The superb Musée des Beaux-Arts (mmfa.qc.ca) is Canada’s oldest museum – and Montréal’s largest – and features the country’s most impressive Canadian art collection. It covers the full spectrum, from the devotional works of New France, through paintings of the local landscape by, among others, James Wilson Morrice, Maurice Cullen and Clarence Gagnon, to the more radical canvases by the Automatistes – Paul-Émile Borduas and Jean-Paul Riopelle – who transformed Montréal’s art scene in the 1940s. The museum also has a breathtaking collection of European art and sculpture, with works by such masters as El Greco, Rembrandt, Rodin, Picasso, Monet and Cézanne. In 2011, the museum opened its Pavilion of Québec and Canadian Art – which houses over 600 pieces – as well as the 450-seat Bourgie Concert Hall. The dazzling marble-and-glass pavilion, built as an extension of the restored Erskine and American Church, is as impressive as the art within, designed by a local architectural firm. The pavilion also displays the church’s 18 Tiffany stained-glass windows, the largest collection of Tiffany’s work outside the US. The museum’s temporary exhibits are consistently superb, and have included everything from Cuban art and history to the music and dance in Andy Warhol’s work. The museum is also expanding its sculpture garden, which will feature one of the largest collections of public art in Montréal, including works by Jim Dine, Jaume Plensa and Dominique Blain.
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