In 1964 Dofasco unveiled a state of the art office
building, that according to a press release, included
a “display of steel in design and colour unequalled
anywhere in Canada.” While steel truly was the
centrepiece, company executives also shone a light
on original Canadian artwork to decorate the walls of
the new headquarters. This first artistic acquisition
included 12 key paintings and was the beginning
of what would become a significant Canadian
art collection.
The first works came on recommendation of the Art
Gallery of Hamilton. In later years the collection grew,
gracing the walls through halls and offices, bringing
Canadian figurative, landscape and even some
abstract personality to work spaces.
The original works include oil paintings covering a
wide range of styles from contemporary abstract
to the Group of Seven, woodcuts, two sculptures
in steel as well as a mural on vitreous enamelling
steel depicting the oxygen steelmaking plant in an
abstract, impressionist style. Later, the collection
grew to include works from a broad timeline and
diverse range of styles, although the curators had a
strong bent for figurative works and landscapes.
Given the steel walls of the office, a custom
magnetic hanging solution was developed in various
sizes and weights to accommodate even the largest
of works. The acquisitions were by both well known
and emerging artists, some of the work appreciating
significantly in value and in critical acclaim.
F.H. Sherman ensured the country was covered from
coast to coast with stops at galleries and studios
to identify new pieces for the collection. The focus
remained on Canadian art and rising Canadian artists.
For a time, reprints of the more significant works
were run as centrefolds in the company’s Illustrated
News magazine. If readers wanted a lithograph
print, they needed only to ask and the company
would provide one. Pieces of the collection were
often loaned for exhibitions in the region at smaller
galleries, while for a period of two years, some of the
collection was displayed at the Calgary Petroleum
Club. Over a 30 year period, from the early 1960s
to the early 1990s, the collection grew to more than
Each piece of the ArcelorMittal Dofasco Canadian
art collection is catalogued on transparency
and in several volumes that include information
about the works, their creators and how they
were acquired.
Amassing a Canadian
art collection