Born in Saint-Hilaire, Paul-Émile Borduas had a profound influence on the development of the arts in Quebec. He first studied with Ozias Leduc, who took him on as an apprentice in some of his projects to decorate churches in Sherbrooke, Halifax and Montreal. He then studied at the School of Fine Arts in Montreal from 1923 to 1927 and at the Ateliers d’Art Sacré in Paris from 1928 to 1930. Back in Montreal during the economic crisis Borduas had to fall back on teaching for a living. He got a job at the École du Meuble in 1937 and discovered automatism, inspired by advice that Leonardo da Vinci had given his students. In 1942, he exhibited 45 surrealist works at the Salle de l’Hermitage in Montreal, which also included several "Automatiste" works. His art influenced many young artists, making him the leader of the "Automatiste Movement". In 1948, he published, along with several other artists, the manifesto "Refus global" in which he denounced the conservative ideology of the preservation of past values, the Catholoc Church and the right-wing nationalism of Maurice Duplessis. This caused him to lose his job at the École du Meuble, after which he was forced to sell his house in Saint-Hilaire and exile himself in New York, where artistic research could be expressed more freely. In 1955, Borduas left for Paris in the hope of receiving more recognition in France, but unfortunately did not find the success he had hoped for. He died of a heart attack in Paris on February 21st, 1960, leaving behind an outstanding body of work. His influence on the development of art in Quebec is undeniable. |
1949 Borduas sold by Klinkhoff "magnificent" and "especially rare"
Spectacular painting by Paul-Émile Borduas is key in following the evolution of the artist's oeuvre
Jean-Paul Riopelle Artist Page
The Automatistes Group Page
Paul-Émile Borduas remembered by Walter Klinkhoff
In Paris, Borduas was living in his studio where he had a mattress on the floor in the corner. He painted at that time enormous black and white abstractions and occasionally some of more manageable dimensions, which I bought. Obviously hard up for money, Borduas never tried to sell and did not really like to part with any of his work. The last picture I bought was a 20" x 24" canvas. A Montreal architect borrowed it. He had been a good customer, but of late, having already too many pictures, he usually brought back what he took. The price was $375, and the day after he took it the papers reported the sudden death of the artist. This time I did not get the picture back and years later it was resold for a very high price.