By Dorota Kozinska

In art and in war, in sport and in literature, the horse has been the theme of endless forms of expression, and exploitation.

But that's not what the captivating exhibition at Montreal's Archaeology and History Complex, Pointe-à-Callière, is about.

This is an homage, both to man and horse, a paean to an idealised union between human and beast, and one man's aesthetic vision.

Of Horses and Men - not to be confused with a 2013 Icelandic movie by the same title - showcases the Émile Hermès Collection, Paris; a private collection of some 250 incredible objects.

This is a tremendously rich collection in fact, both in historical and cultural terms, tracing the history of the horse and its relationship with man.

Until now, only a few privileged visitors have been able to see the collection, housed on a reserved floor at 24 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.

As with any private collection, the artifacts on display are also a way of understanding the personality of the collector, Émile-Maurice Hermès (1871-1951), a lover of the equestrian world and everything associated with it.

He collected literally thousands of works of art, books, and rare and unusual objects throughout his lifetime.

As with any exhibition on such a wide topic, Of Horses and Men is divided into sections, from A tribute to the horse, through On the horse's trail, to The time of horses and carriages.

The exhibition ends with a glimpse into Émile Hèrmes's mythical office from which he managed his ever-expanding firm.

A sumptuous catalogue, Of Horses and Men – The Émile Hermès Collection, Paris, accompanies this exhibition; a 128-page publication with stunning illustrations and previously unpublished texts, and available in English and French at the museum's gift shop, as are the famous Hèrmes silk scarves...

The exhibition Of Horses and Men, featuring items from The Émile Hermès Collection, Paris, was produced by Pointe-à-Callière in collaboration with Hermès International.

Of Horses and Men
Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Museum of Ar­che­ol­o­gy and History
350, place Royale
Montréal Québec
From May 20 to October 16, 2016

Square Victoria->

More(lien externe)about the exhibition at the museum
Further reading:
Vanity Fair, September 2007
From Hermès to Eternity,(lien externe)by Laura Jacobs
Hermès,(lien externe)Paris

Sculpture by Christian Renonciat representing Pegasus, wings outspread. Created in 1984 from beech, blued steel and leather.
Émile Hermès Collection, Paris © Studio Sébert
Equestrian portrait of Louis XIV
Portrait from the studio of René Antoine Houasse, ca. 1679.
 Oil on canvas.
Émile Hermès Collection, Paris © Studio Sébert
Phæton Hippomobile
This luxury pleasure carriage featured an open, low-slung body, making for easy mounting, and could be fitted with a collapsible top. A Phaeton was designed to be driven by the owner, so it did not feature a box seat for the coachman. However, a rear bench could be used by the groom. Made by Million et Guiet. Early 20th century, Paris.
Musées de la civilisation, Québec, Paul-Bienvenu endowment.
© Denis Deziel
Sidesaddle stirrup
A magnificent sidesaddle stirrup in copper alloy and moonstone from South America, 19th century.
Émile Hermès Collection, Paris © Studio Sébert
Rocking horse
The family’s fiery rocking horse dates from the 19th century. Generations of Hermès children have rocked on it since Julie Hermès introduced it into the family.
Émile Hermès Collection, Paris © Studio Sébert
Drawing of a horse and harness by Philippe Dumas
© Dessins Philippe Dumas
A kind of muzzle, the noseband helps control the horse and prevents a spirited stallion from biting. Made of iron, this German example was forged in the late 16th century. Its decorations include lions, foliage scrolls, and a stag’s head.
Émile Hermès Collection, Paris © Studio Sébert
Brides de gala silk scarf
These carrés have become inseparable from the Hermès brand. This one first appeared in 1957 and depicts a set of festive bridles. Designed by Hugo Grygkar, who is among Hermès’s most prolific scarf designers.
Collection of the Conservatoire des créations Hermès, Paris
© Studio des Fleurs