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Yves Gaucher Life & Work by Roald Nasgaard

As one of the leading artists of the Plasticien generation, which matured in Montreal in the 1960s, Gaucher was constantly in the public eye. He exhibited both in Canada and internationally, and his work has been subject to critical discussions in books, journals, and exhibition catalogues.


Major Solo Exhibitions

Gaucher’s paintings, as well as prints, were exhibited frequently during his lifetime, at galleries, museums, and other public institutions. For the most comprehensive list of his exhibitions, consult the catalogue for his posthumous exhibition, Yves Gaucher, held at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2004. 


Installation of Gaucher’s Red, Brown, Blue, Yellow, Green, Ochre No. 11, 1974, at Galerie René Blouin, Montreal, 2011

1963

November 9–30, 1963,Yves Gaucher: Prints, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York.

1965

April 19–May 1, 1965, Danses carrées / Square Dances, Galerie Agnès Lefort, Montreal.

1966

September 13–October 1, 1966, Yves Gaucher, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York. Catalogue.

1967

April 19–May 21, 1967, Yves Gaucher, Winnipeg Art Gallery. Catalogue.

1969

April 23–May 18, 1969, Yves Gaucher: Grey Series, Vancouver Art Gallery. Travelled to Edmonton Art Gallery, May 29–June 19, 1969; Whitechapel Gallery, London, England, October 11–November 11, 1969. Catalogue.

1970

January 27–February 14, 1970, Yves Gaucher: Graphics 57–67, Weissman Gallery, Sir George Williams University, Montreal. Travelled to Gallery Moos, Toronto.

1973

April 14–May 10, 1973, Gaucher: Nine Blue Paintings / Neuf tableaux bleus, Marlborough Godard Gallery, Toronto.

1975

March 13–April 27, 1975, Yves Gaucher, New York Cultural Center. Catalogue.

1976

October 1–November 7, 1976, Yves Gaucher, peintures et gravures / Paintings and Etchings: Perspective 1963–76. Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Catalogue.

1977

April 23–May 29, 1977, Yves Gaucher & Christopher Pratt, Vancouver Art Gallery. Travelled to Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge, October 4–30, 1977; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, December 8–January 8, 1977; Winnipeg Art Gallery, April 1978. Catalogue.

1979

March 17–April 29, 1979, Yves Gaucher: A Fifteen-Year Perspective / Une perspective de quinze ans, 1963–1978, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Travelled to Glenbow Museum, Calgary, September 1–October 28, 1979. Catalogue.

1980

December 6–January 13, 1980, Yves Gaucher: Série Jéricho 1978, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.

1983

April 15–May 29, 1983, Yves Gaucher: Tableaux et gravures / Paintings and Etchings, Centre culturel canadien, Paris, France. Travelled to Centre culturel du Canada, Brussels, June 8–September 23, 1983; Canada House Cultural Centre Gallery, London, England, November 17, 1983–January 10, 1984. Catalogue.

1985

March 9–27, 1985, Yves Gaucher: Square Paintings, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.

1988

March 5–23, 1988, Yves Gaucher: Dark Paintings, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto.

1989

April 22–May 6, 1989, Yves Gaucher, 49th Parallel, Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art, New York.

November 25–December 22, 1989, Yves Gaucher: Pale Paintings, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. Catalogue.

1992

November 14–December 19, 1992, Yves Gaucher, Olga Korper Gallery, Toronto. Catalogue.

1992
–93

November 13, 1992–January 3, 1993, Yves Gaucher 1978–1992: Abstract Practices II, The Power Plant, Toronto. Catalogue.

1995

March 30–May 6, 1995, Yves Gaucher: Recent Work / Oeuvres récentes, Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Montreal. Catalogue.

1996

October 16–November 23, 1996, Yves Gaucher: Profil 1957–1996; 40 années de gravures / Yves Gaucher: Profile 1957–1996; 40 Years of Printmaking, Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal. Book.

1999 2000

October 28, 1999–March 5, 2000, Yves Gaucher: Récurrences, Musée du Québec. Catalogue.

2003 –04

October 10, 2003–January 11, 2004, Yves Gaucher, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Catalogue.



Major Books and Catalogues

Gaucher’s work has been subject to critical discussions in magazines and journals as well as in exhibition catalogues and in other monographs. The first comprehensive stylistic discussion of his development was Roald Nasgaard’s Yves Gaucher: A Fifteen-Year Perspective / Une perspective de quinze ans, 1963–1978, the catalogue for the exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1979. For a comprehensive bibliography consult the catalogue for his posthumous exhibition, Yves Gaucher, held at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 2004.


Campbell, James D. The Asymmetric Vision: Philosophical Intuition and Original Experience in the Art of Yves Gaucher. Regina: MacKenzie Art Gallery, 1989.


.“The Claims of Experience.” In Aspects of Yves Gaucher’s Art: 1978–1992. Toronto: The Power Plant / Contemporary Art Gallery, 1993. Exhibition catalogue.


Marchand, Sandra Grant, Roger Bellemare, Danielle Blouin, Jean-Jacques Nattiez, and David Tomas. Yves Gaucher. Montreal: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 2004. Bilingual exhibition catalogue of the first posthumous survey exhibition. Includes individual essays on Gaucher’s printmaking (Danielle Blouin, “An Unusual Printmaker”) and his relation to music (Jean-Jacques Nattiez, “Webern/Gaucher: The Jolt”), detailed chronology, and bibliography.


Martin, Michel. Yves Gaucher: Récurrences. Quebec: Musée du Québec, 2000. Exhibition catalogue.


Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Yves Gaucher, peintures et gravures / Paintings and Etchings: Perspective 1963–76. Montreal: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 1976. Exhibition catalogue with full-length French texts of reviews by John Noel Chandler, Michel Ragon, Bryan Robertson, Normand Thériault, and David Thompson.


Nasgaard, Roald. Yves Gaucher: A Fifteen-Year Perspective / Une perspective de quinze ans, 1963–1978. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1979. Exhibition catalogue.


Nasgaard, Roald, and Michel Martin. The Plasticiens and Beyond: Montreal, 1955–1970. Quebec: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec; Markham, ON: Varley Art Gallery of Markham, 2013.


New York Cultural Center. Yves Gaucher. New York: New York Cultural Center, 1975. Exhibition catalogue with short texts and excerpts from past international exhibition reviews by Dore Ashton, John Noel Chandler, Nigel Gosling, Michel Ragon, Bryan Robertson, John Russell, Doris Shadbolt, and David Thompson.


Roberge, Gaston. Autour de Yves Gaucher. Quebec: Le Loup de Gouttière, 1996. English translation by Suzanne Maloney, Around and About Yves Gaucher (Montreal: Galerie Simon Blais, 1996).


Shadbolt, Doris. Yves Gaucher. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 1969. Catalogue for the exhibition that also showed at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, England.



Writings by Gaucher

Gaucher in his studio on Roslyn Avenue, Montreal, 1960

The manifesto that Gaucher wrote in 1965 in English for Canadian Art magazine was never published. 

          A French version was published in Jacques Folch, “Yves Gaucher,” Vie des Arts, no. 41 (Winter 1965/66): 40–43. For the latter, along with an unpublished brief English summary, see Roald Nasgaard, Yves Gaucher: A Fifteen-Year Perspective / Une perspective de quinze ans, 1963–1978 (Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1979), 46–47. Gaucher here speaks of his painting in terms of “relations of indetermination,” terminology that parallels Guido Molinari’s (1933–2004) (as per the philosopher Alfred Korzybski) “principle of non-identity,” and Claude Tousignant’s (b. 1932) “non-determination.”





Interviews and Film

Two taped interviews with Gaucher, one by Virgil Hammock, November 18, 1973; and another by Chris Youngs, 1974 (video), are held by the artist’s estate and remain unpublished.


Gagnon, Charles. R69. Film (unfinished), 1969. In Charles Gagnon: 4 Films, directed by Monika Kin Gagnon. Montreal: Spectral Media, 2009. DVD.


The film includes footage of Gaucher working on his red painting R69, executed as a total negation of his Grey on Grey period. R69 also includes an interview with Gaucher and with other major Montreal artists filmed during the opening of the exhibition Grands formats, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, 1970. The interview reveals the mischievous side of Gaucher’s character.