The new Dufresne-Nincheri Museum presents the oldest stained glass workshop in Québec and houses an unparalleled collection of royal and imperial items and paintings from Alexandre de Bothuri and Élaine Bédard
The new Musée Dufresne-Nincheri, which is chaired by Marc Poirier, inaugurated on December 9th its museum complex with the official opening of the Nincheri Studio, the oldest stained glass workshop still in existence in Québec, and the presentation of the new permanent exhibit at Château Dufresne. Without a doubt, the crowning glory of this exhibit is the prestigious collection of royal and imperial items and paintings owned by Alexandre de Bothuri and Élaine Bédard.
Mémoire des objets, Parcours de collectionneurs (Collectors’ hall, items to remember), which is integrated into the new permanent exhibit at Château Dufresne, presents 47 historical items and paintings that previously belonged to such famous personalities as Jeanne d’Arc, Louis XV, Madame du Barry, Marie-Antoinette, Rodolphe II, Pauline Borghèse, Napoleon I and Josephine. This is the first time these items have been presented together in a North American museum, namely Château Dufresne, which features Beaux-Arts style French architecture, directly inspired by the Petit Trianon in Versailles.
The collection also includes items that belonged to four women who experienced the Petit Trianon in person. This is one of the most prestigious collections of French royal and imperial items ever to appear outside of France. Completing the exhibit is a book entitled La mémoire des objets, written by Alexandre de Bothuri and published by Del Busso Éditeur, which tells of the fascinating journey taken by these items and the author-collector’s passion for them.
The general public is also invited to discover one of the oldest stained glass workshops in Canada, that of Florentine artist Guido Nincheri, who is emblematic of the Italian-Canadian community during the first half of the 20th Century. Between 1925 and 1996, when it closed down, the Nincheri Studio produced more than 5,000 stained-glass windows for use across North America.
The new mission of the museum will be to celebrate the historical and patrimonial heritage of the eastern section of Montréal by transforming Château Dufresne and the Nincheri Studio into a unique and innovative museum complex, designed for the community, with a view to ensuring its preservation for future generations.
The Château Dufresne, built between 1915 and 1918, was a beaux-arts style mansion owned by the Dufresne brothers, leading members of Montreal’s French bourgeoisie. Today, the Château Dufresne houses a museum dedicated to the history of Montreal’s east end.
For the same price, you may visit the Château Dufresne and the Nincheri Studio, the oldest stained-glass studio extant in Québec. Guido Nincheri, (1885-1973) is one of the greatest artists and entrepreneurs of the twentieth century. This Italo-Canadian’s murals, stained glass windows, frescoes, paintings, and furniture executed from his designs have adorned more than 200 buildings across 116 locations in Canada and the United States. Renowned for his glass painting technique and for the quality of his stained glass designs, Nincheri has produced over 5,000 stained glass windows in nine Canadian provinces and six New England states.
MONTRÉAL & CO. MONTRÉAL’S FRANCOPHONE BOURGEOISIE DURING THE BELLE EPOQUE
Montréal’s French-Canadian bourgeoisie of the turn of the 20th Century is little studied and even less well-known. Montréal & Co. Montréal’s Francophone Bourgeoisie During the Belle Epoque is the first exhibition ever to reveal the francophone business sector of this period. This exceptionally industrious middle-class didn’t hesitate to establish large institutions such as the Chambre de commerce du district de Montréal in 1887, now the Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain. Also noteworthy is the 1907 establishment of the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in 1907.
The exhibition paints a vivid and comprehensive picture of this bourgeoisie’s migration into Montréal districts, from Vieux-Montréal to the Carré Viger, and from the former City of Maisonneuve to Outremont. As the French-speaking elite settled on Outremont’s bucolic, suburban charm, the dream of the Dufresne brothers Oscar and Marius Dufresne to found a francophone city in east Montréal was only partially realized. The Château Dufresne remains nonetheless a powerful symbol of French-Canadian entrepreneurial success in Montréal.
Montréal & Co. addresses also women’s situations and roles in this turn of the century bourgeoisie. As historic movements advocating women’s causes took hold during that era, thanks to the efforts of the women of the Montréal’s francophone bourgeoisie, the status of all women was improved throughout Quebec.