Collections

The Museum’s rich collections are divided into six major sections distributed among the four pavilions of the Museum complex, each of which focusses on a particularly strong aspect of the holdings.

Today, 154 years after its founding, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is more forward-looking than ever! This institution is not a government-run museum, but relies on generous patrons for the expansion of its encyclopedic heritage collection, which has risen to a historic total of 41,000 works.

The Museum’s collections were studied and reinstalled in 2001 and again in 2011, prior to the opening of the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion of Quebec and Canadian Art. In the wake of this new expansion, the MMFA will undergo a major transformation. Thousands of works will be moved and reinstalled in the various pavilions, in a domino effect generated by the advent of a fifth pavilion. They will be displayed in spectacular exhibition spaces where visitors will be able to admire the Museum’s masterpieces from a new viewpoint.

This web page was created to provide an overview of the collection. Please note that it is impossible to present the entire collection at once. For that reason, the works shown here are not necessarily on display at the present time.

restaurer-valentinValentin de Boulogne
Conservation Project

Conservation of Abraham Sacrificing Isaac work of Valentin de Boulogne. View our page to learn how the Museum cares for the paintings in its collection.

Our publications

Archaeology and World Cultures

Archéologie et Culture du Monde

Tutelary figures, masks, ritual and decorative arts objects, textiles… The Museum’s encyclopedic holdings reflect the diversity and splendour of the world’s artistic heritage (Egyptian, Greco-Roman, African, Oceanic, pre-Columbian, Islamic and Asian arts). Many of these pieces are the result of judicious acquisitions by F. Cleveland Morgan, the Museum’s volunteer curator from 1916 to 1962.

Early to Modern International Art

Art International Ancien et Moderne

In its size, variety and quality, the MMFA’s collection of international art from Old Masters to modern art is unique in Quebec and one of the three largest in Canada. In addition to encompassing the history of art, the collection reflects the great generosity of collectors and the hard work of our curators, who tirelessly seek out works to add to this remarkable collection.

Quebec and Canadian Art

Art québécois et canadien

Since it was founded in 1860, the Museum has built up an outstanding collection of Quebec and Canadian art comprising almost 3,000 works, including some 500 Inuit pieces and 180 Amerindian artifacts. The Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, inaugurated in 2011, is devoted to this collection.

International Contemporary Art

Art Contemporain International

The MMFA accords great importance to contemporary art, both in its galleries and also in its programming and acquisitions. Its exhibition spaces present works by local, Canadian and international artists executed between 1980 and the present day: abstract and figurative paintings, multimedia installations, minimalist and monumental sculptures all reflect the issues of our times.

Decorative Arts and Design

Art décoratifs et design

The collection of decorative arts was launched in 1916 under the aegis of F. Cleveland Morgan, the Museum’s volunteer curator for many decades, who saw it as his vocation to collect “all the objects that could contribute to the education of designers as well as craftsmen.” It was he who established the Museum’s encyclopedic character.

Graphic Arts and Photography

Art graphique et photographique

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts possesses one of the finest collections of graphic arts in Canada, composed of prints, drawings and photographs that together cover over five centuries of creativity and include masterpieces by a vast number of artists representing the history of art in Europe and North America.