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Exhibition turns lens on early Montreal Jews

Kristine Berey

April, 2010

The Musée Nationale des Beaux Arts du Québec and Montreal’s McCord Museum have pooled paintings from their collections to create the travelling exhibit Jewish Painters of Montreal – Witnesses of their Time, 1930-1948.

An enormous success when it was mounted last year, the exhibition provides a glimpse of Montreal during the Great Depression. It comprises more than 80 paintings, drawings, prints and caricatures. Among the artists are Rita Briansky, Guitta Caiserman-Roth and Louis Muhlstock.

The exhibition re-creates life through the lens of such themes as The City, People in the City, The War and The Human Figure.

Jack Beder’s Café Scene

“The painters from the Jewish community who were involved in the Montreal art milieu during the 1930s and ’40s were unique witnesses to their time,” says Esther Trépanier, executive director of the Musée Nationale des Beaux Arts du Quebec.

“Running counter to the traditional, often nostalgic landscape scenes and themes of national identity,” she says, “they turned their sights instead to the contemporary world, portraying it through original, innovative art, whose richness is abundantly apparent in the works brought together for this exhibition.”

The show ends May 2. Info: 514-398-7100 or visit the website,



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