Honorary degree citation - Max Stern*
By: Sandra Paikowsky, June 1985
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you, Max Stern, noted Montreal art dealer, a man of exceptional culture, and a great public benefactor of the arts.
Fleeing from Nazi Germany, he opened an art gallery in London in 1935; he then established himself in Montreal in 1942 by assuming the directorship of the Dominion Gallery which he had joined two years before. In his new capacity, Max Stern brought to public attention, the most advanced Canadian art then being produced in this country. The lengthy list of his exhibitions reads like a history of Canadian art in the 1940's. He exhibited both the well known Group of Seven and the young revolutionary Automatistes. He was the first dealer in Montreal to bring us the art of Western Canada and he gave Emily Carr, the only commercially successful exhibition of her lifetime.
As well, he also regularly presented the work of major 20th century European painters and sculptors Picasso, Braque, Leger and Kandinsky, to cite but a few. Subsequently, he was a founding member of the Art Dealers Association of Canada which has been instrumental in supporting donations to public institutions.
Max Stern, himself, has been a notable benefactor, donating art work to major museums and galleries across Canada. Last year, he presented a gift of drawings by the eminent Montreal critic and painter John Lyman, to the permanent collection of our Concordia Art Gallery.
His unusual collection of documentary photographs of Canadian art works, his papers, and his correspondences with artists from across this country is a virtually unique and invaluable archive of modern Canadian art history. Both Max Stern and his Dominion Gallery are Montreal institutions.
Mr. Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Max Stern, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.