Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
|Montreal Museum of Fine Arts|
|Location||Golden Square Mile, Sherbrooke Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.|
|Type||Museum of Fine Arts|
|Website||About the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts|
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a major art museum in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is Montreal's largest museum and is amongst the most prominent in Canada. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is a member of the International Group of Organizers of Large-scale Exhibitions, also known as the Bizot Group, a forum which allows the leaders of the largest museums in the world to exchange works and exhibitions. The museum is located on the historic Golden Square Mile stretch of Sherbrooke Street. The original 'reading room' of the Art Association of Montreal was the precursor of the current library of the museum. It is the oldest library in Canada dedicated to art.
The Beginnings 
Since it did not have a permanent place to store acquisitions the Art Association was not able to acquire works to display nor to seek works from collectors. During the following twenty years, the organization had an itinerant existence during which its shows and expositions were held in various Montreal venues.
In 1877, the Art Association received an exceptional gift from Benaiah Gibb, a Montreal businessman. He gave the core of his art collection consisting of 72 canvases and 4 bronzes. In addition he donated to the Montreal institution a building site on the north-east corner of Phillips Square (Montreal) and further the sum of money of $8,000. This latter gift was on condition that a new museum be constructed on the site within three years. On the 26 May 1879, the Governor General of Canada, Sir John Douglas Sutherland Campbell, inaugurated the Art Gallery of the Art Association of Montreal, the first building in the history of Canada to be constructed specifically for the purpose of housing an art collection. The Art Gallery at Phillips Square (Carré Philips) comprised an exhibition room, another smaller room (known as the Reading Room) reserved for graphic works as well as a lecture hall and an embryonic art school. The museum was enlarged in 1893. The Art Association held an annual show of works created by its members as well as a Spring Salon devoted to the works of living Canadian Artists.
The gift made by Benaiah Gibb was a watershed event in the founding of the museum's collection. The generous gift engaged a keen interest in the public and, because of it, the donations multiplied.
It moved to its current location in 1912 thanks to a large donation from businessman James Ross. In 1948-49, the association formed a corporation to carry on the associations mandate under its present name. In 1972, it became a semi-public institution funded mainly by government funds.
The museum is partitioned into three pavilions: a 1912 Beaux Arts building designed by William Sutherland Maxwell and brother Edward Maxwell, now named the Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion; the modernist Jean-Noël Desmarais Pavilion across the street, designed by Moshe Safdie, built in 1991; and the Liliane and David M. Stewart Pavilion.
While the Desmarais Pavilion houses works of art from around the world, the Hornstein's focus is specifically Quebec history. Together, the edifices house about 30,000 pieces.
On February 14, 2007, the museum's administration board announced its project to convert Erskine and American United Church, located on Sherbrooke West street, into a Canadian art pavilion. This new pavilion allowed the museum to double the display surface currently dedicated to Canadian artists. Erskine and American United Church, a Romanesque Revival church with Tiffany stained glass, dating from 1893–94, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1998. Named the Claire and Marc Bourgie pavilion, as a recognition of the family's outstanding financial support it opened in 2010.
1972 robbery 
On September 4, 1972, the museum was the site of the largest art theft in Canadian history, when armed thieves made off with jewellery, figurines and 18 paintings worth a total of $2 million at the time (approximately $10.9 million today), including works by Delacroix, Gainsborough and a rare Rembrandt landscape ("Landscape with Cottages"). The works have never been recovered. In 2003, the Globe and Mail estimated that the Rembrandt alone would be worth $1 million.
See also 
- Canadian art
- List of Museums in Canada
- List of most visited art museums in the world
- List of museums
- "Bilan 2011". Tourisme Montréal. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
- Bizot Policy Statement
- MMFA Library
- Georges-Hébert Germain, Un musée dans ma ville. Une histoire du musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 2007, @p.15.
- Georges-Hébert Germain, Un musée dans ma ville. Une histoire du musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 2007, @p.25.
- Benaiah Gibb
- Georges-Hébert Germain, Un musée dans ma ville. Une histoire du musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 2007, @p.30.
- Georges-Hébert Germain, Un musée dans ma ville. Une histoire du musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 2007, @p.26.
- Michel Champagne. "The Canadian Encyclopedia". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
- see Mission and History tab
- "Five Best". Montreal Gazette. December 7, 1985. p. 22. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
- "Erskine and American United Church". Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada. Parks Canada. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- Erskine and American United Church. Canadian Register of Historic Places. Retrieved July 30, 2011.
- "CBC Digital Archives, ''Art heist at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts''". Archives.cbc.ca. Retrieved 2012-07-26.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts|
- Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Quebec Tourism MMFA Information
- Additional photos and drawings from the Desnoyers Mercure & associés, architectes web site (french page)
- Inauguration of the Ben Weider Napoleonic Galleries at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- Germain, Un Musee dans ma Ville