ArtworksClarence A. GagnonDetail of illustration in Maria Chapdelaine (page 198), 19331881-1942CAD 15,500
Inscriptionstitled and certified by Lucille Rodier Gagnon, certificate no. 875.
ProvenanceGalerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal
Private collection, Montreal.
ExhibitionsGalerie Alan Klinkhoff, Montreal, January Sale and Exhibition, January 2015.
Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, Toronto, Lawren Harris & Canadian Masters: Historic Sale Celebrating Canada's 150 Years, April 1, 2017.
LiteratureLouis Hémon, Maria Chapdelaine, (Paris: Éditions Mornay, 1933), p. 198.Towards the end of the novel Maria Chapdelaine, Maria’s mother, Alma-Rose, is bedridden and dies unexpectedly. This unforeseen loss prompts friends and relatives to speak of her heroic qualities; strong, capable and warm.
Gagnon’s illustration for page 198 of Louis Hémon's publication encapsulates the mood of the setting following the death of Maria’s mother. The man in the picture is Samuel Chapdelaine, Maria’s father and a pioneer who is depicted as a nomad, particularly fond of the north country and wilderness but never quite satisfied with the land after it has been won.
Samuel Chapdelaine is stricken with grief by his wife’s sudden death and feels guilty for the stress he caused by moving the family to so many locations in the north country. Here, Samuel looks sad and sleepy and is described in the book as “almost in a state of voluntary death as if following the disappeared…”
However, the arrival of Spring rain heralded relief and this particular event also determined Maria’s fate as she decided to pursue her relationship with one of her suitors, Eutrope Gagnon, the boy next door, who shares similar values with Maria’s family. Her decisions thereby ensures the survival of traditional values of her rural French Canada and those of her family.
This picture portrays heartache but more importantly, it evokes an image of hope for future generations.1of 16