More than 100 works by iconic Canadian painter Alex Colville are on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario beginning this week in the largest exhibition ever of the late artist's work.

Doors open to the public Saturday, the day before what would have been the artist's 94th birthday.

Colville, who died last July in his home in Wolfville, N.S., is known for his moody and hyper-realist creations. He painted personal subject matter, drawing inspiration from the world around him.

A veteran of the Second World War, Colville painted Allied activities throughout Europe. He was also made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1982 and won a Governor General's Visual and Media Arts Award in 2003.

Curators gathered pieces spanning Colville's entire career, such as the famed paintings, from museums and private collections. 

The AGO retrospective spans Colville's entire career with pieces such as the famed paintings Horse and Train, To Prince Edward Island and Woman in Bathtub. Gathered from museums and private collections, many of the pieces have never been shown publicly.


Alex Colville was born in Toronto in 1920. He died at home in Wolfville, N.S., on July 16 2013. He was 92.

The exhibition will also pair Colville's works with those of pop culture figures who were inspired by the painter, including filmmakers Sarah Polley and Stanley Kubrick, artists Itee Pootoogook and Mary Pratt, and Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro.

It's not the first time Colville's paintings have been featured at the AGO. The gallery held a retrospective of his works in 1983 that subsequently travelled to six galleries in Canada and Germany.

The show runs until Jan. 4, 2015.