Documentary Art - Musee McCord
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Collections and Research

Formely attibuted to Joseph Légaré, The Burning of the Parliament Building in Montreal, 1849. M11588 © McCord Museum

Documentary Art

The Documentary Art collection is made up of painted, drawn and printed images that are an invaluable resource for researchers studying the social history of Quebec and Canada. Depicting people, places, scenes, historic and political events and objects, these iconographic documents reflect the perspectives of Canadians over the past three centuries.
Explore the collection online

The collection is noteworthy for its corpus of satirical drawings covering over two and a half centuries of Canadian history. Comprising some 45,000 caricatures, this collection has been widely disseminated in print, online, and in exhibitions.

Among the collection’s original works are thousands of portraits of individuals who have marked the history of the country, as well as landscapes and cityscapes documenting the growth of Canada’s urban centres, particularly the Montreal region.

Fonds devoted to illustrators and printers, illustrated newspapers and posters complete this extensive gallery of images typical of Canada, its people and its cultures.

The collection also includes the Stewart Museum’s corpus of historical prints and iconographic documents, a visual compendium of the key events leading to the European presence in what is now known as Canada. It contains over 4,000 illustrations of everyday life and military operations.

  • Formely attibuted to Joseph Légaré, <i>The Burning of the Parliament Building in Montreal</i>, 1849. M11588, McCord Museum
  • After Olaus Magnus, <i>De regnis septention Monstra marina & terrestria</i>, about 1550. 1978.323, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Miniature portraits of Officer James Cuthbert and his child. Medallion, about 1797-1798, charm about 1815-1820. Gift of Dr. Wendy C. Weaver, M2009.31.5.1-2, McCord Museum
  • Cornelis Cort, after Frans Floris, <i>Astrologia</i>, 1565. 1978.297, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Cornelius Krieghoff, <i>The Shakspeare Club</i>, 1847. Gift of Mrs. E. R. Brodhead, M2000.95.1, McCord Museum
  • François Hubert Drouais, <i>Madame de Pompadour as a Vestale</i>, about 1764. 1985.32, McCord Stewart Museum
  • George Townshend, <i>General James Wolfe, at Quebec</i>, 1759. Gift of David Ross McCord, M1793, McCord Museum
  • James Duncan, <i>Montreal from the Mountain</i>, about 1830-1831. Gift of William D. Lighthall, M966.61, McCord Museum
  • Peter Rindisbacher, <i>Captain Bulger, Governor of Assiniboia, and the Chiefs and Warriors of the Chippewa Tribe of Red Lake, in Council in the Colony House in Fort Douglas, May 22nd, 1823</i>, 1823. M965.9, McCord Museum

Christian Vachon

Christian joined the McCord Museum team in 1989. An art historian passionate about Canadian iconography from the 18th century to the present day, Christian is particularly fascinated by graphic satire and the printed image. He focusses on documenting the history of caricature and political cartooning in Quebec.

Meet curator Christian Vachon and learn more about his expertise and his work.
Learn more

Not to be missed!

100 Years Young

The year 2021 marks the Museum's centenary. Discover its history, as well as the exhibitions and cultural events on the program.

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