Toupin, Fernand

Fernand Toupin

Fernand Toupin was born in 1930,  Montreal, Quebec, his first studied drawing at the Mont St-Louis in Montreal. In 1949, he enters the night classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montreal. He then studied under Jean-Paul Jérôme from 1949 to 1953 while also frequenting Stanley Cosgrove’s studio. Not being able to live off his art and having a family to feed, he worked at the Municipal Court of the City of Montreal.

In February of 1955, Jean-Paul Jérôme, Louis Belzile, Jauran (Rodolphe de Repentigny, Art critic and artist) and Fernand Toupin lauched the “Manifeste des Plasticiens” during a show held in Montreal. In this they advocated a pure strain in painting. They declared that their ultimate goal was “unity in painting, pure order with no incidentals, and a spontaneous expression of the subconscious”. Their paintings resolved themselves into coloured geometric shapes, eliminating such aspects as suggestion of visible space and ultimately textural effects. At that time Toupin painted his geometrical forms on irregular canvases or what they called shapped canvases.

In 1957, Toupin became Director of exhibitions at the Conseil Exécutif de l’Association des Artistes Non-Figuratifs de Montréal, position that he would hold for two years. He had already been part of the group since 1956 and had exhibited with them at different places including The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. He kept working for the City of Montreal and painted on his free time.

In the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, he slowly gave up the geometrical and slick painting recipes and started experimenting with a more lyrical and textured works. He exhibited in many solo exhibitions in galleries and also participated to different group exhibitions including “Montréal Collectionne” exhibition (1966) held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the “Canadian Art” travelling exhibition (1966) held in nine Canadian Museums and also the “Panorama de la Peinture au Québec, 1940-1966” exhibition (1967) at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal.

In the beginning of 1970, he was offered a solo exhibition in a Paris gallery and had a sold-out show. From then on he was taken under the care of a Montreal art dealer who flooded Toupin with work and shows. This enabled him to leave his job at the City of Montreal and concentrate on painting and exhibiting in Canada, the United-States and France while participating at different shows all over the world in the next decades; Osaka World fair in 1970; IVe Festival Internationnal de Peinture in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France (Winner of the International Prize for Canada); “Jauran et les Premiers Plasticiens” exhibition at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal in 1977; Art Expo International in New-York in 1980; Tokyo Central Museum in 1990 and many other exhibitions in different Canadian Museums and galleries. During the ‘70s he illustrated books and also helped create decors for different shows at the Grands Ballets Canadien in Montreal. He was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1977. He died at the age of 78.