R.C.A. Canadian, November 8, 1881–January 5, 1942
"It was not the over-sensitivity of the misunderstood that made me move to Paris....Over there, I paint only Canadian subjects, I dream only of Canada. The motif remains fixed in my mind, and I don't allow myself to be captivated by the charms of a new landscape. In Switzerland, Scandinavia-everywhere, I recall my French Canada." Clarence A. Gagnon, 1931

Clarence Alphonse Gagnon was a painter, draughtsman, engraver and illustrator who was born in Montreal on November 8, 1881. From 1897 to 1900, Gagnon studied drawing and painting under William Brymner at the Art Association of Montreal. In 1904, Gagnon left for Paris to work in the studio of Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. He was able to distinguished himself early in his career by the fine quality of his engravings. Gagnon won a gold medal at the St. Louis Exhibition in 1904 and an honourable mention at the Salon des artistes français in Paris in 1905. From 1909 to 1914, Gagnon moved between Canada, France, and Norway; always working up the sketches he had made in Quebec.

 

Gagnon became a member of the Royal Society of Canada and in 1910, became an associate member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and a full member in 1922. In 1923, he received the Trevor Prize of the Salmagundi Club of New York. Between 1924 and 1936, Gagnon spent time in Paris and traveled throughout Europe. It was during this period that he illustrated a number of books, including Rouquette's, Le grand silence blanc (1929) and the deluxe edition of Louis Hémon's Maria Chapdelaine (1933), a story that celebrated Canadian frontier life. Upon his return to Quebec in 1936, the Université de Montréal awarded him an honorary doctorate.

 

Clarence Gagnon died in Montreal on January 5, 1942. He was sixty-one years old.

 

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  • <span class=%22title%22>Detail de l'illustration pour Maria Chapdelaine (page 198)<span class=%22title_comma%22>, </span></span><span class=%22year%22>1933</span> Detail de l'illustration pour Maria Chapdelaine (page 198), 1933
    Mixed media - Techniques mixtes
    7 x 3 in
    17.8 x 7.6 cm
  • <span class=%22title%22>Evening Prayer, Study for an illustration for Maria Chapdelaine p. 42 -  Prière du soir, étude pour une illustration du livre Maria Chapdelaine p. 42<span class=%22title_comma%22>, </span></span><span class=%22year%22>1930 (circa)</span> Evening Prayer, Study for an illustration for Maria Chapdelaine p. 42 - Prière du soir, étude pour une illustration du livre Maria Chapdelaine p. 42, 1930 (circa)
    Mixed media - Techniques mixtes
    8 1/4 x 8 3/4 in
    21 x 22.2 cm
  • <span class=%22title%22>Summer Landscape with Trees and Houses<span class=%22title_comma%22>, </span></span><span class=%22year%22>1906</span> Summer Landscape with Trees and Houses, 1906
    Oil on panel - Huile sur panneau
    4 1/2 x 7 in
    11.4 x 17.8 cm