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Jacques Rousseau: Natural Landscapes and Native People from Québec and Other Countries

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Ungava Bay (Québec), 1948
Photo: Jardin botanique (Jacques Rousseau)

An early collaborator of Brother Marie-Victorin, Jacques Rousseau (1905-1970) was the second director of the Montréal Botanical Garden from 1944 to 1956. This man of both science and letters produced more than 700 titles, books and articles on science and popular science, and pursued a brilliant career that lead him from Montréal and Québec City to Ottawa and even Paris.

The Botanical Garden’s Jacques Rousseau Collection includes 2,942 black-and-white photographs. Witnesses to their era, these archived documents have not been widely seen until now. Travel albums and a variety of photographs, a short biography and a few online publications complete this virtual exhibition.

Never ask the explorer, still shrouded in distant solitudes, to tell his fondest memories.

You would not understand, perhaps, if he said: "It's the wind blowing through the valley, the moon perched between two spruce trees, the waterfall hissing, the gurgle of the brook, the shrill cry of the hawk to the cliff above its nest, the nostalgic singing of the finch, the lapping of the wave on the boat, the small Eskimo who smiled at his mother in the hood of the anorak, the find on a pebble on the beach that tells the story of the land or, on the slope, a plant that nobody has ever seen, an insignificant, unnamed grass which adds a link to human knowledge."

These are great adventures.

Jacques Rousseau, in “Toundra,” 1950.

Virtual exhibit: Jacques Rousseau

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