Fine Arts in Montreal!
Updated: Feb 10
Montreal is a globally renowned hub for the arts. We are known for our cuisine, music, festivals, films, comedy and galleries. And goodness knows there are more than just a few colleges in Montreal which teach the fine and practical arts.
A large part of our city’s arts heritage is thanks to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Founded by 1860 by Bishop Fulford, the museum was originally the Art Association of Montreal, an itinerant exhibit traveling from location to location locally for the first 20 years of it’s existence. It did not become a permanent exhibit until 1877 when Benaiah Gibb, a prominent local businessman, donated a substantial art collection along with a building on Philips Square. He also donated $8000, close to $200,000 today, for the construction a new building for the museum. The gallery was inaugurated in 1897 becoming the first building in Canada build specifically to house fine art. The museum later moved to the Holton House location in Montreal’s Golden Mile, then the center of Montreal’s wealthy elite. A new larger museum was built largely with the donations of local businessmen and the museum’s committee itself. The old location was demolished and is now, ironically, a Burger King.
The modern Museum is separated into 5 pavilions and a sculpture garden. The Museum hosts a number of concurrent exhibits and an impressive permanent collection. At current on exhibit are:
Arts of One World Stephan Cretier and Stephany Maillery Wing
About Face: Photographs by Cindy Sherman, Laurie Simmons and Rachel Harrison
Untamed Colour: Celebrating Jean McEwen
Avant-Guard Montrealers: Jewellery, glass and Ceramics as envisioned by Gallerists
Jocelyne Gobeil, Elena Lee and Barbara Silverberg
Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics
There are more but we should take the time to look at the Museum’s current visiting show from the UK. Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives tells the story of six people who lived along the Nile. These painstakingly reconstructed histories are told through visualizations and over 200 artifacts from ancient Egypt. The exhibit is running until March 29th and has already had more than 160,000 visitors. If you are concerned about the costs the exhibit is only $14 on Wednesday nights.
The Museum is a center for youth learning as well. The Museum regularly books school tours and student groups as part of many programs extra curricular activities. It is vital to encourage art and creativity in children, who later in life will be able to combine their passion for art and creative skills to many profitable careers.
Finally, there is Bourgie Hall located in the beautiful Erskine and American Church. Here the museum hosts sublime concerts surrounded by 20 beautifully preserved stained glass windows. There are over 100 concerts held here each year. Too many to even begin to list.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a world class institution welcoming over 1,000,000 visitors a year from around he world. It is a highlight for anyone visiting Montreal or considering moving here for their education.