Sherbrooke Street Art Walk
Montreal is home to an eclectic array of impressive outdoor sculptures. Created by some of our most talented artists and made possible by the generosity of individuals, organizations and companies, these artworks add both beauty and intrigue to our outdoor surroundings.
Although we may only afford them a passing glance as we rush off to our next appointment, these monuments have become intrinsic components of the Montreal cityscape.
With this in mind, I decided to take a closer look at some of the sculptures that I often pass on a daily basis - and what better way then by foot? So, along with my regular cast of characters, armed with coffees in hand, we set out for a glorious stroll along Sherbrooke Street to check out some of Montreal's finest outdoor art, and we would like to invite you to join us.
Beginning at Greene Avenue in Westmount heading east, we'd only had time for a few sips of our java before our first stop. Here in front of a brown edifice on the north side corner of Elm, we encountered a very familiar sculpture - yet nobody in the group or passer byers knew the artist or title. Reading the plaque we learned that this bronze gentleman perpetually perusing his newspaper is entitle Catching Up and is by well know American artist, J.Seward Johnson Jr.
It certainly helps give character and life to an otherwise non descript office building.
Our next stop was a fairly new addition to Montreal's outdoor art scene. In front of Maison Heffel (in what several years ago what home to The Montreal Arts Club) at 1840 Sherbrooke, we discovered the fabulous sculpture Emily Carr et ses Amis, an homage to Canada's "first lady" of art, created by Canadian artist Joe Fafard.
This must be viewed up close to appreciate its icing-like texture, with Carr standing in front of her large horse and assorted pets, pencil and paper in hand. (a true artist) Colorful and whimsical, the horse serves as the main focus with the monkey perched on its saddle and a dog sitting quietly by.
Large Totem Head (1968) was a gift from the Nathan Cummings foundation.
The museum's most recent acquisition -Twin 6' Hearts (1999) was created by American artist Jim Dine. Erected in 2003, this iconic symbol of love was a gift from the International Friends of the Montreal Museum. It makes for a wonderful photo opportunity for lover, friends, tourists and locals alike.
After a brief pause and visit inside the museum, we continued our journey.
On the north side of Sherbrooke, just before Peel, we came across a sculpture that I have assuredly passed countless times, yet always missed while driving.
Cactus, by Van Fisher
It appears to be created out of concrete, and although it has certainly seen better days, it does bestow a sense of history and continuity to it surroundings.
Just a few steps away at the corner of Peel, is a sculpture I admire each time I pass it. La Tendresse (Tenderness) is by Paul Lancz, a native of Hungary who came to Canada in 1956.
The subject of the smooth honed marble depicts a child kissing a mother's hand, while she, in turn, kisses the child's forehead, and was created as a memoriam to the artist's mother.
As mothers ourselves, we were all particularly touched by the symbolism and simplicity of this beautiful sculpture.
Nearing the end of our walk, we encountered an impressive contemporary monument in front of the McGill Schulich School of Music's Tann Schulich Hall at the north corner of Aylmer and Sherbrooke.
Appropriately entitled, Ondes (Waves) and created by Montreal- born sculptor Mari-France Briere, the wavey lines chiselled into the black granite appear to undulate and shimmer in the sunlight .
One can almost hear the music emanating from the surrounding buildings.
My entourage and I decided that it was time for a break. Anxious to discuss all that we'd encountered on our inspirational walk, we headed back west to one of our favorite neighborhood meeting places. We all agreed that we'd discovered a great deal on our self-directed tour, and we were happy that we had taken the time to stop and appreciate the beautiful outdoor sculptures we had so often ignored.
As a gallery owner and promoter of the arts, I felt great pride to discover and share all the amazing art that our fabulous city has to offer. The beauty, curiosity, interest and awareness that each one of these magnificent sculptures brought to us will hopefully find its way into your hearts too.
Until next time, keep discovering your Art of Living!