Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal

DESTINATIONS downtown and the golden square mile musee-des-beaux-arts-de-montreal


Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal

Not surprisingly, Canada's oldest museum has one of the finest collections of Canadian art anywhere. The works of such luminaries as Paul Kane, the Group of Seven, Paul-Émile Borduas, and Marc-Aurèle Fortin are displayed here in a space built onto the back of the neoclassical Erskine and American United Church, one of the city's most historic Protestant churches. The nave has been preserved as a meeting place and exhibition hall and also displays the church's 18 Tiffany stained-glass windows, the biggest collection of Tiffany's work outside the United States. The rest of the gallery's permanent collection, which includes works by everyone from Rembrandt to Renoir, is housed in its two other pavilions: the neoclassical Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion, across Avenue du Musée from the church, and the glittering, glass-fronted Jean-Noël-Desmarais Pavilion, across rue Sherbrooke. All three are linked by tunnels. If you visit the museum in summer, spring, or fall, you'll be greeted outside the main entrance by the Sun, Seattle sculptor Dale Chihuly's bright, twisted glass sculpture, now part of the MMFA's permanent collection thanks to an extensive fundraising campaign and generous donation from Montréal philanthropist Sebastian van Berkom. Unfortunately due to the city's brutal winters, the sculpture cannot be exhibited in winter. The museum also includes the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, where you can see some fanciful bentwood furniture designed by Frank Gehry, a marvelous collection of 18th-century English porcelain, and 3,000—count 'em—Japanese snuff boxes collected by, of all people, Georges Clemenceau, France's prime minister during World War I.


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