Sir William Van Horne (1843–1915), a gifted connoisseur most famously associated with the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway, amassed of one of the most extensive collections of Japanese ceramics in North America. Obsession is an illuminating account of the how and why behind his passion for studying and acquiring nearly 1,200 objects. Ron Graham assembles a profile of Van Horne's larger-than-life personality as well as essays about his place at the top of the art collectors in Montreal's Golden Square Mile and the afterlife of his collection following his death. Accompanying the texts are historical photographs and documents, a detailed catalogue of over three hundred individual pieces in the Royal Ontario Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and a selection of beautiful reproductions of Van Horne's personal notebooks and exquisite watercolours from the archives of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Published in conjunction with a major exhibition at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Obsession presents a remarkable collection in the context of the life and career of a nineteenth-century Canadian business giant.
Ron Graham is a Toronto-based author, journalist, and curator.