Fonds MG 559 - Zepp-Varga Collection

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Zepp-Varga Collection

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Reference code

MG 559

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  • [ca. 1940s] – 2015 (inclusive); 1981-2003 (predominant) (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

5.48 m of textual records and reference library, 3,273 slides, 1,448 photographs, 917 negatives, 13 digital images, 60 audio cassettes, 15 works of art on paper, 1 CD, equipment, 11 discs.

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Name of creator

Biographical history

Norman Zepp was raised on a farm near Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and earned his BA from the University of Saskatchewan. While at university, Zepp met his partner Judith Varga; and he bought his first piece of Inuit art. Zepp switched his major from Education to Art History; and went on to earn an MA in Art History from Carleton University, under the supervision of George Swinton, who remained a lifelong friend of Zepp and Varga. After earning his graduate degree, Zepp was curator of exhibitions at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, and director of the Thunder Bay National Exhibition Centre and Centre for Indian Art. In 1988, he was appointed curator of Inuit art for the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), where he remained until 1994. During that time, Zepp was instrumental in building the AGO Inuit collection, including helping to facilitate several major donations, including the Williamson and the Sarick collections. Following the AGO, Zepp worked in Vancouver prior to returning to Saskatoon. He remains one of Canada’s foremost experts on Inuit art.

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Scope and content

This collection primarily reflects Zepp’s interest in Inuit art and artists. It includes interviews with artists, images taken over the course of several years of the northern landscape, community and individuals. Importantly, Zepp and Varga spent time at fishing and hunting camps or in the homes of artists, and the resulting material reflects that friendship and intimate relationship. Material created or acquired during Zepp’s career as a curator is also evident, including a significant photo resource of Inuit art from major collections. The reference library is an uniquely complete set of articles and major works relating to Inuit art in Canada. Additionally, the collection includes material relating to a number of other artists, predominantly from Saskatchewan, whose work Zepp admired (in many instances, Zepp organized the first major exhibition of their work).

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There are no restrictions on access.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Copyright, where applicable, has been transferred to the University Archives & Special Collections.

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