Marc-Aurèle Suzor-Coté, R.C.A.
Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté was a successful painter, sculptor and church decorator. Born in Arthabaska, Quebec on April 5, 1869, Suzor-Coté's success was due to his exceptional talent, outgoing personality and favorable circumstances. His talent for drawing was recognized at an early age while he was still in high school. In 1887, he began decorating churches with the Joseph Rousseau company of Saint-Hyacinthe. Through family connections he met Sir Wilfrid Laurier, from whom he received many commissions.
Between 1891 and 1912, Suzor-Coté traveled extensively between Canada, the United States and Europe. He studied in France at the École des beaux-arts in Paris, the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi. From 1892 his works attracted attention at the exhibitions of the Art Association of Montreal, where he won the Jessie Dow prize for Les fumées, port de Montréal in 1912. Suzor-Coté also exhibited in the salons of the Société des artistes français in Paris and the Royal Canadian Academy of the Arts. In 1901, William Scott and Son of Montreal began representing Suzor-Coté. He traveled to Europe again from 1904 to 1907 and 1911 to 1912. Upon his return to Montreal, his reputation was well established.
After 1912, Suzor-Coté worked in his Arthabaska and Montreal studios. He mastered pastels as well as oils. He was influenced by Impressionism and was particularly interested in the play of light on snow and water, especially during the spring thaw. He painted famous historical events as well as winter scenes with a skillful yet subtle use of color. In 1911, he started developing his talent for sculpting, at which he excelled after 1918. For inspiration, Suzor-Coté drew from his surroundings or from literary works such as Louis Hémon's novel, Maria Chapdelaine. In 1927, he became paralyzed and had to abandon his art. He died ten years later on January 26, 1937 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Suzor-Coté was an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy, 1911 and 1916, Canadian Arts Council, 1913 and Montreal Arts Club, 1913.