Inaugurated in 1933 in a striking neoclassical building designed by architect Wilfrid Lacroix, the Quebec Museum of Fine Arts has always had as its main pupose to showcase the works of Quebec artists from the 17th century to the present. As such, the museum possesses over 27,000 local art pieces in its permanent collection, including the largest gathering of works by Jean-Paul Riopelle and Jean Paul Lemieux, two of Quebec's most famous artists. The museum also brings in impressive exhibitions from national and international artists, such as the Group of Seven, Auguste Rodin and Camille Claudel.
The museum also offers guided tours, activities for kids, and visitors can go on a tour of the old Quebec City jail, which is now part of the museum. You should also think about having lunch at the museum's Restaurant, where you can enjoy a delicious meal and a nice atmosphere (at a reasonable price too!).
We quickly made our way to this art museum on Sunday, when a brutal snowstorm forced us indoors.
The collection is housed in a joined building ~ one part is the old prison and a newer wing made expressly for the galleries.
A good mix of modern and older pieces, the focus is entirely on Quebecois artists (which is the type of art museum I like to visit when traveling).
This museum houses the world's largest and most important collection of Quebecois art. Eight galleries make up the museum with works from the beginning of the colony to the present. The permanent collection is free but temporary exhibits require an entry fee. Connected to the main museum is the 1867 Charles-Baillairge Pavilion, a former prison, which in the 1970s became a youth hostel nicknamed the "Petite Bastille." One cell block has been left intact as an exhibit.
Art museum beside the old Quebec city jail.
Getting to the Musée by car
Take Boulevard Champlain to Côte Gilmour Hill (closed in winter).
Turn right towards the Musee; or Take Grande Allée to
Avenue Wolfe-Montcalm (between Cartier and Des Erables streets).
Paid parking is available behind the Musee.
Probably the most important museum to visit outside of the old city of Quebec is the outstanding Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. This museum houses an exceptional collection of Quebec art. It is housed in a former prison with a soaring roof over it's grand hall (my camera was about to go down for the count so please excuse the horrible photograph here). Sadly most Canadians outside of Quebec are not familiar with artists from French Canada. Many were world class artists. Most noteworthy was Jean-Paul Riopelle who is certainly one of the greatest artists that Canada has ever produced (of note I have come across more of Riopelle's works in European museums than any other Canadian artist.) There are some excellent examples of his work here however the star piece is L'Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg, a triptych made up of 30 individual paintings.
It is free to visit the permanent collection of the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec however it costs $15.00 to see any special exhibitions. The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday and closed on Monday.
This small museum has a great collection of local art housed in a former prison ( there seem to be a lot of these in Quebec). The main collection is free, only temporary exhibits cost.