On October 13, during his visit to Canada, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls promoted Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, to Officier des arts et des lettres of France. Ms. Bondil holds dual French and Canadian citizenship. In addition, Jacques Parisien, Chairman of the MMFA’s Board of Trustees, announced that the Museum’s contract with Ms. Bondil, Director since 2007 and Chief Curator since 2000, has been extended for another five years.
“The MMFA is currently experiencing remarkable growth. Thanks to Nathalie Bondil’s resourcefulness and her ability to reinvent herself and go in new directions, it has joined the ranks of leading museums,” said Mr. Parisien. “Since her appointment as Director, the Museum has achieved great success. Just weeks before the opening of the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, which embodies her vision of a twenty-first century museum as a humanist and inclusive institution, the Board is delighted to see the MMFA again assert its leadership. We hope she will share her creativity and energy with us for many more years.”
Since Ms. Bondil’s appointment as Director General, the MMFA has enjoyed great success: doubling its annual attendance to one million people, making it the most visited museum in Canada two years in a row. By developing multidisciplinary exhibitions (music, fashion and world cultures) with a bold, scholarly approach and innovative exhibition designs, she has renewed and broadened the Museum’s audiences. By exporting its exhibitions (fifteen productions to twenty-nine cities), she has ensured their financial success and bolstered the MMFA’s international profile. By developing innovative educational, art therapy and community programmes, she has achieved a Canadian record for participation (300,000 people in 2015 and 207% growth in three years). By positioning the Museum as an engaged institution that is close to Montrealers, she has increased and retained members from 42,000 in 2013 to 107,000 (including 63,800 memberships), another Canadian record. By adding 8,472 works, or one-quarter of the collection, in ten years, she has enriched our collective heritage.
With the imminent opening of the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace, dedicated to international art and education, she has added two pavilions to the Museum complex in five years, since the opening of the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion for Quebec and Canadian Art, and nearly doubled the size of the Museum complex. She continues to supervise a major reinstallation of 7,000 works as well as overseeing research and new publications on the Museum’s encyclopedic collections.
“I’m thankful to the Board members for their confidence in me: none of these achievements would have been possible – and this is the truth – without their judicious support, without the excellence of our teams, without this inspiring country that brings out the best in me. In my life, people and projects have always come first. On one hand, what I have found here are talented professionals, a diverse citizenry and, above all, committed people; on the other, there is free enterprise, a swiftness of action and immense creative potential. These human and cultural qualities have always inspired me: in my adopted city of Montreal, in Quebec, where my cause – that of culture – is vitally important, and in Canada, where the future is being built on the values of tolerance and innovation. There is still much to do: we have many projects, and just as many ideas,” said Ms. Bondil.