Jean Paul Lemieux Life & Work by Michèle Grandbois

Jean Paul Lemieux’s work as a painter and illustrator was always closely followed by his contemporaries, and his trajectory can be traced through exhibitions, critical texts, monographs, and documentaries they produced. Lemieux himself wrote prolifically on the art of his time. The following selection provides an overview of the vast number of sources and resources that offer insight into the richness and complexity of his work.

Major Exhibitions

This selection from the archive includes solo and group exhibitions.

Jean Paul and Madeleine Lemieux at Lemieux’s 1967 retrospective at the Musée du Québec (now the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec), Quebec City


November 22–December 15, 1940, Art of Our Day in Canada, organized by the Contemporary Art Society and presented at the Art Association of Montreal (now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts).


September 18–November 8, 1942, Aspects of Contemporary Painting in Canada, Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts. (Toured eight additional American cities: Northampton, Washington, Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, and Toledo, until December 1943, before having its Canadian premiere from January 20 to February 7, 1944, at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.)


March 11–April 16, 1944, Canadian Art, 1790–1943, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.


January 10–28, 1945, The Development of Painting in Canada, 1665–1945, Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario). (Toured: Art Association of Montreal [now the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts], Musée de la province de Québec [now the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec], Quebec City, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, until July 1945.)


November 18–December 28, 1946, Exposition internationale d’art moderne, Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris (exhibition mounted by UNESCO). 


May 29–September 28, 1952, Exposition rétrospective de l’art au Canada Français/The Arts in French Canada, Musée de la province de Québec, Quebec City.


April 1953, Jean Paul Lemieux (first solo exhibition), lobby of the Palais Montcalm, Quebec City (forty-five canvases, mostly Charlevoix landscapes).


March 1–14, 1956, Côte d’Azur (solo exhibition), L’Atelier, Quebec City (twenty-eight canvases painted on the Côte d’Azur, France).


Dates unavailable, 4th Bienal de São Paulo, Museu de Arte Moderna, Brazil (with Takao Tanabe and Harold Town).

April–October 1957, Second Biennial of Canadian Art, organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. (Toured Ottawa, Montreal, Stratford, and Regina.)


December 5, 1958–February 8, 1959, Bicentennial International Exhibition of Contemporary Painting and Sculpture, Department of Fine Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh.


Dates unavailable, Canadian Pavilion, 30th Venice Biennale (with Graham Coughtry, Edmund Alleyn, Albert Dumouchel, and Frances Loring).


August 1963–May 1965, La figuration vivante/The Lively Image, organized and toured by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (with Alex Colville, Goodridge Roberts, Jacques de Tonnancour, and Claude Picher).

October 1963–October 1965, Fifteen Canadian Artists, exhibition of the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. (Toured ten additional American cities: Hunter Gallery of Art, October 6–November 3,1963, Chattanooga, Tennessee; The Currier Gallery of Art, November 19–December 17, 1963, Manchester, New Hampshire; Phillips Exeter Academy, January 7–February 4, 1964, Exeter, New Hampshire; University of Texas, March 1–29, 1964, Austin; Washington Gallery of Modern Art, July 25–September 7, 1964, Washington, D.C.; Mercer University, September 20–October 18, 1964, Macon, Georgia; Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, November 5–30, 1964; Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, March 8–April 5, 1965; San Francisco Museum of Art, June 7–July 5, 1965; City Art Museum of Saint Louis, September 5–October 4, 1965.)


December 18, 1963–January 5, 1964, Cinq peintres canadiens, Musée Galliera, Paris. With York Wilson (Toronto), Alfred Pellan (Montreal), Jean McEwen (Montreal), and Joe Plaskett (Vancouver). 


February–March 1964, Canadian Painting, 1939–1963, Tate Gallery, London (exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa).


September 15–October 11, 1967, Jean Paul Lemieux (retrospective), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. (Toured Musée du Québec, Quebec City, October 18–November 22, 1967, and the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, December 6, 1967–January 7, 1968.)

May 12–September 17, 1967, Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, October 20–November 20, 1967.

May 15–August 20, 1967, Panorama de la peinture au Québec, 1940–1966, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.


March 15–September 13, 1970, Canadian Pavilion, Expo ’70, Osaka, Japan.


Dates unavailable. Jean Paul Lemieux (retrospective), organized by the Musée du Québec, Quebec City, for the Quebec Ministry of Cultural Affairs. (Toured Moscow, Leningrad, Prague, Anvers, and Paris.)


January 31–March 2, 1975, Canadian Painting in the Thirties, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. (Toured within Canada April 1, 1975–January 4, 1976.)


February 3–April 10, 1977, Fourteen Canadians: A Critic’s Choice, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


April 23–June 13, 1982, Modernism in Quebec Art, 1916–1946, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. (Toured within Canada July 4, 1982–February 27, 1983.)


Dates unavailable, Présence de la peinture canadienne, Centre culturel canadien, Paris (with forty other artists).


November 10–December 20, 1987, Horizons et figures du peintre Jean Paul Lemieux, Villa Bagatelle, Quebec City (twenty-two works from the years 1950 to 1985).


June 3–November 8, 1992, L’effet Lemieux (retrospective), at the Musée du Québec, Quebec City. (Toured Norman Mackenzie Art Gallery, Regina, November 20, 1992–January 31, 1993; Art Gallery of Hamilton, March 11–May 23, 1993; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 17–October 31, 1993.)


May 10, 2001–January 2, 2005, Jean Paul Lemieux, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City. 


October 22, 2004–January 2, 2005, Homage to Jean Paul Lemieux, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. (Toured Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City, February 2–April 24, 2005; and the McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, June 4–September 5, 2005.)


November 24, 2005–February 4, 2007, Jean Paul Lemieux. La période classique (1950–1975), Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City. 


Jean Paul Lemieux. De silence et d’espace (permanent exhibition), Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Quebec City.

Writings by Jean Paul Lemieux

Jean Paul Lemieux writing on a sketchpad. Photograph by Basil Zarov, 1977

“A New Modern Setting in Montreal.” Technique: Revue industrielle/Industrial Review (vol. 10, no. 9, November 1935): 444–46.

“Quebec Painters.” Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph (Quebec City), December 6, 1937, 3.

“Un portrait du peintre Gauguin.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), April 1, 1938, 15–16. 

“Les œuvres du peintre Gauguin.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), April 8, 1938, 16.

“Notes sur quelques toiles de Pellan.” Le Jour (Montreal), May 14, 1938, 3.

“Aperçu sur la peinture contemporaine.” Le Jour (Montreal), June 18, 1938, 2.

“La peinture chez les Canadiens français.” Le Jour (Montreal), July 16, 1938, 3.

“Marian Scott, peintre animalier.” Le Jour (Montreal), September 10, 1938, n.p.

“Réflexions sur l’art.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), December 17, 1938, supplement, 18.

“M. Jean-Paul Lemieux parle de William Blake.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), March 31, 1939, 3.

“L’art au Canada-français.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), December 1, 1939, 4, 8.

A sheet of twelve stamps featuring paintings by Jean Paul Lemieux. The stamps, released on Canada Day, 1984, present work that depicts the provinces and territories of Canada

“Pellan, peintre de l’abstraction, créateur de symboles.” Le Temps (Quebec City), November 8, 1940, 5.

“À l’École des beaux-arts. Un salon de gravures.” Le Soleil (Quebec City), January 18, 1941, 4.

“Notes sur l’art à Québec.” Regards (Quebec City), vol. 3, no. 2 (November 2, 1941): 80–84.

“L’art a reculé au Québec depuis 50 ans.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), February 12, 1942, 4.

“Notes sur le dessin.” Regards (Quebec City), vol. 3, no. 6 (March 6, 1942): 276–78.

“Quebec.” Maritime Art, October–November 1942, 23–24.

“Quebec.” Maritime Art, December 1942–January 1943, 57–58.

“Quebec.” Maritime Art, February–March 1943, 88.

“Quebec.” Maritime Art, April–May 1943, 116–17.

Jean Paul Lemieux’s article “Quebec City and the Arts” from the December 1947 issue of Canadian Art magazine. The article features a watercolour by Lemieux, which the magazine titles Skaters, Island of Orleans, but which today is referred to as Skaters, Montmorency (Patineurs à Montmorency), 1939

“Quebec.” Maritime Art, July–August 1943, 159–60.

“Quebec.” Canadian Art, October–November 1943, 30–31.

“Quebec: The Museum of the Province of Quebec.” Canadian Art, December 1943–January 1944, 75–76.

“Quebec.” Canadian Art, February–March 1944, 120–21.

“Quebec.” Canadian Art, April–May 1944, 165.

“Quebec: The Museum of the Province of Quebec.” Canadian Art, June–July 1944, 214–15.

“Quebec City and the Arts.” Canadian Art, December 1947, 108–11.

“La camelote étrangère.” Arts et pensée (Montreal), January 1951, 28–29.

“La Société des Arts Plastiques.” Vie des arts (Montreal), January–February 1956, 14–17. (With Claude Picher.)


Corbeil, Gilles. “Jean-Paul Lemieux. Peintre intimiste.” Arts et pensée (Montreal), November–December 1953, 36–41.

Dostie, Gaëtan. “Jean Paul Lemieux ou l’artiste entre la peur et le courage.” Le Jour (Montreal), February 9, 1976, 23.

Dumas, Paul. “Rencontre avec Jean Paul Lemieux.” L’Information médicale et paramédicale, June 17, 1969, 40–41.

Jasmin, Claude. “Le monde calme et inquiétant de Jean-Paul Lemieux.” La Presse (Montreal), February 6, 1965, 18–19.

Jean Paul Lemieux in front of a pathway in Charlevoix. Landscapes like the one in the background, with high horizon lines and dirt pathways, were clearly an influence on the artist’s work 

Lawson, Edward-P. “Jean Paul Lemieux raconte sa jeunesse.” La Presse (Montreal), September 15, 1967, 12. Reprinted in Le Soleil (Quebec City), October 21, 1967, 25.

Michel, Jacques. “À 70 ans, Jean-Paul Lemieux reste solitaire.” Perspectives (Montreal), March 1, 1975, 20–22. 

Nagle, Patrick. “Timeless Painter from Quebec.” Weekend Magazine (Montreal), March 16, 1963, 18–20.

Nantais, Lyse. “Rencontre avec Jean-Paul Lemieux.” Le Devoir (Montreal), January 28, 1961, 12.

O’Neil, Jean. “Ce qui me hante le plus c’est la dimension du temps — Jean Paul Lemieux.” La Presse (Montreal), April 13, 1963, supplement, 2–3.

Roberge, Guy. “Visite à Madeleine Des Rosiers et Jean-Paul Lemieux.” L’Événement-Journal (Quebec City), February 10, 1940, 11, 21.

Thériault, Jacques. “Un monde pictural étrange mais fascinant. J.-P. Lemieux s’explique sur sa nostalgie.” Le Devoir (Montreal), September 18, 1971, n.p.

Books, Catalogues, and Critical Writing about Jean Paul Lemieux

Bogardi, Georges. “Who Was Lemieux.” Canadian Art, Winter 1992, 34–41.

Cover of the exhibition catalogue Jean Paul Lemieux organized by Marie Carani for the Musée du Québec, Quebec City, in 1992. The cover image is of Lemieux’s Girl in the Wind, 1964

Brulotte, Gaëtan. L’univers de Jean Paul Lemieux. Montreal: Éditions Fides, 1996.

Carani, Marie, Jean Paul Lemieux. Quebec City: Musée du Québec/Les Publications du Québec, 1992. Exhibition catalogue.

Champagne, Michel, and Daniel Morency Dutil. Le Silenciaire Jean Paul Lemieux chez-lui. Montreal: Éditions Élysée, 1980. 

Dubé, Marcel. Jean Paul Lemieux et le livre. Montreal: Art Global, 1988.

Gauthier, Ninon. “Lemieux: l’angle économique.” Le Collectionneur 2, no. 6, 1974, 13–24. 

Grandbois, Michèle. Jean Paul Lemieux au Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Quebec City: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2007. 

Landry, Pierre B. “Jean Paul Lemieux: trois perceptions d’une ville,” in Québec, une ville et ses artistes. Quebec City: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2008, 285–95. Exhibition catalogue.

National Gallery of Canada. Hommage à Jean Paul Lemieux. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2004. Exhibition catalogue.

Cover of the book Jean Paul Lemieux, la poétique de la souvenance by Guy Robert, published by Éditions Garneau in 1968. Lemieux’s painting Recontre, n.d., is featured on the cover

Ostiguy, Jean-René. Un siècle de peinture canadienne, 1870-1970. Quebec City: Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 1971, 13, 43–44, 58–59, 140–43.

. Les Esthétiques modernes au Québec de 1916 à 1946. Ottawa: National Museums of Canada Corporation, 1982, 29, 52–53, 56–57. Exhibition catalogue.

Robert, Guy. Jean Paul Lemieux, la poétique de la souvenance. Quebec City: Éditions Garneau, 1968.

. Lemieux. Montreal: Éditions Stanké, 1975.

Roy, Gabrielle. “Les Terres nouvelles,” in Vie des arts, Montreal, Winter 1962, 39–43.

Film and Television Documentaries

Gascon, Gilles. Québec en silence. National Film Board of Canada, 1969.

Robert, Guy. Tel qu’en Lemieux. National Film Board of Canada, 1974. 16 mm, colour, 25 minutes. 

Books Illustrated by Jean Paul Lemieux

Béatrix, Ernest. Chez les sauvages. Montreal: Libraires d’Action canadienne-française ltée, 1931. (Twelve drawings.) 

Interior pages of La pension Leblanc by Robert Choquette, published in 1927, which features one of Lemieux’s illustrations for the book 

Choquette, Robert. La pension Leblanc. Montreal: Éditions du Mercure, 1927. (Five drawings signed by Paul Lemieux.)

Desrosiers, Emmanuel. La fin de la terre. Montreal: Libraires d’Action canadienne-française ltée, 1931. (Four drawings.)

Hémon, Louis, Jean Paul Lemieux, and Jean-Noël Tremblay. Jean Paul Lemieux retrouve Maria Chapdelaine. Montreal: Éditions internationales Alain Stanké Ltée, 1981. (Ten engravings based on original paintings by Jean Paul Lemieux.)

Lemieux, Jean Paul. Canada-Canada. Montreal: Éditions A.S.L., 1984–85. (Twelve silkscreens from works made by Jean Paul Lemieux for this publication, printed by Louis Desaulniers; binding by Pierre Ouvrard; contributing authors include Gabriel Sagard Theodat, Alistair MacLeod, Robert Kroetsch, Jacque Cartier, Gabriel Roy, Earle Birney, Heather Robertson, Hugh MacLennan, Josef Skvorecky, Ambrose Bierce, Farley Mowat, and Pierre Biard.) 

Maxine. Le petit page de Frontenac. Montreal: Libraires d’Action canadienne-française ltée, 1930.

Roy, Gabrielle. La petite poule d’eau. Montreal and Paris: Éditions Gilles Corbeil, 1971. (Twenty engravings of original works by Jean Paul Lemieux and one original drawing by the artist. Novel originally published by Éditions Gilles Corbeil, Montréal, 1950.)

Roy, Régis. Le manoir hanté. Montreal and New York: Les cahiers populaires Louis Carrier & Cie. / Les Éditions du Mercure, 1928. (Illustrations signed Paul Lemieux.)