Montreal couple donate ‘amazing’ art collection to National Gallery of Canada


Today, the National Gallery of Canada houses an extensive collection of North European art from the 16th and 17th centuries.

In one of the largest private art donations in Canadian history, Montreal physicians Jonathan Meakins and Jacqueline McClaran donated 258 prints, engravings and woodcuts to the Ottawa Gallery, including works by Rembrandt, Brueghel and Dürer.

Meakins and McClaran are ardent art collectors who, over four decades, have carefully assembled a treasure trove of Flemish and Dutch drawings and prints while pursuing a distinguished career in medicine.

Rembrandt van Rijn’s, “Self-portrait with a bonnet, laughing”, 1630. Etching with drypoint. (Submitted by Denis Farley)

They said they caught the collection virus after visiting an exhibition of prints by Camille Pissarro at the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées in Paris, and painstakingly acquired what would become Europe’s largest private collection of prints. North in Canada.

“It’s a creative act, just like doing an experiment with cells, and that was the driving force,” Meakins said.

WATCH | Montreal couple donate more than 200 works of art to the Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal couple donate more than 200 works of art to the Museum of Fine Arts

In one of the largest art gifts in Canadian history, 250 Dutch and Flemish prints, engravings and woodcuts are now on display at the National Gallery of Canada. As Sandra Abma reports, it is thanks to a Montreal couple. 2:06

“Delicious” is a word he uses to describe his delight with the glimpses that art offers into everyday life in the Flemish plains, including realistic renderings of daily farming chores and rural landscapes, as well as more depictions. whimsical festivities and visits to lively villages. to the charlatans of yesteryear.

They emphasized the meticulous attention to detail and the skill revealed in the prints.

“It’s extraordinary,” McClaran said. “Everything is created with lines. It is not just the outline, but the volume is created with lines, needles and metal.”
Fishermen hope to nibble in this etching by the Dutch painter Adriaen van Ostade, circa 1647. (Submitted by Denis Farley)

During the pandemic, the couple removed their cherished works of art from the bedroom and living room walls of their Montreal home and shipped them to the Museum of Fine Arts so they could be accessible to all Canadians.

The display, called The Cosmos for collectors. The Meakins-McClaran Prints Collection, is available until November 14.

“The gift is truly amazing,” said exhibition curator Erika Dolphin. “That makes [the gallery’s holdings of Flemish and Dutch prints] the largest and most complete in Canada.

The couple said giving the artwork to Canadians and seeing it displayed on the gallery walls filled them with joy and pride.

“How exciting can life be? Meakins said. “I mean, I’m 80 and this is a peak.”

“Second after the wedding,” McClaran interjected.


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