M990X.516.1 | Maisonneuve. Design Of A Monumental Statue To Be Erected To The Memory of the Founder of Montreal In the Place d'Armes.
Maisonneuve. Design Of A Monumental Statue To Be Erected To The Memory of the Founder of Montreal In the Place d'Armes.
1879, 19th century
Ink on paper - Photolithography
39.5 x 27.7 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords: Architecture (8646) , Print (10661)
Keys to History
Towards the end of the 19th century, Montrealers start discussing the idea of erecting a monument to the memory of Paul Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve (1612-1676), the founder of Montreal. At that time there were only two public monuments in the city: one honoring Admiral Nelson (1758-1905), and another to Queen Victoria (1819-1901) .
In April 1879, artist Napoléon Bourassa (1827 -1916) and his pupil, Louis-Philippe Hébert (1850-1917), submitted to a group of prominent citizens the plans of a monumental fountain to honor Maisonneuve. Despite the creation of a committee to drive the project, the initiative was abandoned after a few months.
It resurfaced in 1891, as Montreal was getting ready to celebrate its 250th anniversary. This time the committee commissioned only one artist, Louis-Philippe Hébert, to design and build the monument. After much hesitation regarding the plans and a slow-starting fundraising campaign, the monument was finally erected on the Place d'Armes in July 1895 .
The engraving published in the 12 April 1879 issue of L'Opinion publique is based on the drawing submitted by Napoléon Bourassa to a group of influential Montrealers in April of the same year.
The statue, if the project had been approved, would have been erected in the centre of the Place d'Armes, then the heart of the city. A fountain occupied that spot since the 1850's.
A drawing of the monument appeared in the newspaper in April 1879, but it was still only a project. Sixteen more years went by before a new statue was finally set up on the site.
Sculptor Louis-Philippe Hébert alone designed the current monument to Maisonneuve, on the Place d'Armes in Montreal. It is viewed as the artist's masterpiece.