Ousted Montreal MFA Director Nathalie Bondil Heads to Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris

Ousted Montreal MFA Director Nathalie Bondil Heads to Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris

After having been fired by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts last year as its director, Nathalie Bondil will head back to France for a job at the Institut du Monde Arabe, an institution in Paris dedicated to the art and culture of 18 Arab countries. In her new post, Bondil will be in charge of exhibitions and collections at the institute’s museum. She begins there on May 1.

In a statement, Jack Lang, the president of the Institut du Monde Arabe, called Bondil “a personality deeply committed to the civic and social mission museums.”

Bondil was ousted at the MMFA this past July. The president of that museum’s board said it had been made aware allegations from employees that Bondil had created a “toxic workplace environment.” Because Bondil is so highly-regarded within the international art scene and because she had been director there for more than a decade, her firing set off a controversy that involved an official investigation by the government in Quebec. (That inquiry found that the museum was in a “grave situation.”)

This past September, the MMFA’s board president said he would not seek another term. Bondil subsequently sued the museum, alleging unfair dismissal and libel. She is currently seeking $1.3 million in damages.

[The firing of Nathalie Bondil, explained.]

Before becoming the first female leader of the MMFA, Bondil had accrued a reputation in France as an expert on European art. She worked for the Musée des Monuments Français starting in 1996, and left to join the MMFA as a curator of European art in 1998. In 2019, she was awarded France’s Legion of Honor, one of the highest honors given out by the country.

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