Collections and Research
The Documentary Art collection is made up of painted, drawn and printed images illustrating the history of Canada and Canadian society. These iconographic documents, produced by professional and amateur artists alike, depict people, places, scenes, historic and political events and objects. Reflecting the opinions and attitudes of Canadians, they can sometimes even be symbols of culture and identity.
The collection is noteworthy for its corpus of satirical drawings covering over two and a half centuries of Canadian history. Comprising some 35,000 original caricatures, it is the second largest compilation of its kind in the country. A valuable resource for researchers and historians working in the humanities and social sciences, these drawings help illustrate the evolution of Quebec society.
In addition, the collection includes some 10,000 original works and approximately 10,000 prints of people and places, spotlighting individuals who have significantly influenced our social history, as well as landscapes and cityscapes that document the growth of Canada’s urban centres, particularly Montreal, and the historic sites of the province of Quebec. There are also panoramic views, bird’s-eye maps, illustrations of buildings and monuments, representations of human activity in both urban and rural settings, and even historic and military scenes.
Finally, the fonds of illustrators and printers, illustrated newspapers and posters complete this extensive gallery of historic images.
To discover in the collection
Meet the curator Christian Vachon and learn more about his expertise and what he does.
Explore this collection
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