Nathalie Bondil, the former director and chief curator of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) who sued the institution’s board of trustees for wrongful dismissal and defamation following her controversial 2020 dismissal by the president of counsel Michel de la Chennelière, reached a settlement with the entity. How much the council will pay Bondil has not been disclosed; in her original lawsuit, filed last September in the Superior Court of Canada, she sought a total of $1.5 million, claiming $750,000 in moral damages and $750,000 in punitive damages.
Bondil had worked at the MMFA for more than two decades when she was fired and was widely credited with raising the institution’s international profile since becoming its director in 2007. De la Chennelière said her dismissal was due to the deterioration of the working climate under his leadership. ; his position was supported by approximately one hundred former and current museum staff. Bondil maintained that he 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 after his dismissal, which shocked many, the Minister of Culture of Quebec, Nathalie Roy, opened an audit of the board of directors of the MMFA and asked the museum to return a subsidy of 7.5 millions of dollars. De la Chennelière resigned in September but remained on the board as the French-Canadian conservative launched her lawsuit, which alleged in part that the board “orchestrated, conducted and continues to conduct an intentional campaign of defamation and destruction. of her reputation with the sole purpose of hiding the real reason that prompted him to fire her, which is her refusal to publicly endorse the irregular process that led to the hiring of the director of the museum’s curatorial division.
In October 2020, the MMFA appointed Stéphane Aquin, who at the time was chief curator of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, as its new director. Bondil in April 2021 was chosen to lead the museums and exhibitions division of the Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris.