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Paul-Émile Borduas Life & Work by François-Marc Gagnon
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Photo Credits

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Credit for Cover Image

Paul-Émile Borduas, Abstract in Blue, 1959. (See below for details.)

Credits for Banner Images

Biography: Paul-Émile Borduas, photographed by Ronny Jacques. Photo courtesy of Library and Archives Canada / Ronny Jacques.
Key Works: Paul-Émile Borduas, Study of a Sparrow Hawk in a Decorative Landscape, c. 1923–24. (See below for details.)
Significance & Critical Issues: Borduas explaining Study for Torso or No. 14, 1942, to Henri Girard and Charles Doyon at the opening of the exhibition at the Ermitage in April–May 1942. (See below for details.)
Style & Technique: Paul-Émile Borduas in Paris, c. 1955. (See below for details.)
Sources & Resources: Refus global manifesto. (See below for details.)
Where to See: Borduas’s Figure with Birds, 1953, on display at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario. Photo © Sam Koebrich.

Credits for Work by Paul-Émile Borduas

Abstract in Blue, 1959. Art Gallery of Ontario, gift of Sam and Ayala Zacks, Toronto, 1961. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © AGO.
The Black Star, 1957. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gérard Lortie. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Chanteclerc or No. 6, 1942. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo:
Richard-Max Tremblay.
Composition (detail), 1942. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Composition 69, 1960. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Renée Borduas. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Decorative Project for the Chapel of a Château, No. 4: Study for Stained Glass Window, 1927. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, gift of Mme Paul-Émile Borduas, Beloeil, Quebec, 1974. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC.
Eagle with White Family. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Épanouissement [Blossoming], 1956. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Femme à la mandolin [Woman with a Mandolin], 1941. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Flowered Quivers or 8.47, 1947. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Chartré. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Forgotten Forms, 1958. Firestone Collection of Canadian Art, The Ottawa Art Gallery, donated to the City of Ottawa by the Ontario Heritage Foundation. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © Tim Wickens.
Graffiti, 1954. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Green Abstraction, 1941. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, purchase, grant from the Government of Canada under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, and Harry W. Thorpe Bequest. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Leeward of the Island (1.47), 1947. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, purchased 1953. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC.
Nature’s Parachutes (19.47), 1947. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, purchased 1948. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC.
The Nun, 1951. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Pâques [Easter], 1954. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, gift of National Museums of Canada. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Persistence of Blacks, 1955. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © Heffel.com.
The Phantom Boat, 1942, Université de Montréal. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © Centre d’exposition de l’Université de Montréal.
Gabrielle Borduas, 1940. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, anonymous gift (1988.9). © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Reverend Father Carmel Brouillard, O.F.M., 1937. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, gift of Mollie Gordon, Staines, England, 1973. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014), Photo © NGC.
The Signs Take Flight, 1953. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, purchase, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Volunteer Association Fund. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Still-life (Pineapples and Pears), 1941. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, purchased 1973. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC.
Study for Torso or No. 14, 1942. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Study of a Sparrow Hawk in a Decorative Landscape, c. 1923–24. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).
Symphony on a White Checkerboard or Symphony 2, 1957. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, purchase, Brigadier-General A. Hamilton Gault Bequest. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
3+4+1, 1956. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, purchased 1962. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC.
Viol aux confins de la matière [Rape at the Limits of Matter], 1943. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014). Photo: MACM.
The West Wind Brings Porcelain Chinoiseries, 1950. Private collection. © Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SODRAC (2014).

Credits for Photographs and Works by Other Artists

After losing his position at the École du meuble in Montreal, Borduas taught drawing to children in Saint-Hilaire. The interior of Borduas’s home. Photograph by Maurice Perron. Archives of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. © Maurice Perron Estate. Photo:
Richard-Max Tremblay.
Andre Breton, c. 1929. Photographer unknown.
The atelier of the École des beaux-arts de Montréal (c. 1924). Collection Bibliothèque des Arts, UQAM.
Austria III, 1954, by Jean-Paul Riopelle. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, purchase, Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequest. © Estate of Jean Paul Riopelle / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
The author’s diagram of 3+4+1. Courtesy of François-Marc Gagnon.
Borduas explaining Study for Torso or No. 14, 1942, to Henri Girard and Charles Doyon at the opening of the exhibition at the Ermitage in April–May 1942. Archives of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Borduas in his bedroom at the convent of Saints-Noms-de-Jésus-et-de-Marie, with Study of a Sparrow Hawk in a Decorative Landscape, around 1924. Archives of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Borduas seated beneath his iconic painting Leeward of the Island, surrounded by members of the Automatistes. Photograph by Maurice Perron. Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, gift of the family of Maurice Perron. © Maurice Perron Estate. Photo © MNBAQ.
Borduas teaching at the École du meuble, c. 1942. Photographer unknown.
The catalogue of the 1962 Borduas exhibit organized by the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and the Art Gallery of Toronto. Photo courtesy of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Library.
Composition with Grid 9: Checkerboard Composition with Light Colours, 1919, by Piet Mondrian. Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands. © 2014 Mondrian/Holtzman Trust c/o HCR International USA. Digital Image © Haags Gemeentemuseum / The Bridgeman Art Library.
The December 1958 issue of the Parisian art journal Cimaise. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Elevated Dodecahedron with Open Faces, drawing attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, from The Divine Proportion by Luca Pacioli (1509). Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, Italy / De Agostini Picture Library / © Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana – Milano / The Bridgeman Art Library.
The Family, 1949, by Robert Roussil. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, gift of Bernard Janelle. Photo © MMFA.
The first Automatiste exhibition, in a makeshift gallery at 1257 Amherst Street, ran April 20–29, 1946. Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, gift of the family of Maurice Perron. © Maurice Perron Estate. Photo © MNBAQ.
Frontispiece for André Breton’s “Le chateau étoilé” (1936), by Max Ernst. Museum of Modern Art, New York, James Thrall Soby Fund. © Estate of Max Ernst / SODRAC (2014). Digital Image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY.
Girl with Mandolin, 1860–65, by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. Saint Louis Art Museum, Accession Number: 3:1939.
In the early 1940s the Automatistes would meet in the studio of Fernand Leduc. Paul-Émile Borduas Fonds of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
Jackson Pollock working on his painting Autumn Rhythm, 1951. Photograph by Hans Namuth. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution / Art Resource, NY. © Hans Namuth Ltd. 
Jean-Paul Riopelle and Fernand Leduc at the exhibition Automatisme at the Galerie de Luxembourg, Paris, 1947. Archives of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.
A label on the verso of Persistence of Blacks from the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. Photo © Heffel.com.
The Liberal Party slogan “C’est l’temps qu’ça change” (It’s time things changed) was a hallmark of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. Photographer unknown. 
Ozias Leduc at his home in Saint-Hilaire, 1954. Photographer unknown. Photo courtesy of NGC.
Paul-Émile Borduas: A Critical Biography, by François-Marc Gagnon. (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013).
Paul-Émile Borduas in Paris, c. 1955. Photographer unknown. Photo courtesy of MCAM. 
Red Doors, 1955, by Fernand Leduc. Musée national des beaux arts du Québec (promised gift of the artist). © Estate of Fernand Leduc / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MNBAQ.
Refus global manifesto. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Refus global manifesto, centrefold. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Refus global manifesto, interior page. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Refus global manifesto, table of contents. Photo courtesy of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto.
Road to the Church (Saint-Hilaire), 1899, by Ozias Leduc. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. © Estate of Ozias Leduc / SODRAC (2014). Photo © NGC. 
The second exhibition of the Automatistes, 1947, at 75 Sherbrooke Street West. Maurice Perron Fonds, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. © Maurice Perron Estate. Photo © MNBAQ
Students gather for a demonstration in Hans Hofmann’s studio in Provincetown, Massachusetts, date unknown. Photo courtesy of Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The Three Apples, 1887, by Ozias Leduc. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, purchase, Harriette J. MacDonnell, William Gilman Cheney, Dr. Francis J. Shepherd and Horsley and Annie Townsend Bequests. © Estate of Ozias Leduc / SODRAC (2014). Photo © MMFA.
Turin, 1960, by Franz Kline. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, Gift of Mrs. Alfred B. Clark through Friends of Art.

Acknowledgements

From the Author
I am deeply grateful for the essential contributions made by everyone who assisted me in my research on Borduas. First and foremost I owe thanks to my wife, Pnina, who, every week for eleven years, drove me to Mme Borduas’s home in Beloeil, where all of the Borduas documentation (letters, photographs, articles, etc.) was kept. It was not until the end of that long period that I was able to persuade Mme Borduas to allow the microfilming of the contents of the two filing cabinets left by Borduas at the time of his death. Later the cabinets themselves and all the original documents were given to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, where they remain. I have also benefited from contact with several of the Automatistes who were close to Borduas: above all, Fernand Leduc, Jean-Paul Mousseau, Marcel Barbeau, and Françoise Sullivan. Other colleagues—including André G. Bourassa, Gilles Lapointe, Ray Ellenwood, and Laurier Lacroix—have been unfailing sources of illumination in the course of my research. I must also thank my students in the Art History Department at the Université de Montréal, whose untiring efforts have allowed me to reconstruct a detailed record of the critical reception of Borduas’s work; these assistants spent long sessions reading through microfilmed news sources (not yet digitized) in search of anything related to Borduas, from the briefest of notices announcing the date and time of an opening to more substantial reviews of his solo exhibitions or his contributions to group shows. The funding received from governmental sources was an invaluable support to the project. Little by little we amassed a precious trove of data and resource materials, which has now grown large enough to occupy an entire wall of the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art at Concordia University. Thus, over the years, I have been able to devote myself to writing about Borduas: about his painting, which I have always seen as the most innovative in the entire history of Canadian art, and about his thought, which was deeply influential in the evolution of ideas in Quebec. I hope that readers of this publication by the Art Canada Institute will be inspired to learn more about Borduas’s painting and his ideas.  —François-Marc Gagnon  

From the Art Canada Institute
This online art book was made possible thanks to the generosity of its Title Sponsor, The Hal Jackman Foundation, and the Lead Sponsor, BMO Financial Group, as well as the Online Art Book Sponsors for the 2013–14 Season: Aimia; Gluskin Sheff + Associates Inc.; The McLean Foundation; TD Bank Group; Partners in Art; Rosamond Ivey; and Rosenthal Zaretsky Niman & Co., LLP.

Thanks also to the Art Canada Institute Founding Patrons: Sara and Michael Angel, Jalynn H. Bennett, The Butterfield Family Foundation, David and Vivian Campbell, Albert E. Cummings, Kiki and Ian Delaney, The Fleck Family, Roger and Kevin Garland, Michelle Koerner and Kevin Doyle, Phil Lind, Sarah and Tom Milroy, Charles Pachter, Gerald Sheff and Shanitha Kachan, Sandra L. Simpson, and Robin and David Young; as well as its Founding Partner Patrons: The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and Partners in Art.


Publisher: Sara Angel
Editorial Director: Meg Taylor
Art Direction: Concrete Design Communications
Web Director and Layout: Avery Swartz
Image Research Director: Angelica Demetriou
Chief Copy Editor: Ruth Gaskill
Editor: Elizabeth Schwaiger
Image Research: Avril McMeekin
Copy Editor: Ruth Gaskill
Translator: Elizabeth Schwaiger
French Copy Editor: Dominique Denis
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Intern: Simone Wharton


Copyright

© 2014 Art Canada Institute. All rights reserved. 
ISBN 978-1-4871-0014-8

Art Canada Institute 
Massey College, University of Toronto
4 Devonshire Place
Toronto, ON M5S 2E1

Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication

Gagnon, François-Marc, 1935-
[Paul-Émile Borduas. English]
Paul-Émile Borduas : life & work / François-Marc Gagnon ; translator, Elizabeth Schwaiger.

Translation of: Paul-Émile Borduas. Includes bibliographical references.
Contents: Biography — Key works — Significance & critical issues — Style & 
technique — Where to see — Notes — Glossary — Sources & resources — 
About the author — Credits. Electronic monograph. 
ISBN 978-1-4871-0016-2 (pdf).—ISBN 978-1-4871-0018-6 (epub)

1. Borduas, Paul-Émile, 1905-1960. 2. Borduas, Paul-Émile, 1905-1960—
Criticism and interpretation. 3. Painters—Québec (Province)—Biography. 4. Art,
Abstract—Québec (Province). 5. Painting, Canadian—Québec (Province)—
20th century. I. Art Canada Institute II. Title. III. Title: Paul-Émile Borduas.
English
ND249.B6G33513 2014                   759.11                 C2014-902493-2