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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.