MONTREAL, QC–On June 4, the second edition of Bruce Bailey’s Canadian Fête Champêtre, organized by Canadian collector, major patron and friend of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), W. Bruce C. Bailey, was held to raise funds for this major Quebec institution. The benefit event, on Bailey’s enchanting country estate just outside Toronto, brought together 600 prominent figures from the world of the arts, business, politics and philanthropy, who all made a financial contribution to this fundraiser out of friendship for Bailey and in support of the MMFA. The event raised $1 million for the MMFA and will be used to support the institution’s activities.

In addition to this exceptional contribution, the work Study for Iron Hill was gifted to the Museum by artist Peter Doig. Painted in 1991, this canvas depicts a Quebec countryside evocative of the childhood memories of this British artist, credited with breathing new life into contemporary figurative painting. Study for Iron Hill is the first work by Doig to enter the MMFA’s collection. The Museum devoted an exhibition to his work in 2014.

“It’s rare to find a friend as faithful as Bruce to an institution like ours. His loyalty and his affection for the MMFA and Quebec culture make him a true patron. His generosity over the years has helped to enhance our institution and its collection. His love of art is only equalled by his friendship for artists, which has allowed us to acquire this unique work from Peter Doig, one of the greatest painters of our time,” said Stéphane Aquin, Director of the MMFA.

“I am delighted to support the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its new administration led by Stéphane Aquin, Director, Mary-Dailey Desmarais, Chief Curator, and Jo-Anne Duchesne,Director General of the MMFA Foundation. It has been a real privilege and a great honour to host this unique benefit event that resonates with so many artists and philanthropists who believe in the power of art,” said W. Bruce C. Bailey, organizer of the fundraiser, major patron and friend of the MMFA. “I also wish to acknowledge and thank our guest of honour, noted philanthropist Suzanne Rogers for her lifelong commitment to philanthropy.”

Study for Iron Hill by Peter Doig
Study for Iron Hill (1991) is a major work in Peter Doig’s career. It is a study of the famous painting Iron Hill (1991), the most ambitious and resolute work in a series inspired by the Quebec landscape and, more specifically, the surroundings of his family home in the Eastern Townships, where Doig spent some of his childhood. It is a painting from memory derived from his personal collection of photographs, postcards, books, art magazines, album covers and newspaper illustrations.

This idealized experience and the choice of a typically Canadian scene reveal a powerful dreamlike nature drawn from the works of Monet and Canadian artist Tom Thomson. Doig is inspired by impressionists in his depiction of unique snow-covered landscapes, using a technique that skillfully combines figuration and abstraction. The painting highlights the pictorial virtuosity that is evident in all of Doig’s works. The surface is comprised of translucent layers of medium that accumulate in certain areas, whereas in others impasto and drips create blurry forms. In Study for Iron Hill, the houses surrounded by abstract areas create the impression of depth, where the perspective—almost naive—dissolves the different planes and, with them, any sense of three-dimensional space.

We are grateful for the generosity of artist Peter Doig and collector W. Bruce C. Bailey for their gifts, as well as the hundreds of people who made financial contributions to Bruce Bailey’s Canadian Fête Champêtre 2022. The teams at the Museum and its Foundation sincerely thank them as well as all the volunteer members of the organizing committee of the second edition of this benefit event for the Museum. The MMFA self-finances a very large proportion of its operating budget and art acquisitions, making the donation—$1 million—raised and the acquisition of the painting Study for Iron Hill of paramount importance for the MMFA’s activities and the enrichment of its collection, for the benefit of the largest audience possible.

The MMFA also wishes to thank all of the sponsors of Bruce Bailey’s Canadian Fête Champêtre 2022: Presenting sponsor Rogers Communications Inc., Platinum Sponsor and creator of the East Room Lounge within the Fête East Room and Derreck Martin, the Bensadoun Family Foundation, Carol and David Appel, artverb*, The Bailey Collection, Jim Balsillie and Neve Perić, Chronomics, Cloudsley Cellars, Common Good, Dancing Bee Equipment, Dax Dasilva, Emblem Flowers, Feheley Fine Arts, GenesisPR, The Gilder, Hatch, Heaps Estrin, Kiehl’s, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, Brian M. Levitt and Portia Leggat, Medcan, Mellecey Wine Group, Miller Thomson LLP, Mosaic, Partisans, Phillips, Sajo Inc., The Schulich Foundation, Miriam Shiell Fine Art, TD, True Patriot Love, and Cory Vitiello.

In addition to the funds raised for the MMFA, significant donations were also made to the Canadian Opera Company and the Inuit Art Foundation, which actively participated in making this historic event a success.

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