at the Cowansville Art Centre, 1968

Until its closure in 1979, the Cowansville Art Centre highlights the regional and national artistic heritage and contributes to the education and influence of art that still enliven the Brome-Missisquoi region today.

Portrait of a young woman in pastel signed Geof Watkins lower left.

Portrait of Margot Maddocks, President

A unique collection
The Bruck-Lee Collection
distinguishes itself through its affiliation with the Cowansville Art Centre, which from the 1950s to the late 1970s was a prestigious cultural hub. Through the years and under the presidencies of Eugenie Sharp Lee and Margot Maddocks, the centre builds a significant collection of art, primarily paintings and a few sculptures. The Bruck-Lee Collection, named after the centre’s two co-founders, includes more than 80 works dating from 1891 to 1980. Several are from very famous painters: A. Y. Jackson, a founding member of the Group of Seven; Prudence Heward, Sarah Robertson, Anne Savage, Nora Collyer and Ethel Seath are associated with the Beaver Hall Group, established in 1920 by artists in Montréal; Suzanne Meloche, wife of painter Marcel Barbeau, is associated with the Refus global movement; William Brymner and several others with works in the collection are members of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Temporarily withdrawn after the sale of the Bruck company in 1979, the collection is again exhibited at the Bruck House in 1987 by the Comité de la culture de Cowansville and again in 2006, during the 50th anniversary of the art centre.

Promotional brochure for the 50th anniversary of the Cowansville art Center with images of several of the paintings on display.

Brochure for the 50th anniversary of the art centre, 2006