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
Montréal, December 10, 2014 - 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 museum was able to acquire the Guido Nincheri stained glass workshop thanks to the financial participation of the Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, the Caisses Desjardins, région Est de Montréal and the Borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. Borough Mayor Réal Ménard stated: “I am very proud of our contribution to preserving the Nincheri stained glass workshop through the contribution of $50,000 toward the acquisition from the Borough of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve to the Société du Château Dufresne. This contribution was instrumental in preserving an exceptional historical jewel in the neighbourhood at the eleventh hour.”
In exchange, the Nincheri family offered the museum 625 works (stained glass, mock-ups, cartons, tools) that were found inside the Studio, which document the design and production of stained glass.
A major tourism development project, the Musée Dufresne-Nincheri receives support from Ville de Montréal thanks to the financial assistance awarded by the Government of Québec under the terms of Entente Montréal 2025, which is administered by the Secrétariat à la région métropolitaine. The $60,000 subsidy is part of the PRAM-Est program, which supports innovative projects that impact the economic development of Montréal East. The opening of Studio Nincheri received support from the CDEST for the development of tourism in Montréal East. The Ministère de la Culture et des Communications also granted an initial amount of $150,000 to the museum in order to enable it to acquire Studio Nincheri. A second contribution, the amount of which is not yet known, will be awarded to support the renewal of the museum’s permanent exhibit within the context of the Aide aux immobilisations program. In addition, the Société du Château Dufresne will receive financial support totalling $90,000 per year from the Ministère and from Ville de Montréal under the Entente sur le développement culturel de Montréal.
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.