William Ronald was a graduate of the Ontario College of Art who quickly found that abstract painters could not get their work exhibited inToronto galleries. Working for the Robert Simpson Co. department store, he persuaded management to pair abstract paintings with furniture displays, thereby discovering a way to get the public to accept non-representational art. Despite the success of that show, Abstracts at Home, Ronald resented the city’s general attitude toward its artists and moved to the United States, eventually becoming an American citizen. Ronald shared a studio with Frank Stella and joined the stable of artists at Manhattan’s Kootz Gallery, where he was put on retainer. He was quickly accepted by critics and collectors and enjoyed a multi-year period of success. Eventually, Ronald returned to Toronto, as a landed immigrant in the country of his birth, partly for personal reasons and partly because he could not agree with Kootz. He was made a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts
Besides painting , he became known as a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) journalist, hosting such shows as Umbrella and As It Happens, a columnist for the Toronto Telegram, and host of a Citytv variety show. He continued to paint through the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, moving to Montreal, Quebec, and then to Barrie, Ontario where he maintained an active studio. He gained some notoriety for his portrait series of Canadian Prime Ministers, a pioneering highly abstracted portrayal of heads of government opened by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in Toronto. The exhibition toured Canada, despite warnings not to exhibit the less than flattering portrait of then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. They are currently part of the permanent collection of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery in Kitchener, Ontario. Never a stranger to criticism or polemics, Ronald loved to paint in public, frequently hiring strippers and showgirls to dance around him as he painted. He continued to paint until his death in 1998 and in fact suffered a heart attack while painting. He lived long enough to name the work Heart Attack and succumbed a few days later.
Léo Ayotte was born in a family of modest means, he began his studies at the College Séraphique and at Trois-Rivières Seminary, and finally, in Nicolet. He abandoned his studies at the end of his rhetoric and began to compose poems and paint.
In 1938, Ayotte moved to Montreal and worked as a model at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Not being registered, Ayotte could not follow the lessons, but his work there as a model and as a janitor allowed him to listen in on classes. Without money, he also picked up the half-empty tubes left by careless students and used them to paint. The director Maillard told him later after he saw one of his paintings: “You are my best student.”
Through his art career and lectures, Ayott was able to save enough money to fulfil his dream of visiting France. In July 1962, he went to visit the Louvre Museum, which moved him to tears. He visited his friend François Hertel and Robert Roussil, a sculptor, and the painter Jean Dallaire. He ended his trip on the French Riviera where he spent a lot of time painting with his niece, Louise-Helene Ayotte, who has just been awarded the Consul of France at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.
After a year in France, he returned to Canada, where he participated in numerous exhibitions throughout Quebec until 1975. Suffering from cancer, he was transported on December 18, 1976 to the Hospital of Saint-Hyacinthe where he died three days later on December 21, 1976.
Ayotte began writing and doing landscape sketches at an early age. His love of nature brought him to painting. Mostly self-taught, he had a unique style. Ayotte often used a single brush to achieve a work. From a single stroke and with spontaneity Ayotte always achieved a successful painting with his first attempt, never having to make corrections or touch-ups.Except for his portraits, he painted without preliminary drawings, taking the time to make observations before starting to paint. The bold and lively colors that emerged from his brush captured the essence of his subjects. His colorful landscapes are real hymns to nature. His still lifes and portraits, charged with emotion, led him to be considered a major artist in Quebec.
Jean Paul Riopelle, painter, sculptor and engraver (b at Montréal 7 Oct 1923, d at Île-aux-Grues, Qué Mar 12 2002). He trained under two completely different masters: the academic painter Henri Bisson, who considered even the Impressionists a bit too extreme, and Paul-Émile BORDUAS, who was totally immersed in the avant-garde and surrealist movements. Borduas eventually won him over, and Riopelle joined the AUTOMATISTES school, exhibited with them in Montréal in 1946 and 1947, and in 1948 signed the REFUS GLOBAL (worldwide refusal) manifesto.However, Riopelle’s heart remained in Paris, where he finally settled. It was there that he found his vision, which he referred to as a controlled hazard. In Paris he was briefly associated with the surrealists and was the only Canadian to exhibit with them in 1947. In the end, however, he found that he had more of an affinity with what was known as the Lyrical Abstraction group. The 1950s were devoted to Paris (the critic Georges Duthuit took an interest in his work) and the Americas (the biennial exhibitions in São Paulo in 1951 and 1955, the Younger European Painters exhibition at the Guggenheim in 1953, the International Exhibitions in Pittsburgh in 1958 and 1961). This was also the period of his “grand mosaics,” paintings created using a spatula from multicoloured elements juxtaposed in a manner that recalls a landscape viewed from an airplane.
During the 1960s Riopelle diversified his means of expression, turning also to ink on paper, watercolours, lithography, collage and oils. He also began taking more risks in his painting, as if he were seeking to undo his past successes in order to explore new avenues. His paintings became more chaotic and more matierist, with Riopelle demanding of his materials that they free him of form, his own form. The large painting Point de rencontre (Point of Intersection) (1963), which was intended for the Toronto airport but is now at the Opéra Bastille in Paris, is the masterpiece from this period.
Beginning in 1969, Riopelle completed several sculptures, including the fountain in Montréal’s Olympic Stadium, which is called La joute (The Match) in honour of the hockey players who were his childhood sports heroes. In painting, he started the Hiboux (Owls) series, and at the same time developed an interest in Inuit string figures. In 1972, after the death of his mother, he returned to Québec and built a studio at Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson in the Laurentians. A trip to the Great North introduced him to unfamiliar black and white landscapes, resulting in the Icebergs series.
It is often said of Riopelle that he “returned to figures” in the 1980s, but it could also be said that he never really left them. He started the Oies blanches series on white geese, great migrators like Riopelle himself. At the same time, he abandoned traditional painting methods in favour of aerosol spray cans and often created works of art that resembled photographic negatives; that is to say, he projected his colour of choice onto an object that he then withdrew in a way that left only a negative impression of form on the canvas. His Hommage à Rosa Luxemburg (1992), which now hangs in the Hull Casino, marks the high point of this period and is considered to be Riopelle’s artistic legacy. It is also a tribute to love, to the American painter Joan Mitchell who was his companion for 25 years. In 1981 he was the first signatory of the Refus Global manifesto to be awarded the prestigious Paul-Émile Borduas prize. Riopelle established his studios at Estérel, but he lived out his last years at Île-aux-Grues, upriver from Québec.
Rene Richard, was born in Switzerland in 1895. His family relocated to Alberta, Canada in 1909, when Rene was only 9 years old. He began his studies in fine art in Edmonton in 1926.
The following year, he visited New York, but eventually settled in Paris in 1927. While in Paris, he studied at Academie de la Grande Chaumiere and at the Academie Colarossi until 1930. It was in France that he met Clarence Gagnon and James Wilson Morris.
Clarence Gagnon will have a big influence on the young Richard, it’s him who conviced him to capture on paper or on wood board the everyday scenery of Richard’s wild trapping adventures, he also introduced the artist to the magnificient region of Charlevoix.
Back in Canada by 1930, he began trapping animals in Western Canada and in the Arctic until 1942. Spending so much time living outdoors in the middle of the woods, inspired this artist to paint the beauty of the great Canadian landscape. He has worked in several mediums including, pencil, charcoal, watercolor and oil.
After his stint in the arctic, he moved to the Baie Saint-Paul region of Charlevoix, where the scenery is unique. His mentor, Clarence Gagnon, had now successfully convinced Rene Richard to dedicate himself to painting. He settled down, and wedded with Blanche Cimon. In the 50’s he left a few times the comfort of his Baie St-Paul home to explore the northerns territories.
From 1948 to 1950, Rene Richard exhibited his work at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art and held several solo exhibitions at the Musée de Quebec from 1967-1977. He is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and his paintings can now be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, at le Musée de Quebec, the Universite de Laval, and in Several Galleries across Canada.
René Richard Rene Richard
René Richard (1895–1982) is remembered as a remarkable and charming man who followed his passions. He spent the first half of his life in search of himself, surviving in the wilderness in harsh conditions. Richard’s father had emigrated from Switzerland to settle in Alberta, but Richard chose a nomadic existence among the Cree and Inuit in Canada’s North. All alone in these wide empty spaces, Richard became an artist. In 1927, he decided to study painting in Paris, where he met Canadian painter Clarence Gagnon. Upon his return to Canada in 1930, he again took up trapping, this time in Manitoba, before finally settling in Baie-Saint-Paul where he spent the rest of his life, painting the luminous, brightly-coloured landscapes of the Charlevoix region in a style halfway between traditional figurative painting and the emerging Quebec expressionism of the 1950s. Richard’s work shines a light on many aspects of Canada’s natural landscape and social history and represents a major contribution to Canadian art.
A PAINTER OF WIDE OPEN SPACES AND CANADA’S NORTH
René Richard is without doubt one of the Canadian painters who best captured the North—its loneliness, rudimentary living conditions, and vast open spaces marked by the seasons. His prolific output stands as an impressive contribution to Canadian art: hundreds of works made up mostly of studies, drawings—a category that encompasses rough sketches, sanguine crayon, charcoal and pencil crayon as well as more detailed oil pochades and drawings in pencil crayon and felt pen—and small and large format oil paintings
No exhaustive catalogue raisonné of Richard’s work has yet been produced. Most works are housed in museums, government buildings, universities, private businesses and private collections. René Richard belongs among those Canadian artists who, like the Group of Seven, dedicated themselves to depicting Canada’s wide open spaces and vast wilderness
Whereas Canadian landscape paintings rarely depict human figures, Richard’s are often populated with the silhouettes of trappers, hunters and First Nations or Inuit people, as well as their sled dogs, tents, and huts. These silhouettes enter the landscape to bear witness to a way of life that, from adolescence into his forties, Richard shared with the trappers and aboriginal peoples of northern Alberta and Yukon, Nunavut and the Beaufort Sea area. Richard’s highly personal and somewhat expressionistic style conveys the struggle for human survival amidst the harsh northern environment of polar deserts, vast forests and rivers.
EaRLY LIFE AND IMMIGRATION: THE CALL OF NATURE
René Jeanrichard (later shortened to “Richard”) was only 11 when he began working at the family watch factory, where his father engraved pocket watches. A financial setback was behind Richard’s father’s abrupt decision to gather his sons and set off for Canada.
Vieux souvenirs, 1934
In those years the recently completed railway had opened up Canada for settlement and the government was working hard to attract European immigrants. The Prairies were promoted as “the last, best west” and free land was offered to those willing to homestead and work the land for three years(NOTE 4). This was the prevailing economic and social context when René Richard’s father landed with his three sons in Quebec City in 1909, before continuing westward to Edmonton the following year. Years later, the painter remembered those early days vividly: “We had loaded two wagons with everything a settler could need before leaving…The outfitters had us convinced that we would find a land of milk and honey. We set off for Cold Lake with four horses.” But Cold Lake proved disappointing. “We had to kiss our dreams of Eldorado goodbye…In the end, the ‘land rush’ had a lot in common with the gold rush of yore.”
Richard’s mother and four sisters eventually rejoined the men. The family had little choice but to work like slaves, “learning to live as settlers in the harshest, most demanding manner conceivable, without a moments rest either during the week or on Sunday.” Tiring of this ceaseless labour, the father finally gave up working the land.
THE TRAPPER’S LIFE: AN APPRENTICESHIP IN SOLITUDE
Disenchanted with the settler life, Young René was far more interested by that of the First Nations. The tents on the lake shore, the birch bark canoes and horses—everything about the freedom of these nomadic hunters’ existence exerted an irresistible pull on the young man. “Maybe I was attracted to this untamed life as a reaction against my childhood, when I had to work in a watch factory after school.”
Trappeurs et enfant
The clash of his childhood memories with “the freedom the Indians seemed to possess” inspired Richard to take to the woods with a friend named Charly. The pair spent entire days roaming the area on snowshoe, learning the valuable lessons this country of forests and lakes had to teach them about living in the wild. Richard crossed paths with people of all origins, accompanied by their dog teams, and repeatedly visited the aboriginal people camped along the lake, whose free way of life he admired. Finally, he decided to make this way of life his own.
For thirteen years, from 1913 to 1926, Richard learned the woodsman’s and trapper’s ways. With only a packsack, he travelled by snowshoe in winter and canoe in summer, criss-crossing northern Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and even the Northwest Territories (now Nunavut). From Edmonton via Dawson, then a key stop for gold seekers en route to Alaska, he traveled down the Mackenzie River to the Beaufort Sea where he spent time with the Inuvialuit. He would, however, always return to Edmonton. It was there that he took his first drawing classes. Attracted by painting, he decided to leave for France to study at a reputed academy in Paris.
THE STUDENT IN PARIS: NATURE TRUMPS CULTURE
Val d’Anivier, 1928
In early 1927 Richard registered at Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where Quebec painters Kittie Bruneau and Jean-Paul Lemieux would also study, and took a room at a small hotel near Montparnasse. Little interested in the other students’ internecine squabbles over competing artistic currents, he was almost ready to pack it in and go home after four months spent mastering his technique. Fortunately, the Montreal painter Clarence Gagnon took Richard under his wing. Gagnon encouraged him to visit the museums and to draw and paint in the street. Falling back on his nomadic ways, Richard would also periodically pack his knapsack and set off to explore the countryside. In this way he traversed the Haute-Savoie region, the Côte-d’Azur, and even Switzerland, invariably returning to Paris with a great many drawings and paintings. Richard returned to Canada in 1930.
Once home, he discovered the familiar landscapes that occupied his dreams. He recalls spending his days “hanging around,” drawing the First Nations people on the neighbouring reserve. But the woodsman’s life was calling. In August 1930 Richard outfitted himself and headed for the wilderness. There he began drawing and painting like a man possessed. It was during this period of intense production that Richard came into his style. He still led the life of an outdoorsman, but paints and pencils were always now part of his gear. Unable to afford paper or canvas, he used rolls of butcher’s paper cut down to the desired size. He would even scrape the paint off previously painted boards, destroying old works to make way for new ones.
Richard hadn’t forgotten his long-standing dream of tackling the Churchill River; he successfully completed the perilous journey in 1933. But the growing desire to paint would lead Richard to change his life. In 1938 he accepted his former mentor Clarence Gagnon’s invitation and moved to Montréal.
THE BAIE SAINT-PAUL YEARS: A HOME, ARTISTIC MATURITY, AND RECOGNITION
Maison à St-Hilarion
Summer 1938 was a pivotal moment in Richard’s life. It began on Île d’Orléans, near Quebec City, where Richard helped Gagnon take inventory of the works of Horatio Walker, a recently deceased painter. Then the two visited Baie-Saint-Paul. They stayed with the Cimon family, who had often put up Gagnon on his earlier trips to paint the Charlevoix region. Then, through Gagnon’s friendship with the deputy hunting and fishing minister , René obtained a position as a game warden in the Parc de la Montagne de la Table at the foot of Mont Albert on the Gaspé Peninsula. This ideal seasonal job allowed Richard to earn a living through the fall while giving him time to paint in the open air. Unfortunately, a government decision eliminated the position and the following autumn found Richard unemployed. His savings were enough to get him back to Baie-Saint-Paul and the hospitable Cimon family. Richard loved both the town and its landscape; he could see why it was his friend Clarence Gagnon’s favourite place. He moved in with the Cimons, who greatly appreciated the odd jobs he did for the family. Blanche, the family daughter, was won over by his thoughtfulness and consideration. The two married in 1942, despite opposition from some relatives. Not everyone in town approved of this atheist outsider; rumour even had it that Richard was a Russian spy! Fortunately, everything settled down in the end.
From that point forward, René Richard dedicated himself to his art full-time. In 1943, he sold his first paintings and held his first exhibition at L’Art Français, a Montréal gallery. It was a smash: within a day and a half, every painting had been sold. Richard was able to pay back his debts. His work was then looked after by high profile galleries in Montreal (Klinkhoff) and Quebec City (Zanettin). René Bergeron in Chicoutimi also continued to show Richard’s work.
René Richard, 1969
Richard’s reputation started growing. Artists, journalists and celebrities began knocking on his door. His routine was to receive guests over tea after his afternoon nap. His paintings were arranged for daylight viewing on the balcony of his large studio, adjoining the house. In 1948 and 1951 he joined expeditions to the Far North as a government consultant. These trips inspired the large-format northern landscapes Richard painted from memory between 1950 and 1965. In later years he chiefly produced scenes of the Charlevoix region where he made his home. He also became close friends with the authors Gabrielle Royand Félix-Antoine Savard, among others. During Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 1959 royal visit the couple was presented with a large René Richard painting depicting the Saguenay Fjord with two capes, Trinité and Éternité, in the background.
In 1973, at age 78, Richard was decorated with the Order of Canada. He travelled Europe with his wife Blanche and friends, including a visit to La Chaux-de-Fonds in his native Switzerland. Once home, he put aside painting and took up drawing again. Eye problems forced him to adopt new techniques, which he used to draw scenes of the Far North from memory with felt pens and colour pencils. During these years Richard divided his time between his garden, his friends and his drawing. In 1975, he illustrated Gabrielle Roy’s La montagne sécrète (translated as The Hidden Mountain) whose main character, Pierre Cadorai, was based on Richard. Another illustrated book, a new edition of Félix-Antoine Savard’s seminal novelMenaud, maître draveur (translated as both Boss of the River and Master of the River) came out in 1979. In 1980, Richard was made member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. Two years later, one of his works depicting Nunavut, Great Slave Lake, was chosen by Canada Post for its 12 stamp themed series, “Canada Through the Eyes of its Artists.” René Richard died that same year, at age 86. His ashes were scattered from a helicopter over Parc des Laurentides near Baie-Saint-Paul, where a lake now bears his name.
René Richard will be remembered as a man with a zest for life, a man who realized his dream of capturing both the beauty and the violence of Canada’s arid, inhospitable, and often tumultuous wilderness, and lived to fulfill his dreams.
COMMEMORATING AN ARTIST’S HERITAGE
René Richard, September 9, 1978
René Richard’s immense talent was widely recognized by the late 1960s. Several major exhibitions of his work were held both during his lifetime (Musée du Québec, 1967 and 1978) and posthumously (City of Montréal, 1986; Villa Bagatelle, Quebec City, 1990; Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, 1992–1993; Centre d’Art de Baie-Saint-Paul, 1993; and Domaine Cataraqui, Quebec City, 1996).
In 1978 Richard’s home and the Cimon property in Baie-Saint-Paul were designated cultural properties. Twelve years later, in 1990, the house was made into an interpretation centre dedicated to Richard’s life and work. The center also welcomes visiting artists in residence. Another monument to Richard’s memory is Espace René Richard in the J.A. DeSève Pavillion at Quebec City’s Laval University, where a large wooden sculpture of a canoe evokes Richard’s love of this traditional mode of transport. Richard’s peers have also paid tribute in various ways. In 1993, the sculptor Gérard Thériault made a bust of Richard, now housed at the René Richard library in Baie-Saint-Paul. Another bust sits atop a monument in the Saint Roch garden in Quebec City, along with monuments to fellow painters Alfred Pellan and Horatio Walker. And a documentary drama based on Richard’s life and work, Sur les pas de René Richard, was produced in 2003
Filming of the documentary drama on Richard’s life, Sur les pas de René Richard, 2003
In October 1980 Richard donated a sizeable collection of his work to Laval University: 46 paintings and sketches as well as a dozen drawings used to illustrate Menaud, Maître-draveur. On his death he bequeathed a second collection of 131 paintings and drawings to the university. The René Richard foundation, created to commemorate the artist’s life and work, endows several scholarships awarded annually to Laval University visual arts students. In these myriad ways the legacy of this artist who so loved wide open spaces and freedom lives on.
Merci à Mme Esther Pelletier, professeur Université Laval
Philip Surrey fut un artiste peintre et un journaliste. Surrey est né à Calgary le 8 octobre 1910 et meurt le 7 mai 1990 à Montréal. La carrière de Philip Surrey commence alors qu’il n’a que 16 ans, engagé pour illustrer la revue de Winnipeg. En 1926, il part pour étudier à l’École d’art de Winnipeg. Pendant 6 ans, il suit des cours d’art à l’école de Vancouver. La peinture des paysages urbains et ses scènes de nuit sont la raison pour laquelle il est rendu si loin. Surrey a peint surtout à l’huile, à l’aquarelle, au pastel et plusieurs autres techniques, selon son sujet et sa composition.
Louis Muhlstock was born in Narajow, Poland. In 1911, his family moved to Canada and settled in Montreal, Quebec. While studying at Montreal High School, he attended evening classes at Council of Arts and Manufacturers under Edmond Dyonnet and Joseph St-Charles. Following his graduation from high school, he studied at the Art Association of Montreal under William Brymner. When the AAM closed in 1923, he attended the evening classes of the Royal Canadian Academy (given at the AAM) under George H. Russell, Charles Simpson, Albert H. Robinson, Maurice Cullen and Edmond Dyonnet. In 1925, on his first submission for an exhibition, one of his works was accepted at the Royal Canadian Academy exhibition. From 1926 to 1927, he enrolled at École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal and took classes under F. Charpentier. In 1928 he went to France where he furthered his studies at the studio of Louis-François Biloul until 1931. While in France, he also frequented the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and exhibited works at the Salon de la Société des Artistes Français in Paris. His summers were spent sketching in the French provinces and in Belgium, and visiting museums.
When Muhlstock returned to Montreal in 1931, the great depression was well underway. He frequented Fletcher’s Field, an open area in Montreal, where he sketched and drew the unemployed lying asleep on the grass or sitting staring morosely into space. Because of his work’s social content and his profound humanity, he came to be known as an artist of “proletarian significance”. In 1932, he held his first solo show at the Montreal Arts Club. That same year he also exhibited in various group shows including a show at the National Gallery of Canada, the Ontario Society of Artists exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto, the Spring Exhibition of the Art Association of Montreal, the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Canadian Academy show. His work began to attract great interest, his drawings and nudes being recognized as an important part of his corpus, but he also received high acclaim for his portraits and paintings of deserted streets and houses. In order to earn a better living, Muhlstock gave private lessons. He was later able to give up teaching when he began to earn sufficient money with his art. In 1935, he became friends with other Montreal artists such as Jori Smith, Jean Palardy, Marion Scott and Fritz Brandtner, artists with whom he would he later form the Contemporary Art Society (1939) with the help of John Lyman. That same year, he also exhibited seventy drawings during a one-man show at the Art Association of Montreal.
In 1936, Muhlstock took a studio on Ste. Famille Street in Montreal. That year his work was exhibited at the T. Eaton Galleries in Montreal and at the Loan Society in Toronto, where he exhibited again in 1937, 1938, 1939 and 1942. In 1937, he was elected a member of the Canadian Society of Graphic Art and the following year he became a member of the Canadian Group of Painters. In 1939 he took part in the Four Artists’ Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Toronto along side Henri Masson, André Biéler and Philip Surrey. In 1941 he participated at the Kingston Conference and became an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists, thus helping Canadian artists take part to the War efforts. Starting in 1943, Muhlstock and Fritz Brandtner frequented the old port of Montreal where they sketched the factory workers of the Canadian Vickers, the United Shipyards and the Defence Industries limited. They later showed their works at the National Gallery of Canada during the two-man show Exhibition of Works in Canadian War Plants by Fritz Brandtner and Louis Muhlstock.
From the mid-forties to the late 1950’s, Muhlstock painted and exhibited at many major venues in Canada and abroad such as Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT (1944), the National Gallery of Canada (1945, 1949-1950), Graphic Arts Society exhibition in Sao Paolo, Brazil (1946), Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris (1946), Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec (1948, along with Jean Dallaire, Franklin Arbuckle and others), the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA (1949), Vancouver Art Gallery (1950), National Gallery of Art, Washigton, DC (1950), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1952), Exposition Internationale, Lugano, Switzerland (1954) and at the International Exhibition, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburg, PA (1955).
In 1959, Muhlstock bought a house on Ste. Famille Street, not too far from where his first studio was, and held a one-man show of his works at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1961, he participated in the Biennial of Canadian Painting held at the National Gallery of Canada and the following year held another one-man show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Over the course of the next decades, Muhlstock kept painting and exhibiting in a variety of places such as the Centre Culturel de la Ville de Verdun (1972, 1994) National Gallery of Canada (1975, 1989), Art Gallery of Windsor (1976), Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (1976), Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1977), Edmonton Art Gallery (1978, 1980, 1988), Place des Arts, Montreal (1978, 1987), Musée des Beaux-Arts de Sherbrooke (1986), Saidye-Bronfman Centre, Montreal (1987, 1989), Bishop’s University, Lennoxville (1990, 1993), Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Montreal (1993) and others. In 1978, Muhlstock received an Honorary Doctorate from Concordia University and he was also honoured in 1990 by the Society of the Jewish People’s Schools & Peretz Schools. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1991 and held a one-man show at the opening of the Loto-Québec gallery in Montreal that same year. In 1995, the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec organised a major retrospective show and in 1998, he was made Chevalier de l’Ordre du Québec. He died in Montreal at the age of 97.
Adrien Hébert’s artistic career may be said to have begun in 1909 when he exhibited for the first time at the AAM’s Salon du printemps, a venue that regularly featured his works up until 1954. From 1910 to 1960 his paintings were shown at the annual exhibitions of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
Adrien Hébert, painter (b at Paris, 12 April 1890; d at Montréal 26 June 1967). Son of sculptor Louis Philippe Hébert (1850-1917) and of Maria-Emma-Cordélia Roy (1856-1942). His childhood was spent as much in Canada as in France, his father having been commissioned to create a series of sculptures to adorn the facade of the Parliament Buildings in Québec City. From 1902 to 1911, he attended Montréal’s Conseil des arts and manufactures, taking courses from EdmondDyonnet (1859-1954), Joseph-Charles Franchière (1866-1921) and Joseph Saint-Charles (1866-1956). He also studied under WilliamBrymner (1855-1925) at the Art Association of Montréal, which later became the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (see Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal).
The Early Beginnings
Adrien Hébert’s artistic career may be said to have begun in 1909 when he exhibited for the first time at the AAM’s Salon du printemps, a venue that regularly featured his works up until 1954. From 1910 to 1960 his paintings were shown at the annual exhibitions of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts. In 1916, he mounted a show at the Saint-Sulpice Library in Montréal with his sculptor brother, Henri Hébert(1884-1950), and in 1918 he also collaborated with his brother to publish Le Nigog, a review advocating modern literary and painterly aesthetics in opposition to the regional modes prevailing in Québec.
A Style Recalling Cézanne
His 1922-23 residence in France saw him painting Ardèche landscapes and Paris scenes, along with portraits of friends in a style recalling Cézanne. Returning to Montréal at the end of the summer of 1923, he taught design at the Conseil des arts et manufactures. After this date, his artistic style took on a more distinctive form as he discovered a painterly interest in the port of Montréal. What struck him about the port, in addition to the ships discharging cargo and the dockers working, was the beauty of the harbour’s architecture exemplified in the huge grain silos and in the footbridges connecting the wharves. Such structures afforded him the opportunity to compose highly formalized pictures that depicted the port’s dizzying activity translated by a pictorial evocation of sound and motion.
The Urban Landscape
Hébert’s love for the city manifested itself in his urban paintings: from this time and for many more years, he produced works which depict metropolitan streets, often those close to his studio in Sainte-Julie (now Christin) Street. These works capture images of pedestrians coming and going and of cars and trams travelling down rain-wet roadways or snow-swept streets. In March 1931 at the Galerie A. Barreiro in Paris, he exhibited 20 canvases representing his favourite subjects. That year the city of Montréal commissioned him to do a large-scale historical work on the topic of Jacques Cartier arriving atHochelaga in 1535. In 1941, he was elected to membership in the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
Upon Henri’s death in 1950, Adrien moved into his brother’s studio on Labelle Street, a studio originally built by their father. During this period he painted the region of Chicoutimi encouraged by Armand Hébert, his nephew, whose job it was to promote the Saguenay. In 1953, Adrien received his third Jessie Dow prize, this time awarded by the AAM for his canvas S.S. Empress of Canada.
The next year, upon his retirement from teaching for the Catholic School Board of Montréal, Hébert went to French West Africa, travelling on to France at the start of 1955. On his return he displayed works based on this voyage in his Montréal studio. He remounted the show in the Hélène de Champlain the following year. After the demolition of his studio in 1963, the painter installed himself in a house he bought in Westmount.
Throughout his career, Hébert saw himself as an urban painter, even if he often worked on Belair Island, where his family owned a country property. A month after his death, Mayor Jean Drapeau presented one of Hébert’s Port-of-Montréal scenes to General Charles de Gaulle on the occasion of the latter’s visit to Expo 67. In 1971, the National Gallery of Canada organized and toured an exhibition entitled Adrien Hébert, Thirty Years of his Work, and in the summer of 1993, theMusée du Québec commemorated Hebert with an exhibition dedicated to his art.
Gaspé, Adrien Hebert, canadian artist, historical artist, Louis-Philippe Hebert
He completed his classical studies with the Pères de Sainte-Croix and in 1929 attended the School of Fine Arts where he was taught by Joseph Saint-Charles, Edwin Holgate and Charles Maillardé.In the thirties, he obtained a certain amount of success on the Montreal Art scene. In 1939 he obtained a grant from the Quebec Government to study in Paris but war erupted and Cosgrove went to New York instead. He then went to Mexico where he studied at the San Carlo Academy with the great masters Rodriguez Lozano, Jose Clement Orozco and Rivera. He then worked with the great Jose Clemente Orozco as his assistant.
Upon his return to Montreal, he was named professor at the School of Fine Arts. He continued to paint and exhibit his work, namely at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. In 1953, he visited European museums and galleries after receiving a grant from the Canadian Arts Council. Back in Montreal, he continued teaching and then quit in 1958 in order to dedicate himself exclusively to painting. Cosgrove’s canvases represented mostly stiff life and landscapes with a few portraits and nudes. The composition quality of his landscapes was remarkable, creating both fascination and surprise. His paintings radiated mystery and poetry.
Stanley Cosgrove is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy since 1967. His work is found in the following collections: Museum of Québec – Museum of Fine Arts – Vancouver Art Gallery – Art Gallery of Ontario – Canadian National Gallery – Tel-Aviv Museum, Israel – Hart House, Toronto – Winnipeg Art Galleries, Edmonton Art Galleries – National Bank of Canada – Federal Development Bank
Leon Bellefleur was born in Montreal on february 8, 1910. His father objected to his desire to study at Beaux Arts. After graduating from École normale Jacques-Cartier, he starts his career as a school teacher which will last for twenty-five years. He marries Rita Jolicoeur in 1934. They have five children together.
He starts making drawings before he is ten years old. Eventually, he goes into painting. In 1946, he holds his first exhibition presented along with the drawings of the children he is teaching to . The following year, he publishes “Plaidoyer pour l’Enfant”. (Plea in favour of children).
In 1951, he wins the first prize for modern painting at the Spring Exhibition of the Fine Arts Museum of Montreal. He previouly held an exhibition at The Agnès Lefort Gallery. He also participated in a collective exhibition of young artists in Europe and to the Sao Paulo Biennial.
In 1954, he retires from teaching and devotes himself entirely to his art. In the fall, he holds a major exhibition at the Montreal Fine Arts Museum and thereafter leaves with Rita to go and live in Paris where they will spend most of the next ten years. In 1958, his talent is acknowledged by the Arts Council of Canada which grants to Bellefleur a significant scholarship. In France, he joins the surrealists and becomes a friend of André Breton’s. In the midst of the 1960s, he comes back to Quebec which is going through its Quiet Revolution.
Bellefleur’s exhibitions multiply not only in Montreal but also elsewhere in Quebec and in Ontario. But it is in 1968 that full consecration fo his talent takes place: the National Art Gallery holds an important retrospective fo Bellefleur’s works first in Ottawa and then in London, Ontario and finally in Montreal. Bellefleur is awarded a second scholarship by the Arts Council of Canada.
His solo exhibitions continue to multiply as far as London, England in 1973 and Denmark in 1975. In 1977, he becomes the first recipient of the Borduas Award newly created by the Quebec Government. This honour is followed by the Saint Jean Baptiste Society price in 1985. In 1986, a major exhibition of his work is held in Toronto and in 1987 he is awarded a honorary Phd by Concordia University in Montreal.
In 1988, one of the most famous art writers in Quebec, Mr Guy Robert, publishes in both french and english a major book on the life, the carreer and the work of Bellefleur. This book contains unpublished writings by Bellefleur, great pictures of the artist and his family as well as numerous reproductions of the artis’s works from the various periods of his career: drawings,gouaches, etching, lithographs and oil. This book is published by Éditions Iconia and is entitled BELLEFLEUR.
At ninety years old, Léon Bellefleur still has a great enthusiasm and a profound passion for painting. He continues his work. Léon Bellefleur has been a man of great generosity and of great loyalty to people around him, family and friends. He never preoccupied himself with making money, getting honours or reaching celebrity. Humble and truthful, he always believed and said that his work would move along its own course. And he won. Without having compromised on the basic principles of integrity, generosity and respect for others.
Léon Bellefleur is certainly one the great canadian painters of the second half of the twentieth century. And a great human being.
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.