Isabel Bader gifts Agnes Etherington Art Centre 12 new paintings

Daniel Bader receives plaque in recognition for family generosity

Suzanne van de Meerendonk shares vision on Studies in Solitude.

On Nov. 15, Queen’s celebrated its 80th annual Bader Day.

In celebration of the milestone, the Bader family, Alfred Bader, LLD ’86 and Isabel Bader, LLD ’07, gifted 12 paintings to Agnes Etherington Art Centre, nine Leica S9i microscopes, and funding for the Outdoor Gathering Space on campus.

The paintings are all from the Dutch 17th century, including still lifes, Biblical scenes, and scenes from daily life.

In honour of Bader Day, the University formally recognized the Bader family’s generosity with a plaque that will be displayed on to the Benefactor Wall in Stauffer library. 

“[Alfred Bader] began his traditional philanthropy in 1948, when he made his first gift. Alfred wasn’t a wealthy man,” Kate Bertrand, Vice-Principal (Advancement), said in a press conference.

“Today we celebrate all philanthropies, big and small. As Albert said, they are equally important, and I think the reason they are so important lies in their power to create.”

Daniel Bader, son of Alfred, accepted plaque on his father’s behalf.

“80 years ago, my father started studying at Queen’s University—he was a 17-year-old immigrant,” Bader said in an interview with The Journal

“Queens took a chance on him and gave him an opportunity. He did well here at Queen’s University, then went on to do well in business, and he decided to give back.”

Bader called the celebration a day of giving back to Queen’s and other students who find themselves in similar situations. While his family’s contributions will benefit the entire university community, he spoke on the importance of Indigenous development.

“[Indigenous culture] has not always been respected in a way it should have, and today, we see the University changing, how they understand and include the Indigenous culture into its programming […] and we’re just so proud to support that.”

When asked about the 12 new paintings donated to the Agnes, Bader said this is a “continuation” of a long family history.

“There’s always been this vision that Queen’s University would be a noble destination for European art, and we’re seeing that being created,” he said.

Bader said he hopes the Agnes will one day become a “highly acclaimed” world class art museum. 

“This is a wonderful continuation of the legacy of generosity from the Bader family,” said Suzanna van de Meerendonk, Bader Curator of European Art, in an interview with The Journal.

“Agnes is home to the Bader collection, which includes more than 200 paintings already, collected by Dr. Alfred Bader and gifted to Queen’s.”

Two of the gifted paintings unveiled at the Agnes are Young Scholar in His Study by Heyman Dullaert and A Woman Darning a Stocking by Jacobus Vrel.

During the interview, van de Meerendonk said she wanted to borrow Dullaert and Vrel’s work for the exhibition specifically to curate her vision behind the Studies in Solitude exhibit—largely inspired by the pandemic and lockdown.

She told The Journal she asked Isabel Bader to borrow some of these works from the private collection of the Bader Family in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“[Isabel Bader] agreed, and said she rather gift them and also asked me if there were other works in their private collection that I was interested to add to that gift,” van de Meerandonk said.


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