The Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq has removed the name of former director Ferdinand Eckhardt from the gallery’s main entrance hall, website and promotional materials.  

Born in Vienna in 1902, Eckhardt studied art history, obtaining a doctorate from the University of Vienna before moving to Berlin. He was conscripted into the German army and served from 1942 to 1944 before immigrating to Canada in 1953. Shortly after arriving in Winnipeg, he was appointed director of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, serving in the role until 1974.  

Following his retirement, Eckhardt devoted most of his time to the awareness and promotion of his late-wife's music – Russian-born Canadian composer and virtuoso pianist and violinist Sophie Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatté, who died in 1974.  

He founded the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition for the Performance of Canadian Music in 1976 and, seven years later, launched the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation in support of the arts in Canada. 

A recent article published in a Canadian magazine alleges Eckhardt was a Nazi supporter while living in Germany in the 1930s.  

In response to the article, WAG-Qaumajuq has launched an internal investigation, according to a statement posted to their website.  

“The Gallery approached recent reports linking Eckhardt to the Nazi party with the utmost seriousness” said WAG-Qaumajuq Director & CEO Stephen Borys in the statement.  

Research into the provenance of Eckhardt and the Eckhardt-Gramatté Foundation donations is expected to take time, with updates being shared with the public.  

“This research starts with looking for any gaps in the artwork’s ownership during the Nazi era,” the statement says, noting that the research has been ongoing for several decades and that no gaps in ownership in the collection have been found thus far.  

Eckhardt died in Winnipeg on December 25, 1995.