Since it was founded, in 1964, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has accumulated more than 8,000 works by Québec, Canadian, and international artists. This collection constitutes a social legacy and a shared heritage that stands out for its wide variety of disciplines, its diversity, and its depth.

Key moments in the history of the MAC collection

Since it was started in 1964, the MAC collection has depended on the generosity of artists, collectors, associations, foundations, and galleries. Indeed, during its first two years, out of the 400 works in the initial collection, about 100 were donated to the museum.

In 1973, the gift from the National Museums of Canada of 55 works by Paul-Émile Borduas enabled the MAC to become the main repository of Borduas’s works and archives. Today, 118 works by Borduas are conserved in the museum’s Borduas collection.

Between 1972 and 1988, 87 works were donated to the museum by Iris Stern and Dr. Max Stern, and in 1988 the museum was honoured to receive the bequest of 45 works, most of them by Québec artists, from the personal collection of the Québec theoretician and critic René Payant, who died that year.

In 1992, when the museum acquired the Lavalin collection (1,324 works by mostly Québec and Canadian artists) with funding assistance of from the Ministère des Affaires culturelles du Québec, the MAC collection comprised 3,576 works. This massive acquisition represented a sudden expansion of 30% as the museum was about to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Since the museum moved to its Place des Arts premises in 1992, the collection has more than doubled. The focus of development essentially aims for strong, pertinent, and innovative practices across all media and disciplines.

Enriching the collection is a core concern for the museum. Click here to learn about the MAC’s acquisition process.


The creation of this digital portal into the collections received support under Québec’s digital cultural plan.

The MAC is a proud partner of Art Public Montreal, a cultural journey to discover.