On behalf of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, we note with sadness the loss of Joseph Barnicke
His generosity led to the founding of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, in 1983, and our major renovations in 2010.
We remember him—his irrepressible stamina and wit, his generosity and convictions—with great fondness and respect.
Excerpt from page 55-56, A Strange Elation:
“The biggest challenge facing the [Hart House] Art Committee in the 1970s was delineated in an exhaustive report on the Hart House collection focusing on the condition of the works. Written by Canadian Conservation Institute conservator Elizabeth Phillimore in 1974, this report contained compelling evidence of the unacceptable risks the paintings were being subjected to as they hung throughout the House. After much debate, one of Phillimore’s was implemented, and 59 paintings, deemed national treasures, were sent on loan to the Art Gallery of Ontario.
It was always intended that they be returned to the House after completion of a space that would be designed and built to modern museum standards for security and environmental controls. No small feat. It would take six years and much effort and soul-searching on the part of Hart House members and staff, past and present, to accomplish.
Construction finally got under way in 1982. Much effort, especially on the part of the warden, to secure funding through private sources had met with success. The official opening of the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, named in memory of Joseph Barnicke’s late wife, was February 17, 1983. The event was marked with much ceremony. The many invited guests, current and past members of Hart House, gathered in the Great Hall as Lieutenant-Governor John Black Aird was pipped in. William Davis, premier of Ontario, presided over the ceremonies. Hart House members welcomed back the famous 59 paintings to their new home with great relief and joy.”