BlogJuly 14, 2020

Claude Le Sauteur & the World of Laughter

On the occasion of The Just For Laughs Festival founding 38 years ago today, Alan Klinkhoff Gallery is pleased to present Claude Le Sauteur and the World of Laughter, an exhibition including the iconic series "12 Universes of Laughter". The exhibition will be presented online as of July 28, 2020 and in our Montreal gallery from August 6-14, 2020.

[Claude Le Sauteur's]  deep dive into the spirit of humour itself resulted in a fine art collection of oil paintings that helped elevate the event's status from a streetwise "laff-fest" into the lofty realms of "arts and culture." 

- Andy Nulman



Claude Le Sauteur was one of the foremost figurative Canadian artists of his generation. He was without reservation the master artist active in the Charlevoix region in his era. In the words of former co owner and promoter of Just for Laughs,  Andy Nulman, with Les univers de rire (The World of Laughter) “Le Sauteur found himself on a path towards a magnum opus.”


During the 1980s,  Canadian visual artist Claude Le Sauteur - a successful artist and advertising executive - had collaborated with the Festival by developing different mises en scènes for its mascot, Victor. By the end of the decade, Le Sauteur had grown tired of the subject matter, feeling he had explored all there was to the ubiquitous red-horned, green, imp-like character. 


Le Ridicule - Ridicule, 2003. Oil on canvas, 36 x 24 in 91.4 x 61 cm



This, however, did not mark the end of Claude Le Sauteur’s fruitful collaboration with the Festival, leading instead to a very unique and impeccably executed project. Just For Laughs founder Gilbert Rozon opted to give Le Sauteur carte blanche by offering the artist to create anything he wished for the Festival.  


Upon discovering Rozon’s 1998 publication titled « Le rire » (Laughter), in which Rozon had presented a lexicon of sorts, defining twelve different types of humour, Claude Le Sauteur was inspired to create a series of allegory-type renditions corresponding to each one of these definitions.


[Le Sauteur] created his own unique comedic universe; a family of a dozen pieces, immediately recognizable in the artist's neo-collage, shape-stacking, explosive-coloured style … but warped by the liberty of a comedic gut check and an infusion of fearlessness.


The end result(s) hung for years in the third-floor meeting space-cum-office of Gilbert, where Le Sauteur's eye-candy tints and bold, twisted imagery performed double duty to those of us who would gather there - lifting our spirits when enduring tough times, and leading our cheers when things went wonderfully well.

- Andy Nulman


All works are offered subject to prior sale.

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