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Early to modern international art

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part of MMFA's International Art collection located at the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace
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In its size, variety and quality, the MMFA’s international art collection is unique in Quebec and one of the three largest in Canada.

On display in the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, inaugurated in 2016, it is a powerful, in-depth reflection of the highlights of civilization. The works of the Hornstein gift, as well as Ben Weider’s Napoleonic collection, have been incorporated into the existing collection both chronologically and thematically, in a fluid and logical manner, in the pavilion’s presentation of 750 international artworks on four levels.

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace was named in honour of these generous benefactors, a couple who survived the Holocaust and made Montreal their home. Major Quebec and Canadian philanthropists, their exceptional gift to the MMFA of one hundred Old Master paintings, which considerably enriched its collection of international art, is the largest private donation made to a Quebec museum in modern history.

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1 Photo © Marc Cramer
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Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Evening on the Terrace (Morocco), 1879, oil on canvas, 123 x 198.5 cm. Gift of Lord Strathcona and family.

Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant, Evening on the Terrace (Morocco), 1879, oil on canvas, 123 x 198.5 cm. Gift of Lord Strathcona and family.

From the Middle Ages to Modern Art

1380
1475
1584
1610
1635
1663
1726
1781
1812
1820
1865
1879
1937
1957
1971
2015
Discover centuries of art

The Middle Ages, from the Romanesque to the Gothic

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 4

Photo © Marc Cramer

This section comprises various religious and decorative objects (ecclesiastical pieces, candlesticks, patens, caskets, works in tempera, plaques, architectural fragments and stained glass), mostly created by unknown makers from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries in France, Spain, England, Italy and Russia.

Hans Memling, Portrait of a Man, about 1480 or later, oil on wood, 33.4 x 22.8 cm. Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest and William Gilman Cheney Bequest.

Hans Memling, Portrait of a Man, about 1480 or later, oil on wood, 33.4 x 22.8 cm.
Purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest and William Gilman Cheney Bequest.

From the Gothic to the Renaissance

Italian Gothic art faithfully reflects a respect for and deep understanding of classical sculpture.

This period, which coincided with the rise of universities, international trade and, consequently, a middle class, also saw the development of secular art and the earliest modern portraits.

Among the works in the collection are:

Two tempera works on panel on the subject of the Virgin and Child by Giovanni del Biondo and Andrea di Bartolo

Portrait of a Man (about 1480), by Hans Memling

Renaissance Art

The origins of what is generally referred to as the Renaissance style go back to the early fifteenth century in Florence, Italy. It is characterized by the strong influence of classical Greek and Roman art enriched by naturalism and the individualized expression of feeling inherited from the late Gothic period.

Among the works in the collection are:

Virgin and Child with Saint Michael and Saint Blaise (about 1475),
by Neri di Bicci

Portrait of a Man of the House of Leiva (about 1580-1585), by El Greco

Christ Crowned with Thorns (about 1584-1585), by Veronese

Portrait of a Member of the Foscari Family (about 1555-1560), by Tintoretto

Renaissance Bronzes and Medallions

The popularity enjoyed by small bronzes and medallions among Italian collectors during the Renaissance testifies to the renewed interest in the classical world.

Among the works in the collection are:

The Adoration of the Magi (1490), by Galeazzo Mondella, called Moderno

Jesus Among the Doctors of the Law (about 1532), by Valerio Belli

Satyr (n.d.), by Pietro Tacca

Mercury (n.d.), by Alessandro Vittoria

Mannerism

Later on in the sixteenth century, artists still looked back to works of the past, from classical antiquity to the more recent creations of Michelangelo and Raphael. Unlike Renaissance art, however, Mannerism placed less importance on the natural world and abandoned the exploration of feeling.

Among the works in the collection are:

Five painted works, including two oils on panel by the Flemish artist Hendrick de Clerck depicting the same subject, Moses Striking the Rock (about 1610).

The Golden Age – The Baroque and Classicism

Caravaggism

During the first half of the seventeenth century, the style of the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, known as Caravaggio (1571-1610), revolutionized painting in Europe in terms of both form and iconography.

Among the works in the collection are:

The Duet (1623-1624), by Gerrit van Honthorst

Salomé with the Head of John the Baptist (about 1700), by Godfried Schalcken

Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery (about 1630-1633), by Matthias Stom

Tobit Blessing Tobias (about 1660), by Mattia Preti

Eratosthenes Teaching in Alexandria (about 1635), by Bernardo Strozzi

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 2

Photo © Marc Cramer

Baroque Art

The Baroque movement embraced Classicism as well as the theatrical realism of Caravaggio and his emulators, along with the naturalism of Flemish painters.

Among the works in the collection are:

Still Life of Game and Dogs (about 1600), by Pieter Boel

Southern Landscape with Travellers (about 1645-1650), by Jan Both

River Landscape with a Ferry (about 1650), by Jan Baptist Weenix

The Bleaching Grounds at Haarlem (about 1670), by Jacob van Ruisdael

Harvest Scene (about 1625-1630), by Abraham Bloemaert

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 3

Photo © Marc Cramer

The Dutch Golden Age

The “Golden Age” saw a proliferation of painting genres and specialization by artists.

Among the works in the collection are:

Still lifes such as Young Girl with Still Life (about 1620), by Floris van Schooten and Still Life with Candlestick (between 1660 and 1685), by Pieter van Roestraten.

Scenes from daily life by Emanuel de Witte, Interior with a Woman Playing a Virginal (about 1660-1667), and Jacob Duck, Interior of an Inn with a Cavalier and a Sleeping Woman (about 1645).

Portraits by Gerard ter Borch, Portrait of a Lady (about 1676-1677) and by Rembrandt, Portrait of a Young Woman (about 1688), as well as by the latter’s pupil Nicolaes Maes, The Adoration of the Shepherds (1658).

France and Classicism

Unlike the Baroque art contemporary to it, Classicism advocated clarity and order. The classical world was the model for grandeur and the city of Rome an obligatory destination for many French artists.

Among the works in the collection are:

Landscape with Swineherd (1648), by Laurent de La Hyre

Roman Senators and Legates (1645-1655), by Jean Lemaire

The Tribute Money (1663-1665), by Philippe de Champaigne

The Daughters of Helios Searching for Their Brother Phaeton (1658), by Claude Lorrain

Landscape with Classical Ruins (about 1635), by Sébastien Bourdon

Landscape with a Man Pursued by a Snake (1637-1639), by Nicolas Poussin

The Enlightenment and the Empire Gallery

Rococo

The term “Rococo” results from the blending of the Italian word for Baroque, barocco, and the French rocaille, a kind of decoration using shells and pebbles that was very popular in the eighteenth century.

Among the works in the collection are:

The Assumption of the Virgin (about 1758-1760), by François Boucher

Portrait of a Woman as Astrea (about 1710-1712), by Nicolas de Largillierre

Apelles Painting the Portrait of Campaspe (about 1726), by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Neoclassicism

In the second half of the eighteenth century, the archaeological excavations in ancient Herculaneum and Pompeii sparked a mania for all things classical across Europe.

Among the works in the collection are:

Portrait of Madame Mercier (about 1780), by Jean-Baptiste Greuze

Young Girls Dancing Around an Obelisk (1798), by Hubert Robert

Forest Interior (1826), by Jean-Victor Bertin

Portrait of a Young Man Wearing a Red Cape and Large Hat (1795-1800), by François-Xavier Fabre

British Portraiture

The portrait was one of the most popular genres of painting during the Rococo period and was particularly fashionable in eighteenth-century Great Britain.

Among the works in the collection are:

Portrait of a Young Woman in a Turban, Holding a Letter (about 1760-1765), by Joshua Reynolds

Portrait of John Elliot (about 1785-1790), by John Opie

Portrait of Mr. D. (about 1790), by Henry Raeburn

Portrait of Mrs. George Drummond (1779-1782), by Thomas Gainsborough

Portrait of Mrs. Anthony Wright (1781), by George Romney

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 2, Photo © Marc Cramer

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 2

Photo © Marc Cramer

The Empire Gallery

The Empire Gallery displays some hundred highly coveted works related to Napoleon and his era—silverware, furniture, fine arts and personal items—that came to the Museum thanks to the gift of the collection of the Montreal patron of the arts Ben Weider.

Among the works in the collection are:

A travel writing case (1805)

One of the Emperor’s cocked hats, worn during the Russian campaign (1812)

From Romanticism to the Belle Époque

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1, Photo © Marc Cramer

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1

Photo © Marc Cramer

The Romantic Sentiment

The Romantic movement produced picturesque works with a wealth of historical detail. First appearing in England and Germany in the late eighteenth century, the mal du siècle or malady of the century, in the words of Alfred de Musset, spread across Europe following the excesses of the Napoleonic adventure.

Among the works in the collection are:

Francis I in Benvenuto Cellini’s Studio (1820-1830), by Alexandre Évariste Fragonard

Charity (1850), by Henri Leys

Landscape (with Sea) (about 1820-1830), by Georges Michel

Brittany Coast Scene (Saint-Malo) (1860), by Eugène Isabey

Young Woman Weeping at a Stela, or Remembrance (1840), by Théodore Chassériau

Ludmila Komar, Princess of Beauvau-Craon (1849), by Paul Delaroche

Leda and the Swan (about 1850), by Jean-Jacques Feuchère

Forever!! Never!! (1860), by Pierre-Eugène-Émile Hébert

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1 Photo © Marc Cramer

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1

Photo © Marc Cramer

Orientalism

Orientalism developed as an art movement following Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign in 1798 and particularly in the nineteenth century, a time of European conquest and colonization of North Africa and the Middle East. The first generation of Romantic artists, represented in this section by works by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps and Eugène Fromentin, dreamed of finding in the East an ancient world exalted by the vivid colours of the exotic, while the second generation, paying closer attention to ethnological accuracy, sometimes fell into the trap of a facile “bazaar Orientalism."

Among the works in the collection are:

Evening on the Terrace (Morocco) (1879), by Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant

Entrance to the Bazaar, Cairo (1880-1890), by Alberto Pasini

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1, Photo © Marc Cramer

The Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace - Level 1

Photo © Marc Cramer

The Realists

Neither copying others nor following convention, the “painters of reality” depicted contemporary subjects according to their individual viewpoints. The works shown here by Gustave Courbet, Aimé-Jules Dalou and Honoré Daumier demonstrate the new attention artists paid to working people, sometimes with an underlying republican political intent. Their style was characterized by an extensive use of black.

Among the works in the collection are:

Still Life (about 1870), by François Bonvin

The Brook of the Black Well (about 1855), by Gustave Courbet

Peonies (1876), by Henri Fantin-Latour

The Morning Wash (The Children’s Home) (about 1863), by Théodule Ribot

Eugène Boudin, A Squall, 1885, oil on canvas, 65.2 x 90.3 cm. Dr. Francis J. Shepherd Bequest.

Eugène Boudin, A Squall, 1885, oil on canvas, 65.2 x 90.3 cm. Dr. Francis J. Shepherd Bequest.

The Barbizon School

On the edge of the Forest of Fontainebleau, not far from Paris, a group of artists painted out in the open air, a practice made possible by new technical developments, in particular tubes of paint. Inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch landscape artists, they founded a “modern school of landscape” that paved the way for Impressionism. They portrayed a simple, at times nostalgic, view of rural life, at a remove from the drawbacks of a newly industrializing urban society.

Among the works in the collection are:

L’île heureuse (about 1865-1868), by Camille Corot

Moonrise at Auvers (1877), by Charles François Daubigny

Côte d’Azur Landscape (1865), by Henri-Joseph Harpignies

Landscape with Sheep (after 1848), by Charles-Émile Jacques

From Daumier to Picasso – Impressionism and Modern Art

Pablo Picasso, Embrace, 1971, oil on canvas, 195 x 130 cm. Gift of Jacqueline Picasso.

Pablo Picasso, Embrace, 1971, oil on canvas, 195 x 130 cm. Gift of Jacqueline Picasso.

The strength of the collection lies in a number of works executed in Paris, the cradle of modern art, and others relating to German Expressionism.

Among the artists represented are:

Paul Cézanne

Gustave Courbet

Salvador Dalí

Honoré Daumier

André Derain

Alberto Giacometti

Wassily Kandinsky

Henri Matisse

Joan Miró

Claude Monet

Pablo Picasso

Auguste Rodin

Alfred Sisley

Provenance research

To facilitate the location of artworks spoliated during World War II, the Museum maintains an up-to-date register of all works with incomplete provenance records for the years 1933 to 1945. Bronze sculptures cast in large unnumbered editions have been withdrawn from the list.

Access the registerAccess the register
Archives -2-archives-5

Visit the collection in the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace.

Please note that the works shown on this page may not necessarily be currently on view in the galleries.

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