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National treasures from Quebec City


Stephen Borys, Director and CEO, exhibition curator

Travelling by train from Montreal to Quebec City in April of 2012 for my 100 Masters research, I arrived as a freezing rain and windstorm was descending on the city, leaving most of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec without power. Paul Bourassa, Director of Collections and Research, alerted me about the power outage while I was en route, extending his offer to accompany me to the vaults by flashlight if necessary. Fortunately, some auxiliary lighting was working so we managed to view most of the paintings with adequate illumination, although for parts of the tour in the galleries, Paul led with his flashlight. The trip was a great success with the loans of historic works by five of the heavyweights of Quebec painting: a pair of portraits by Antoine Plamondon, Joseph Légaré’s Paysage au monument à Wolfe, Théophile Hamel’s Jeunes Indiennes à Lorette, James Wilson Morrice’s La Communiante, and a triple self-portrait by Jean-Paul Lemieux, acquired directly from the artist’s estate. I ended the visit with a brief meeting with Line Ouellet, the newly appointed director of the MNBAQ, who seconded the selection and expedited the final approval of the loans from Quebec’s national museum.

Joseph Légaré, Canadian, 1795–1855, Paysage au monument à Wolfe (Landscape with Wolfe Monument), 
c. 1845. Oil on canvas, 131.3 x 174.6 cm. Purchase, 1955.109. Lent by: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec

 

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