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Nathalie Bondil Settles with Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Nathalie Bondil Settles with Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

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Nathalie Bondil Settles with Montreal Museum of Fine Arts

Nathalie Bondil, the former director and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) who sued that institution’s board of directors for wrongful termination and defamation following her controversial 2020 firing by board chair Michel de la Chennelière, has reached a settlement with the entity. The amount the board will pay Bondil has not been revealed; in her initial suit, filed this past September in Canada’s Superior Court, she sought a total of $1.5 million, claiming $750,000 for moral damages and $750,000 for punitive damages.Bondil had worked at the MMFA for more than two decades when she was dismissed and was widely credited with having elevated the institution’s international profile since becoming its director in 2007. De la Chennelière claimed her firing was owing to the deterioration of workplace climate under her leadership; his stance was supported by roughly a hundred of the museum’s former and then-current staffers. Bondil contended that he had fired her because she did not approve of his choice of Mary Desmarais, a relative of two of the museum’s wealthiest donors, as director of the curatorial division. Immediately following her dismissal, which came as a shock to many, Quebec culture minister Nathalie Roy opened an audit of the MMFA board and asked the museum to return a $7.5 million subsidy. De la Chennelière stepped down in September but remained on the board as the French-Canadian curator launched her suit, which alleged in part that the board “orchestrated, led and continues to lead an intentional campaign of defamation and destruction of her reputation with the sole goal of hiding the real reason that pushed it to fire her, which is her refusal to publicly endorse the irregular process that led to the hiring of the director of the curatorial division of the museum.”The MMFA in October 2020 named Stéphane Aquin, who at the time was chief curator of Washington, DC’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, as its new director. Bondil in April of 2021 was tapped to head up the museums and exhibitions division of the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.

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