Question: “If art is meant to inspire then shouldn’t the space that houses art be just as inspirational?” The obvious answer is what motivated Isabelle de Mévius, a Belgian patron of the arts, to transform a century-old post office in Montreal’s Griffintown neighborhood into 1700 La Poste, a prestigious exhibition center that highlights the work of contemporary visual artists from here and abroad.
The magnificent stone building located at 1700 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest was erected in 1913 to house Postal Station F. A century later, in 2013, the interior was entirely redesigned and beautifully restored to reflect the unique and audacious vision of its new owner, Isabelle, and Luc Laporte, one of Montreal’s most significant architects.
Unlike the traditional “white box” gallery format, Laporte’s design for 1700 La Poste leverages the building’s neo-classical and Beaux Arts forms. Drawing inspiration from the existing characteristics of the heritage building, Laporte retained the volume properties, furnishings, and surface treatments reminiscent of its original vocation. Rooms are arranged around a central hall that opens directly, without corridors, onto the adjoining spaces.
While maintaining a part of the mezzanine, Laporte opened up the main space to re-establish its presence and increase the flow of light throughout the building.
For nearly ten years under the tireless patronage of Isabelle de Mévius, 1700 La Poste has become a remarkable venue presenting private and public events in the form of enlightening lectures…
…and engrossing exhibitions…
…whose pre-pandemic cocktail party receptions were always highly-anticipated social events.
Past exhibitions include Julie Ouellet; Geneviève Cadieux; Les états limites; Jean-Pierre Larocque; Ed Pien; Elly Strik; François Morelli; Vide et vertige; Singular Mythologies; Jean-Pierre Morin; Marc Garneau; Vladimir Velickovic; Luc Laporte; Violette Dionne; and Louis-Pierre Bougie.
The current exhibition — from October 15, 2021 to January 16, 2022 — is dedicated to Montreal sculptor Gilles Mihalcean, an acclaimed artist recognized for his contribution to the revival of sculpture in Quebec society during the 1980s. A golden opportunity for lovers of art and admirers of architecture alike to visit and discover 1700 La Poste and fall under its spell.
Here is what you need to know about 1700 La Poste
Location: 4376 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, Quebec H4C 1R8
Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11 AM to 6 PM
Featured image credit: © Béatrice Flynn
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