Napoléon Bourassa

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Napoléon Bourassa
Napoléon Bourassa Portrait.jpg
Bourassa in 1896
Born 1858
L'Acadie, Quebec
Died 1925
Nationality Canada
Known for architect and artist

Napoléon Bourassa (October 21, 1827 – August 27, 1916) was a prominent Canadian architect, painter and writer whose offices were located in Montreal, Quebec.

Early life and training[edit]

Born in L'Acadie, Quebec, he studied at Sulpician College in Montreal. In 1848, he interned with Norbert Dumas in preparation for a legal career but then chose to become a painter and studied with Theophile Hamel from 1850 to 1852.

He continued his education by visiting Paris, Rome and Florence accompanied by the German painter Johann Friedrich Overbeck, a member of the Nazarene movement. After this he established his art studio in Montebello.[1]


Bourassa founded and directed the Canadian Journal and became vice-president of the Saint-Jean-Baptiste Society. He resided on 430 Rue Bonsecours Montreal. Bourassa had several associates who became famous, including Louis-Philippe Hébert, François-Édouard Meloche and Olindo Gratton. He also sculpted the bust of his father in-law Louis-Joseph Papineau.

He designed the "Chapelle Notre-Dame de Lourdes de Montréal" and the "Institut Nazareth et Louis Braille". One of his most familiar paintings is The Apotheosis of Christopher Columbus.

In 1880, he founded the National Gallery of Canada with his fellow artists. He consulted in 1883 for the construction of a building to house the Legislative Assembly of Quebec.

He died August 27, 1916 in Lachenaie. His daughter Adine published his correspondence in 1929. The "Fund-Napoleon Bourassa" was created in his honor at the University of Ottawa.[1] His works were exhibited at Galerie L'Art français[2]


Napoléon Bourassa was married to Azélie Papineau, the daughter of the Quebec politician Louis-Joseph Papineau. One of his sons was Henri Bourassa, a journalist and the founder of the newspaper Le Devoir.

Works include[edit]

St. Anne Shrine Church, Fall River Massachusetts: Napoléon Bourassa, architect (with Louis G. Destremps)
Church of Montebello, Montebello, Quebec: Napoléon Bourassa, architect



  1. ^ a b Vézina, Raymond. "BOURASSA, NAPOLÉON". Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, 1911-1920 (Volume XIV). University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved 26 February 2011. 
  2. ^ Vie des arts, été 1965, n°39, p. 57, "Galerie L'Art français, 370 ouest, rue Laurier, 10-25 mai: Bourassa"
  3. ^ St. Anne, Fall River
  4. ^ "Members since 1880". Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Vézina, Raymond. Napoléon Bourassa (1827-1916): 60th Anniversary.... The exhibition and [this] catalogue were prepared by Raymond Vézina. [Ottawa, Ont.]: Public Archives Canada, 1976. Title also in French; texts printed, tête-bêche, in English and French. Without ISBN

External links[edit]