Montréal - The McCord Museum is pleased to present, Antoine Plamondon (1804-1895). Milestones of a an Artistic Journey, the first monographic exhibition devoted to Antoine Plamondon, one of the great figures of 19th-century Quebec painting. Produced by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBA), this exhibition commemorates the 200th anniversary of the artist’s birth by presenting a selection of more than forty paintings. The masterpieces are taken from the collection of the MNBA and from some fifteen public and private Canadian collections, including that of the McCord Museum, making this project truly national in scope.
“The McCord is proud to be the host of this exhibition in Montréal,” states Dr. Victoria Dickenson, Executive Director of the McCord. “Two of the portraits on display are drawn from the McCord’s collection, attesting to Plamondon’s considerable popularity in Lower Canada, and his presence in the city.” Indeed, the exhibition includes the portraits of John Redpath (1796-1869), founder of the Montréal sugar refinery of the same name, and his second wife, Jane Drummond (1815-1907).
Intended for the uninitiated and the expert alike, the exhibition spotlights the career and production of this major 19th-century painter. The exhibition layout displays the works in flexible chronological order covering Plamondon’s study trip to Paris (1826-1830) and the two main phases in his career—Québec City (1830-1850) and Neuville (1851-1885). The selection is representative of the artist’s complete body of work and allows the visitor to discover many recently restored paintings, works that are rarely shown or not previously exhibited, including Captain Charles Campbell (1832, private collection) and Still Life with Apples and Grapes (1868, Archdiocese of Ottawa). They attest to Plamondon’s skills as a portraitist and copyist while reflecting the evolution, originality and variety of his œuvre over almost 55 years of his artistic career (portraits, genre scenes, religious canvases, copies and original compositions). The exhibition explains the historical, technical, formal and iconographic aspects of the works themselves.
Antoine Plamondon (1804-1895). Milestones of an Artistic Journey is organized and toured by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, a public corporation funded by the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec. The exhibition received financial support under Canadian Heritage’s Museums Assistance Program. It will be presented at the McCord Museum until April 1, 2007.
Antoine Plamondon was born in L’Ancienne-Lorette, and in 1819 was hired by painter Joseph Légaré in Québec City. In 1826, he began studies in Paris under Paulin-Guérin, copying the Old Masters at the Louvre, among others.
When Plamondon returned to Québec City in 1830, he established himself in the art market. Throughout the two decades that followed, he earned a solid reputation as both a portraitist of the bourgeoisie and a copyist of religious and secular paintings.
Plamondon had apprentices, including Théophile Hamel, and gave drawing lessons at various institutions. He was also involved in numerous social and cultural activities. Plamondon, a fierce polemicist, never shied away from using the press to promote his concepts about painting and to denigrate his rivals. In 1851, further to losing his studio and due to increasingly stiff competition, he moved to Pointe-aux-Trembles (which is now Neuville), where he became a prosperous farmer and the first mayor of the municipality. From his huge studio, he still did many religious paintings of uneven quality, a number of portraits from photographs, and a few still lifes and genre scenes. The crowning achievement of his long career was his 1880 appointment as the founding Vice President of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. The painter, who never married, retired in 1885, some ten years before his death at age 91.
The exhibition is accompanied by a popular catalogue containing texts by curators John R. Porter and Mario Béland, respectively Executive Director and Curator of Historic Art with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. The 112-page publication illustrated with approximately 70 color photographs, includes a well-documented biography putting the paintings produced in Québec City during this period into context, a chronology and extensively researched entries on the works shown. The catalogue can be purchased for $34.95 at the McCord Museum Boutique.
* * *
The McCord Museum is home to one of the finest historical collections in North America. It possesses some of Canada’s most significant cultural treasures, including the most comprehensive collection of clothing made or worn in Canada; an extensive collection related to Aboriginal history and art; and the renowned Notman Photographic Archives. Visit www.musee-mccord.qc.ca/