Canadian, February 28, 1939–December 27, 2014
"He was a fiery man with an incredible work ethic. He was very dedicated to his practice. What he leaves behind is a carefully defined body of work that very strongly speaks to his particular language and way of seeing things." Sarah Fillmore, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia

Jacques Hurtubise was a Canadian abstract painter and printmaker best known for his bold, brightly coloured abstract paintings. He had a ferocious work ethic that attracted an international following during his 50-year career.

 

Born on February 28, 1939 in Montreal, Quebec Hurtubise studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1956-1960 under Albert Dumouchel and Jacques de Tonnancour. He showed great talent and by 1960, at the age of 21, Hurtubise had his first major exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. After being awarded a scholarship, he moved to New York City to study from 1960-1961 and became part of the abstract expressionist scene. In 1965, at age 26, Hurtubise represented Canada at the 8th Biennial of São Paulo, Brazil where he was awarded a First Prize in Painting. Two years later in 1967, he participated in the 9th edition of the same biennial.

 

Jacque Hurtubise's obituary in the Globe and Mail dated Jan. 01, 2015 summarizes the career and character of Hurtubise most accurately:

 

""He was part of a generation that really helped define what we think of … as abstract painting," said Sarah Fillmore, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax. "His influence is considerable."

 

In 1983, Mr. Hurtubise moved to Nova Scotia, where he continued painting until his death on Dec. 27 at his home in Inverness. "He really needed the kind of space that being in Cape Breton afforded him," Ms. Fillmore said. "That allowed for very rich production, very intense production."

 

Mr. Hurtubise's paintings often feature hard edges, bold colours and, in his later work, deep-black pools, rivers and geometric forms that often mask upside-down maps and text. He also dabbled in sculpture, creating what he called light paintings by using neon tubes and bulbs."

 

He was the recipient of many awards, according to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia's website, including the Grand Prix de Peinture, Concours Artistique du Québec (1965), the Prix Victor-Martyn-Lynch Staunton from the Canada Council of the Arts (1993), and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas from the government of Quebec (2000). Described as an intense but warm workaholic, Mr. Hurtubise's award-winning artwork has been featured in exhibitions in Canada, the United States, England, Belgium, France, Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands and Germany.

 

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