When the Université du Québec à Montréal was created in 1969, it inherited the École des beaux-arts de Montréal’s art collection, which included objects from various periods and places, among them an Egyptian mummy and nearly 3,000 prints by students from the studio of Albert Dumouchel. The newly established Collection d’œuvres d’art de l’UQAM was set up on the model of American university collections and was envisaged, from its origin, as both a witness to the teaching of the arts and a reflection of current trends in Quebec art. When the art gallery was created in 1975, the collection was assigned a first permanent space on Saint-Urbain Street; it remained there until in 1979, when it was relocated to the recently inaugurated Pavillon Judith-Jasmin and named the Galerie de l’UQAM.
Although the conservation and development of the institutional collection have always been part of the Galerie de l’UQAM’s mandate, over the ensuing years, exhibition activities were emphasized. In the early 1980s, the Université adopted an acquisition policy and regulations providing a legal and administrative framework for the management of the collection. Works by recognized artists as well as student works and public art were acquired, but the plan for the collection to encompass a more global perspective – as a function of the activities of research, creation, teaching and outreach – only really took effect in the 1990s. Steps were undertaken to define the nature of the collection and its possible orientation more clearly.
In 1994, a period of cessation being deemed necessary, a moratorium on acquisition was declared. Beginning in 1997, the collection was thoroughly inventoried and the data computerized, which ensured more efficient management of the many works in circulation on campus. It also paved the way, at the close of the decade, for a reflection on the future of the collection in order to define a new acquisition policy, resume acquisition activities and instigate various outreach projects. These initiatives aimed to foster not only a better appreciation of the collective property represented by the institutional collection, but also a recognition of the visual arts’ significant contribution to the university community, through research, teaching, enhancing UQAM’s cultural life and furthering its national and international development.
To see all the Collection d’œuvres d'art de l'UQAM, go to CHIN database.