Quebec City Art & Artists: An Illustrated History introduces readers to the remarkable wealth of visual culture that has emerged out of a storied site. From precontact creations to cartography and scenes of exploration, from early immigrant artists to commissions for the Catholic Church, and from the singular vision of painter Horatio Walker (1858–1938) to the arresting and avant-garde installations of artist collective BGL (formed in 1996), author Michèle Grandbois takes us on a fascinating journey through the key artists, institutions, and community builders who have forged an unparalleled creative legacy.


A high place of colonial power, Quebec City has an extraordinarily rich history of art and culture that predates its founding in 1608 and continues to captivate us today. Now the capital of the province of Quebec, the site along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River was home to Indigenous communities since time immemorial, as it offered an advantageous location from which to fish, hunt, and trade.


“The spectacular beauty of Quebec City has made it a tourist magnet: picturesque and heroic, it is a beautiful paradox with its 95% French-speaking population in English-speaking North America. Despite the powerful influence of history in the capital, which is both an inspiring milieu and an open-air museum, the strength of the city’s contemporary creators makes it one of the most dynamic artistic scenes in Canada.”Michèle Grandbois


In 1985, the historic district of Old Quebec was included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, recognizing the city as the “cradle of French civilisation in North America.” Quebec City carries an incredibly complex colonial legacy that has had a profound impact on the place and its people. Today, the modern capital hosts the beloved Carnaval de Québec, features the Château Frontenac—the world’s most photographed hotel—and fosters a thriving contemporary art scene.


About the author

Michèle Grandbois was curator at the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) from 1987 to 2014, where she curated some thirty exhibitions and authored a dozen publications on Canadian artists, including Jean Dallaire, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Clarence Gagnon, and Jean Paul Lemieux. In 1996 and 2011, the Canadian Museums Association’s Award of Outstanding Achievement in Research honoured her work. Since retiring from the MNBAQ, Grandbois has passionately pursued her writing on Canadian art history with museums and auction houses. More specifically, she is working on the catalogue raisonné of Jean Paul Lemieux, a Quebec artist who was the subject of a 2016 Art Canada Institute publication, Jean Paul Lemieux: Life & Work.

Download Download