The MMFA's collection of international art, from the Old Masters to Modern Art, by virtue of its size, diversity and quality, is the only one of its kind in Quebec. It features works by Boucher, Bouguereau, Brueghel the Younger, Calder, Canaletto, Claude, Courbet, Dalí, Daumier, Derain, de Witte, Dix, El Greco, Fantin-Latour, Gainsborough, Goya, Largillierre, Mantegna, Matisse, Miró, Monet, Picasso, Poussin, Rembrandt, Renoir, Rodin, Sisley, Ter Borch, Tiepolo, Tissot, Van Dongen and Veronese, among others. One of the top three collections of its kind in Canada, it reveals not only the history of art, but also the great generosity of collectors and the efforts of curators, who have continued to search out works to continue to enhance this remarkable collection.
An Eloquent Installation to Showcase a Major Collection
Designed in 2011, in collaboration with the Montreal architecture firm Architem, the gallery circuit covers three levels, showcasing 360 works from the Old Masters to modern art. This chronologically arranged layout provides an overview of the major movements in the history of art and features all pictorial genres – religious paintings, history paintings, portraits, landscapes and still lifes, etc. Recent major acquisitions, particularly sculptures, are on display in these galleries, which are open to the public free of charge at all times. All of the works are accompanied by gallery texts and labels enriched by new research.
Level 4: From the Middle Ages to the Belle Époque
These galleries feature the following themes: The Middle Ages, from Romanesque to Gothic Art, From Gothic Art to the Renaissance, Mannerism, Caravaggism, Vanitas, Baroque Art, the Dutch Golden Age, France and Classicism, The Rococo, Neoclassicism, British Portraiture, Romanticism, Academic Art and Orientalism.
Level 3: Napoleon: Gift of the Ben Weider Collection
Created thanks to the gift of the collection of Montreal patron Ben Weider, the Empire Gallery, inaugurated in 2008, displays some 100 works relating to Napoleon and his era (silverware, furniture, works of art and personal artifacts). This major collection, the only one of its kind in North America, includes a writing case (after 1805) and a cocked hat worn by the emperor – the one from the Russian campaign (1812). A number of these objects are the envy of international museums.
Level 1: Modern Art, from Daumier to Picasso
These galleries provide a chronological overview from the mid-19th century, with the Barbizon, The Hague and Impressionist schools, to the formal pluralism of modern art in the 20th century.
The presence of music in the galleries has been common practice at the Museum since 2009, when Nathalie Bondil first introduced it to accompany the exhibition Van Dongen: Painting the Town Fauve and then Tiffany Glass: A Passion for Colour and J. W. Waterhouse: Garden of Enchantment, both presented in 2010.
Just as with the audioguide for the collection of Quebec and Canadian art, this commented musical stroll echoes the visual aesthetic experienced by the listener-visitor. This MMFA-designed audioguide not only provides the visitor with the pleasure of hearing music from different eras, it offers an extension of the visual experience.
A New Publication
In 2013, the MMFA will release World Cultures and Fine Arts, produced under the general editorship of Nathalie Bondil. This, the third and final volume of scholarly publications dedicated to the Museum's collection, features some 775 works and objects, some of which are being published for the first time. Richly illustrated entries by 30 international specialists, including Museum curators and other art historians, examine works of Egyptian, Mediterranean, Islamic, African, Chinese, Japanese, Oceanic and pre-Columbian art, as well as the Museum's collection of international art, from the Middle Ages to today. (24.5 x 35 cm, 450 pages including 1,000 colour reproductions, hardcover, available in French or English)
Available at the Boutique-Bookstore