"This dramatic tension between what is called the subject and the painter both torments and seduces me at once […] And what is most important for me […] is the conviction that I must take nature and wring its neck – first take it, and then wring it relentlessly." Jacques de Tonnancour, 1945

Jacques Godefroy de Tonnancour was an important Quebec and Canadian Contemporary painter. Born in Montreal in 1917, de Tonnancour studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1937 to 1940. His early works in Laurentian landscapes were heavily influenced by Goodridge Roberts. He spent seventeen months in 1945-46 working in Brazil. Upon his return to Canada, he temporarily abandoned landscape and turned to still life and figurative paintings, influenced by Pellan, Borduas and Picasso.


Jacques de Tonnancour began teaching at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1943, then at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1954 as well as at the Université du Québec from 1969 to 1982. Jacques de Tonnancour was the recipient of many awards and prizes—The Canada Council Medal, 1968; Louis Philippe Hébert Award, 1979; Officer of the Order of Canada, 1979; Concordia University Honorary Degree, 1986; McGill Honorary Degree, 1990; Officer of the National Order of Quebec, 1993 and the Prix Marcel-Couture, 2002.


In 1982, de Tonnancour abandoned painting and teaching and devoted the rest of his life to entomology, which had been a lifelong interest.


His work can be seen in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The National Gallery of Canada, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Art Gallery of Ontario, The Lord Beaverbrook Art Gallery and several other important museums across the country.


Jacques Godefroy de Tonnancour died in Montreal in 2005.

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