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B.C. art collectors donate $9M in Paul-Émile Borduas paintings to museum

The exhibition will be open to the public in late February
The eight paintings which are valued at nearly $9 million, are from the 1950s.

British Columbian art collectors Michael Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa have donated eight paintings by Quebec artist Paul-Émile Borduas to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ).

The eight paintings, which are valued at nearly $9 million collectively, are from the 1950s: Grenouille sur fond bleu (1944), Arabesque (1955), Graphisme (1955), Modulation aux points noirs (1955), Figures schématiques (1956),Chatterie (1957), Sans titre (1957), Sans titre (1959).

This art donation comes after Audain and Karasawa gifted 39 works by artist Jean Paul Riopelle from their family foundation to MNBAQ.

Jean–Luc Murray, director-general of the MNBAQ, said the B.C. patrons' generosity exemplifies their respect for Borduas' work.

"Their donation is not only repatriating to Québec iconic works by an artist who is an integral part of the history of Québec art but is also contributing to reviving our collective memory of a decisive period of our province. These exceptional collectors deserve our full recognition and deep appreciation," said Murray.

Audain echoed Murray's sentiments about the patrons' deep respect for the artist's work.

"Through this gift, Yoshi and I wish to highlight the artist's boldness, courage and uncompromising quest for artistic freedom. His painting was both innovative and captivating," said Audain.

"Borduas stimulated a whole generation of young men and women to throw off the shackles of dead-end artistic practices to embrace the right to cultural freedom. Although we will miss the works in our home, we are delighted to return a significant body of Borduas's works to his native Québec."

MNBAQ will be hosting the exhibit showcasing Bordoua's masterpieces starting on Feb. 24, 2022, titled Latent Energies. Paul-Émile Borduas in the Present. The Donation of Michael J. Audain and Yoshiko Karasawa.

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