Paul Vanier Beaulieu
Born in Montreal, Quebec, the eldest of seven children. His father, a barrister, enjoyed painting as a hobby. Paul spends four years at the École des Beaux Arts de Montréal, in two periods (1927-30 et 1936-37), where Robert Pilot teaches him etching. At the Beaux Arts, his friends are Jean Paul Lemieux and Stanley CosgroveIn 1938, he’s saved enough money to travel, and makes his way to Paris, where he joins his brother Claude who’s been there since 1935. Beaulieu then buys a studio in Montparnasse. He studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris (1938) and continues to work in his Paris studio until the Nazi invasion in 1940. As a citizen of a country at war with Germany, he is interned at St-Denis from 1940 to 1944, along with brother Claude, Canadian artist Jean DallaireOver the years he has also exhibited his work in New-York City, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro. He returned to Canada in 1973 and bought a house in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec, where he died 23 years later at age 86. After the war he came back to Montreal where he had two solo shows. He then went back to France to his old Paris studio in 1947 and continued to work and travel around France and Europe during the next two decades. During these years he also exhibited in France, as well as in Canada, at salons and galleries. In 1951 he received a prize for painting at the Quebec Provincial Exhibition and in 1960 he received a grant from the Canadian Arts Council for a study trip to Italy., and 160 other fellow Canadians. Beaulieu continues to paint throughout his internment.
Disappointed by the academic teachings of the École des Beaux Arts, in 1930 he opens a commercial art studio in with Gonsalve Desaulniers, who leaves after one year. With the difficult context of the 30’s, Beaulieu manages to make a living for six years. A chance meeting with a café owner brings him to be hire as a waiter at the café, where he is allowed to exhibit his paintings.
Particularly interested in form and design, he applied his paint liberally with a palette-knife and brush in bright colours. Dorothy Pfeiffer, a Montreal art critic, once wrote in the Montreal Gazette; “… his work is suffused with a subtle and romanesque love of colour.”
Beaulieu’s media include oils, watercolours, lithography and etching. Paul Duval referred to his etchings as “crisp” and used the artist’s aquatint entitled “Illustration” for an example in his book on drawings and prints.
Paul-Vanier Beaulieu has exhibited in Quebec, Toronto, New York, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and other centres. He is represented in major Canadian Museums, the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem, and the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.