Photography Exhibition

Until April 16, 2023

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Alexander Henderson — Art and Nature

Discover the first major exhibition devoted to the photographer Alexander Henderson (1831-1913). Captivated by the majesty of territory’s wilderness, Henderson would become one of the country’s leading landscape photographers.

Through 250 original prints, reproductions of photographs, and archival documents, embark on the photographer’s amazing journey. Explore the great outdoors and urban scenes, from his first excursions around Montreal and the regions of Quebec, including the Outaouais, the Gaspésie, the North Shore, the majestic Saguenay Fjord and all the way to Western Canada.

  • Alexander Henderson, <i>Ice Cone, Montmorency Falls, Quebec</i>, 1876. MP-0000.299.1, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Alexander Henderson, <i>The Saint Lawrence in Spring, opposite Montreal</i>, 1875. MP-0000.299.2, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Alexander Henderson, <i>Canoe on a Lake</i>,about 1865. MP-0000.1828.54.3, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Alexander Henderson, <i>Pointe De Lévy</i>, about 1870. MP-1968.31.1.110, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Alexander Henderson, <i>Making a Bark Canoe, Murray Bay</i>, before 1865. MP-1968.31.1.134, McCord Stewart Museum
  • Alexander Henderson, <i>Hermit Mountain, near Glacier House, Selkirks, B.C.</i>, 1892. MP-1979.36.5, McCord Stewart Museum

Alexander Henderson, who was born in Scotland, arrived in Montreal in 1855. Though he was operating in the same milieu as fellow photographers Notman and Livernois, the romanticism and aesthetic power of his work set him apart. The privileges he enjoyed and the prejudices he nurtured as a British incomer to Canadian society of the time would shape his observation of both places and people. The exhibition invites a reflection on the colonial vision we can notice in his work.

The Museum’s collection of photographs by Alexander Henderson, the largest in existence, consists of close to two thousand period prints, complemented by the family archives. It is especially precious since virtually all the photographer’s glass negatives – the raw material of his practice – were destroyed. It is believed that the surviving prints represent only a fraction of his total output.

This project was made possible in part through Library and Archives Canada’s Documentary Heritage Communities Program.

Discover the exhibition through the eyes of visitors! Comments given on June 7, 2022. Music: Jonathan Cayer.

Walk through the exhibition galleries.

Not to be missed!

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Not to be missed!