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Becoming Montreal – The 1800s Painted by Duncan

Musée McCord Stewart, 690 Sherbrooke St. West

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From June 2, 2023 to April 21, 2024
Take a trip back in time via the remarkable watercolours of James Duncan. Chronicler of his time, artist James Duncan documented Montreal’s development over a period of five decades, from 1830 to 1880. Exhibited together for the first time, these one hundred or so works offer viewers a unique journey into 19th-century Montreal. As a sort of epilogue, Mental Maps, a digital work created by art studio Iregular uses artificial intelligence to reinterpret Duncan’s work in the form of computer-generated images depicting a composite world of dreamscapes of a Montreal that no longer exists.

Bringing together a variety of the artist’s views, the exhibition offers a vivid look at Montreal and the realities of its residents and focuses on subjects that characterize life in Canada and Montreal’s urban landscape. Visitors will explore the island through the eyes of Duncan: the changing urban skyline from key viewpoints like Mount Royal and St. Helen’s Island, newsworthy political and social events, and street scenes featuring strollers and merchants alike.
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