Salvation for artist’s apocalyptic prophecy house
April 4, 2024
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April 4, 2024
Salvation for artist’s apocalyptic prophecy house
April 4, 2024
Early sales at the Dallas Art Fair prove even a solar eclipse can’t overshadow Texas’s hot market
April 4, 2024

The Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (MNBAQ) is kicking off construction of a glowing new addition to its campus in Québec City honouring the province’s most famous Modern artist, Jean Paul Riopelle (1923-2002), but the cost has nearly doubled since plans for the expansion were first announced. In September 2022, when MNBAQ selected the Montreal-based firm Les Architectes FABG to design the Espace Riopelle, the price tag was C$42.5m ($32.6m); now that the museum has selected a contractor to build the project and site preparation has begun, the budget has risen to C$84m ($62.15m).

In announcing the selection of contractor CONCREA to realise the project, the museum disclosed that it had conducted “a comprehensive assessment of project costs” between October 2022 and December 2023, and that the new figure is “a more accurate estimate of the cost”. The provincial government’s contribution to the project has more than doubled, from the C$20m ($15.3m) previously pledged to C$44m ($32.6m), while the Jean-Paul Riopelle Foundation’s original pledge of C$20m could go up to C$25m ($18.5m). The municipal government of Québec City is doubling its contribution, to C$5m ($3.7m), and the MNBAQ Foundation is quadrupling its support, to C$10m ($7.4m). The museum will launch a major fundraising campaign in the autumn.

“With a total investment of C$44m, the Québec government is making a contribution commensurate with its commitment to our culture,” Mathieu Lacombe, the province’s minister of culture and communications, said in a statement. “The Espace Riopelle will transcend time and generations to enrich our cultural heritage, in keeping with the giant that Jean Paul Riopelle represents in our collective imagination.”

With major construction due to begin later this spring, the museum expects Espace Riopelle to be inaugurated in 2026. Nearly 9,000 works in the museum’s collection have been moved to clear the way for construction or for exhibition purposes, and many back-of-house facilities and office spaces have been relocated.

Once completed, the new pavilion will consist of a series of rising, geometric volumes with glass walls, leading visitors up towards a circular room that will hold Riopelle’s magnum opus, the 30-painting narrative fresco Hommage à Rosa Luxembourg (1992). The pavilion’s design was inspired, in part, by Riopelle’s light-filled studio and will offer sweeping views of the St. Lawrence river. It was first announced as part of the celebrations timed to the centenary of Riopelle’s birth in October 1923.

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