Impressive art collection at Montreal's Love Hotel begs the question: Who needs the MoMA?
No outrageous admission prices. No roped off areas. No pesky security guard telling you to stop licking the Frank Stella. Where can you find such a rare confluence of painterly delights and curatorial laxity?
Right here in your own backyard, my fellow readers, at the Love Hotel. This landmark building in Old Montreal (formerly L’Hôtel XIXe Siècle) is home to North America’s largest private collection of Modern and Post-Modern art. Original Motherwells, Christos, Rauschenbergs, Lichtensteins, Rosenquists and de Koonings all compete for space on the walls. An iconic LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana and a bronze Voluptuous Man On Horse by Botero casually flank the hotel entrance. Jim Dine’s Venuses hold sway in the lobby. Warhols are scattered here and there – one of which jauntily depicts the hotel and collection’s renowned owner, Georges Marciano. Co-founder of the Guess Inc. denim empire, the Marseilles-born, American-made Marciano set sail for la belle province last year after falling in love with the idea of living amongst French speakers again. With him came his incredible buying power (he snapped up the multi-million dollar hotel property in an instant), his priceless cache of contemporary art, and his warmest wish for everybody and their brother to come and visit with his vast collection.
“When I first started working here, I thought there were so many art pieces. I was sure there was stuff that he didn’t even know about,” says PR rep Daniel Gallant. “But then I spent a lot of time with him and realized that they’re like his children. He knows what he has, and he can tell you why he bought every piece. Most of the time though, it’s just because he fell in love with it.”
When asked if Mr. Maciano was actively acquiring, Mr. Gallant turned to point at a compacted metal cube squatting squarely behind him. “He recently bought this César Baldaccini. He’s an artist well known for taking cars, putting them in a car crusher and making sculptures out of them. That arrived about a month ago. And there’s another César on the mantle that’s also new, so, yes! He’s still collecting.”
Might he be in the market for some local flavour? “He’s diversifying his choices. He’s always very interested in finding new artists. Just being here in Montreal, he’s discovering a lot of Quebecois artists and he’s buying pieces to start a local collection. Mr. Marciano’s very passionate about Pop art, but he doesn’t limit himself to that. He has some Miró and Chagall, so the collection does extend to other types of art.”
So come on in, grab a glass of private import from the Botero Wine Bar, and start touring the first floor (the upper floors are reserved for hotel guests). G’head - get up close and personal with Jasper Johns. Stare wantonly at Sam Francis. Or even spend the night with Roy Lichtenstein in his namesake suite. Reportedly, Catherine Deneuve has done so…three times. It is the Love Hotel, after all.
262 Saint Jacques | Place-d'Armes Metro
Permanent first floor collection open to the public 7 days a week