ABOUT ZACKS GALLERY
The Samuel J. Zacks Gallery was established in 1972 by the internationally renowned Canadian/Israeli art collector Ayala Zacks-Abramov, in the name of her late husband. The gallery is situated on York University's Keele Campus and affiliated with Stong College, whose students study in areas as diverse as the health sciences and creative writing. Influenced by the array of perspectives of its visitors, the gallery's programming focuses on serving the entire community by displaying exhibitions that are captivating, thought-provoking, and accessible.
Sam and Ayala Zacks were prominent Canadian art collectors of international repute active in the mid-20th century, whose gifts form the basis of the modern European art collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Ayala Ben Tovim Fleg Zacks Abramov (1912-2011) was born in Jerusalem and educated in Israel, Paris and London. In 1938 she married Maurice Fleg in Paris, and joined the French Resistance after her husband died in action in 1940. Active in Zionist circles after the war, she met Sam Zacks in Switzerland. Samuel J. Zacks (1904-1970) was a financier, Zionist and art collector, born in Kingston, Ontario and educated at Queen’s University and Harvard. Following their marriage in 1947, they immediately began to collect art of the School of Paris as well as Canadian and Israeli art and antiquities, amassing an extensive collection by the late 1950’s that was in continual demand by museums around the world. In 1956, a collection of Canadian art was donated to Queen’s University, the first of many significant gifts to institutions in Israel and Canada including the Hazor Archaeological Museum, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Israel Museum, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Mr. and Mrs. Zacks were both involved in international art circles, sitting on the Boards of the International Committee of Museums (ICOM), a branch of UNESCO, the International Committee of the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Gallery of Ontario and others. In 1969 Mr. Zacks received an Honourary Fellowship from St. Peter’s College, Oxford. He died in 1970 in Toronto. In 1971, Ayala was awarded the Order of Canada and an honourary degree from the University of Toronto and in 1972, she established the Samuel J. Zacks Gallery at York University in memory of her late husband and his good work. She married Zalman Abramov, an Israeli lawyer and politician, in 1976 and moved permanently to Israel in 1982. She died in Jerusalem in 2011.
-From the AGO's Sam and Ayala Zacks Fonds, prepared by Sylvia Lassam (2003)