Gallery Crawl: Quebec City, Musee des Beaux Artes

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.

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A little art appreciator checking out works by Alfred Pellen. She was so cute I had to take her picture (with Dad’s ok of course)

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.

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Take a look at how the space reflects this work by Jean Paul Lemieux

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The drama of this image at the beginning of an exhibition of the works of Jean-Paul Riopelle reflects the drama of his paintings

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The bold hanging of this massive work heightens its exquisite drama

Works of 2 other artists I absolutely enjoyed were by Alfred Pellan, The Wide Awake Dreamer and David Moore, aLomph aBram.

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aLomph aBram literally tucked up inside a turret accessible via a narrow spiral staircase

 

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.

Studio tour on the road: Quebec City, Verrerie Coquelicot, Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

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Jean Belanger, artiste verrier in front of one of his large and impressive glass wall pieces

When traveling I never know where my feet will lead me, but so far it’s always been always to the best places. Especially when in foreign lands I send up a little prayer as I embark on my journeys to be guided by angels to places I need to see and people I need to meet. My short weekend trip to Quebec City was no exception, for it is where I walked through the door of an artist’s shop and met artiste and verrier, Jean Belanger.

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Some of Jean’s work on offer in his lovely shop, fused glass, stained glass, blown and slumped glass objects

To regard Mr. Belanger as a verrier does not do him justice- yes he is an artist and craftsman in all glass disciplines, but also a sculptor, welder, 3D printing artist, t-shirt maker and poet, in other words, a Renaissance man.

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My favorite piece, a very colorful, thick and substantial fused glass table on feet he designed and welded himself.

What was lovely about stepping into his shop was his willingness to talk to us- about his process, his work, his history as an artist, his successes and struggles. He welcomed hearing about us, our art, our projects. When we left I felt as if I added another friend and partner in the pursuit of creativity. This does not happen often, and when it does I look up to the sky and thank my angels.

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T shirts, mostly sporting profound and topical quotes

Visit his shop in person or on line:

Verrerie Coquelicot

Jean Belanger, artiste verrier

515 Rue de l’Eperon

Quebec, Canada G1K 6S7

(418) 692-1555

http://www.verreriecoquelicot

jeanbelanger@verreriecoquelicot.com