Even if she prefers not to intervene in the debate around the sale of the work “Saint Jerome hearing the trumpets of the last judgment” by Jacques-Louis David, the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Québec considers to be beautiful and well the owner of the table that has been bequeathed to us in 1922 by the sisters Genevieve and Henry Cramail.
On Monday, the liberal government and the Parti québécois were asked if the government was to pay the parish to keep the scoreboard valued at $ 6.2 million which, according to them, been “given to the people of Quebec”. The debate followed the decision of the minister of Culture Marie Montpetit to issue a notice of intent of classification to prevent the sale on the table outside of Quebec. The quebec government may be requested to complete the bet, if ever, the Musée de la civilisation and the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal were not able to match the offer of the Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa.
“Personally, I find that the director-general of the Museum of civilization, Stéphan La Roche, has had words very balanced when he said that the painting had been given by individuals, not the State, to a factory”, points out Monsignor Denis Bélanger, parish priest of the parish of Notre-Dame-de-Québec, indicating that it wants to let the dust fall back before re-discussion with the museums. “Currently, we do not intervene. We will have other opportunities to meet with the museums and madam minister. For us, these are partners, they are people who love the Quebec and heritage and we also, we love the Quebec and heritage. I will not be in opposition with these people.”
The parish believes, however, be indeed the owner of the work. “If the sisters Cramail had wanted to bequeath to the State, they would have bequeathed to the Musée du Québec, which already existed at the time. It’s a bit like a legacy, you are really the owner of the property when you inherit. It was their choice to assign this work to the cathedral, and there are not many people who can say that it does not belong to us,” says Archbishop Bélanger.
He also said he was aware of the existing laws and reminded members that the parish has not attempted to sell the work to the international. “In such a case, it would have had to apply for a certificate of export and we have not done it,” he concludes.