It was with great sadness that the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts learned of the death of Roy L. Heenan on February 3rd. An emeritus lawyer and a giant in the field of Canadian law, Mr. Heenan was a passionate art lover, a major collector and patron whose unfailing support of the expansion of the MMFA’s Canadian and contemporary collections was much appreciated. His outstanding voluntary commitment to the institution testified to his love of the arts.
“His generosity to the Museum is a remarkable example of altruism. On behalf of the Board, I wish to salute Mr. Heenan’s wholehearted devotion to our institution. All our thoughts are with his family”, said Jacques Parisien, chairman of the board of trustees.
Nathalie Bondil, the Museum’s director and chief curator, recalls: “At the Museum, Roy was simply irresistible: his boundless joie de vivre, his insatiable curiosity and enthusiasm, kindness and humour, his delicacy and sensitivity combined with infinite patience and gentleness. But Roy also loved action, forever rushing off to contemporary art fairs, travelling all over, enthusiastically collecting pieces; he never stopped. We will soon be commemorating this great friend of the Museum, so that the Montreal public can learn about his eye for art, his tastes and his generosity.”
Since the 1880s Roy Heenan gave the Museum 34 20th-century works, paintings and graphic art, and also a number of modern sculptures and a great deal of contemporary art: examples of the latter are the watercolour Moyeu arrière à grandes joues Doc Morton, Jante D.B. by one of his favourite artists, Greg Curnoe; a superb collage by Christo, Pont-Neuf Wrapped, project for Paris; the moving Black Arms by the late Canadian artist Betty Goodwin ; Coup d'œil from the Walking Woman series, a painting by the celebrated Canadian artist Michael Snow. A lavish donor for many years, Mr. Heenan recently gifted to the Museum an outstanding selection of photographs (Stan Douglas, Geneviève Cadieux, Adad Hannah, Jon Rafman, Edward Burtynsky…), a medium of which he was particularly fond.
Betty Goodwin (Montreal 1923 – Montreal 2008), Black Arms, 1985, Oil pastel, pastel, oil, charcoal. Gift of Roy Lacaud Heenan, O.C., in honour of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts' 150th anniversary