Jim Burns Collection - Media Release

November 15, 2019

Sale of Jim and Barbara Burns art collection offers unique opportunities Burns’ private collection to be unveiled Dec. 8 at Mayberry Fine Art.

The extensive private art collection of revered Winnipeg businessman and philanthropist James (Jim) Burns and his wife Barbara Burns is being exhibited for sale by Mayberry Fine Art Gallery.

Barbara and Jim began collecting art in the 1960s. Their eclectic collection was displayed prominently in the Burns family home in Winnipeg.

The Burns’ three children – James, Martha and Alan -- made the decision to sell the collection and donate the proceeds to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation after their father’s passing last February.

The collection, with 35 works priced from $400 to $70,000, was professionally appraised at fair market value by Mayberry Fine Art.

Should the entire collection be purchased, some $300,000 will go to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. The Burns Foundation will add a $25,000 donation when sales reach $200,000, and another $25,000 in the event of a sell-out.

The Burns Collection sale offers the public a unique opportunity to own one of these valuable paintings while knowing each purchase represents a significant contribution to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation.

The Burns Collection will be on exhibit beginning Sunday, Dec. 8 from noon to 5 p.m. at Mayberry’s Winnipeg gallery - upper level (212 McDermot Ave.) in the Exchange District. The opening reception and exhibition continuing through Dec. 23 is open to the public. There is no cost to visit the gallery.

The Burns Collection exhibition coincides with Mayberry Fine Art’s annual Holiday show and sale featuring contemporary works by 20-plus Mayberry gallery artists.

One of the most intriguing items in the collection is John Little’s oil painting (circa 1978) depicting a backyard outdoor rink. On the back of the frame, the Quebec artist – and hockey fan -- printed the names of the four NHL Canadian division teams and players of the 1936-37 season. The work is priced at $48,000.

Three works by British painter Edward Seago, believed to be Queen Elizabeth’s favourite artist, are among the most valuable paintings in the collection.

About the Burns Collection

The Burns Collection includes paintings by prominent Canadian artists from coast to coast. Among the 35 works are three of the highest quality pieces by Newfoundland-born Robert Pilot and grand oil paintings by Vancouver native Molly Lamb Bobak.

Five of the artists, such as William Winter and Nicholas de Grandmaison, have Winnipeg connections.


About James and Barbara Burns

James W. (Jim) Burns became president of Great West Life Assurance Company in 1972. He was also Deputy Chairman of Power Corporation of Canada, the parent company of Great West Life.

Barbara (Copeland) Burns attained a Master degree in dietary science from the University of Minnesota and worked as a dietician at Deer Lodge Hospital before raising her family.

Throughout their lives, the philanthropic couple had a passion for giving back to Winnipeg and Manitoba.

Barbara was a proud supporter of the Health Sciences Foundation, the United Way, the Humane Society and Winnipeg’s cultural community. It was because of her interest in visual art that the couple began acquiring artwork, a passion that accelerated during the time the Burns lived in Montreal.

Jim contributed time and resources to numerous Winnipeg endeavours, including as a founding member of the Manitoba Museum and CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. He also funded the skateboard plaza at The Forks. In 2004, Jim created The Burns Foundation thereby ensuring his commitment to hometown giving would endure.

Jim passed away in February, 2019, at age 89. Barabra predeceased him in 2003 after a battle with cancer.

About CancerCare Manitoba Foundation

All funds raised and donated to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation remain in Manitoba supporting an internationally-recognized team of health professionals at CancerCare Manitoba who provide outstanding care to patients and their families living with a cancer diagnosis. Thanks to the generosity of donors, CancerCare Manitoba Foundation annually grants about $7 million to CancerCare Manitoba. This support funds leading-edge local research and vital patient programs, both of which profoundly impact patient outcomes.

About Mayberry Fine Art

Mayberry Fine Art, with galleries in Winnipeg and Toronto, represents a select group of contemporary Canadian artists in addition to its activity in the historical art market.