Musée d’Orsay cuts ties with Montreal Museum of Fine Arts over sacking of director Nathalie Bondil

    Nathalie Bondil Photo: Marco Campanozzi

    Museum leaders have voiced their disapproval of the abrupt dismissal of Nathalie Bondil, the director general and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, on Monday. The Musée d'Orsay in Paris is the first museum to announce that it is suspending its cooperation with the Montreal museum, cancelling a joint exhibition on the naturalist Charles Darwin. The show, planned to open in Paris from November to February, was due to travel to Quebec next summer. Laurence des Cars, the head of the Musée d'Orsay, tells The Art Newspaper she is "appalled by the absolutely unacceptable and shocking conditions of Bondils sacking".

    "Bondil has put the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts on the international map and showed us and millions of visitors that art and humanism could be a tangible reality," says Emma Lavigne, the director of the national contemporary art centre, the Palais de Tokyo. Describing herself as "overwhelmed by emotion", she denounced "an act of pure violence, which threatens the spirit and the life of our institutions".

    The former French culture minister Jean-Jacques Aillagon adds that the "brutality of the procedure is unimaginable", while the director of the Musée Picasso Paris, Laurent Le Bon, praises Bondils "impeccable professionalism". The director of the Virginia Fine Arts Museum in the US, Alex Nyerges, tells The Art Newspaper: "Simply put, Nathalie is the best, most dynamic, and most innovative art museum director in North America. This is a travesty, an injustice that needs immediate rectification."

    The Montreal-based Riopelle Foundation, which is involved in a C$20m ($14.8m) project for a new museum wing dedicated to the Canadian abstract painter Jean Paul Riopelle due to open for the centenary of his birth in 2023, called Bondil, "a stalwart leader" who "propelled the museum to unprecedented heights," in a statement. It is meeting in the coming weeks to assess the "considerable impact of this unfortunate situation", a spokesperson adds and that it hopes a "happy ending can still be found to this saga".

    A petition launched online by members of the museum, which has gathered more than 1,500 signatures, demands that Bondils dismissal be suspended until "an independent audit on the management of the museum and the board" could be produced by the culture ministry. Nathalie Roy, the culture minister for Quebec, has publicly spoken in support of Bondil and a ministry spokesman says this "has been very clearly expressed" to the board's chairman, Michel de la Chenelière.

    The decision from the museum's board of directors came aftRead More – Source

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