Where to buy affordable contemporary art in Montréal
You may never have considered becoming an art collector, but think about it: instead of those Ikea posters on your wall, you could have original art you love that will only increase in value over time. And you won’t need to mortgage your house! There’s loads of affordable art available in Montréal, for anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred.
This small-press fair that occurs every fall in the basement of St-Enfant-Jésus du Mile End church, at Saint-Dominique and Saint-Joseph, is a choice spot for limited-edition prints, postcards or posters that look awesome in a frame. They’ll set you back no more than $100, and they might just be by the next Basquiat.
Amid jewellery, cupcakes and apothecary products are tons of original artworks in all forms at this arts and crafts marketplace initiated in 2004 by the Pop Montréal festival. It takes place three times a year: in the spring, in the fall during the music fest, and throughout the winter holiday season.
This Mile End mainstay is both a junk shop extraordinaire and an art gallery dedicated to representing interesting, often undiscovered (and therefore affordable) artists. Prices here range from $75 to a couple of hundred, usually, and the owners/curators have a fantastic eye, so what you see here is bound to be quality.
You never know what you’ll chance upon at this gallery on the Main, and that’s what great about it! Artists rent it out themselves, which means there’s no curatorial vision limiting its wares. I saw mind-blowing prints here by Simon Bossé, as well as some crazy intricate drawings by Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo.
Galerie Antoine Ertaskiran
This small gallery in Little Burgundy is well worth a visit for its impressive roster of artists, many of whom are early-to-mid-career (including Les Ramsay and Aude Moreau), and hence moderately affordable for you and me. Check out the summer show in particular, which tends to be dedicated to a younger, more accessible set.
This large gallery, just steps away from the Palais des Congrès, gives you a helping hand in figuring out if the works on display will look good in your living room by setting the mood with fireplaces and modernist couches. Many Québécois artists (Dominic Besner, Karine Léger, Paul-André Larocque) are among its international roster. Prices go high, but start low.
This three-storey art hub in Rosemont represents a range of artists, from newcomers on the scene to established masters. The best time to check it out for a first purchase is at the end of spring/early summer, when the second floor is dedicated to new graduates from university art programs. Get them while they’re green, and your investment might turn gold!
This vast gallery on upper Saint-Laurent Boulevard, in Little Italy, sells art by internationally-renowned street artists alongside more affordable finds created locally by the likes of Jason Botkin, Gene Pendon and Kevin Ledo, which range in the few hundreds and up. But they’re worth it.
Enter the gallery, view the current show, and then look up – on the second floor is a glassed-in dentist’s office! The gallery’s vocation is to exhibit emerging artists, which means the prices are definitely right (and perhaps even cheaper than a dental bill), and the discoveries you can make are super exciting – check out Astro and Joanna Chelkowska.
PLUS: If you’re really new at art, a wonderful place to begin is in your favourite haunts. Montréal bars, eateries and coffee shops like Casa del Popolo, Divan Orange, Cagibi and Cheval Blanc all have a rotating selection of art for sale exhibited on their walls. You’ll make a local artist’s day and have a piece to cherish for years to come.
Isa Tousignant, blogger
Isa Tousignant is an art and lifestyle writer based out of Montréal’s ecclectic Park Ex neighbourhood. She is Contributing Editor for Canadian Art magazine and freelances full-time for a wide variety of magazines and brands. She’s also a jewellery designer and passionate about animal costumes and their role in contemporary art.
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