On our last day in Quebec City, thus fortified by our hotel, Le Vincent’s hearty breakfast, we set out by cab for the Musee National des Beaux Arts du Quebec (MNBAQ.) Note we set out to walk it the day before, but after riding straight up the funicular then hoofing up 310 steps we didn’t make it in time before closing, drat.
When I realized the museum housed only collections of native artists, my eyes rolled, uh oh. But I was pleasantly surprised by not only the quality of the art, but the exquisite manner in which each installation was curated and displayed. The building itself was very interesting and in no way detracted or distracted from the art, which seemed very at home within its walls. Another aspect that impressed me was its accommodation to families with small children. There were alot of people pushing strollers and little ones toddling around. Once a city jail, part of the museum was comprised of small brick cells. Several held attractions paralleling the exhibit within the same space: The Art of the Miniature, showcasing Inuit art. One cell had faux skin rugs, another plush toy stones to form into cairns. Another had a table and chairs. There were little ones enjoying the main exhibits as well. It lent a really fun atmosphere to the galleries.
Besides works from contemporary artists and retrospectives, there was a gorgeous collection of indigenous art sculptures carved from stone, whale bone and walrus skull.
There were 3 retrospectives on view when I visited and I was extremely impressed in the way they were curated. Not only were the exhibits arranged in a chronological and historical fashion as to evoke the creative development of each artist, but the exhibition spaces themselves and the manner in which certain works were displayed echoed each other. I felt that I was completely immersed in the work of each artist as I trolled through the spaces.
Works of 2 other artists I absolutely enjoyed were by Alfred Pellan, The Wide Awake Dreamer and David Moore, aLomph aBram.
In addition to being impressed by the museum and its collections in situ, I am also impressed by their website and programs. Check out the video suggesting how to view art as a family, and also their artwork rental program, CPOA. My visit was one of the highlights of my stay in lovely Quebec City. It was perhaps one of my favorite museum experiences that I’ve had recently.