Galérie Bernard Desroches, Montréal
Collection of Suzanne Messier, Québec
Private Collection, Montréal
Marcelle Ferron, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, 2 Juin au 10 Septembre 2000, no. 80
This canvas is exemplary of Ferron's work during a time that was both the international peak for her career, and the beginning of a time of transition for the artist. By this time, Ferron had been living in Paris for a full decade, and her painted work had come to full maturity. Although heavily painted with thick palette strokes of impasto, the weight of the paint does not create a burden for the canvas or the viewer. Instead, the freedom and exuberance of Ferron's style allows the work to breathe and gain its own life, and in that, a lightness. The canvas is full of spontaneity and dynamic energy, and even generosity in the liberal application of paint. In this, it is clear that Ferron has remained loyal to the tenets of the Automatistes from which she came, as well as to those of the Refus Global, a fiery manifesto written by Automatiste leader Paul-Émile Borduas, which Ferron referred to as her bible.
Throughout her career, Ferron held fast to the ideals that she had aligned herself with in the beginning stages of her career, when she was living in Montréal during the 1940s and early 1950s. However, it was not until she moved to Paris in 1953 to pursue painting in a more diverse and accepting artistic environment that her work came into its own and she was able to truly establish a reputation as a painter. Indeed, during her time in Paris she became a renowned artist, especially after being awarded the Silver Medal at the Sao Paulo Biennale in 1961. In this environment of artistic freedom and support, Ferron's work became more dynamic and emotionally charged; in canvases such as this one, Ferron uses an Automatiste style of painting to communicate a clearly joyous and ecstatic emotional response, and asks of the viewer only that they join her in this experience.
This lot also foreshadows the next stage in Ferron's career, in which she expanded to working in stained glass. Indeed, she had started to explore this new medium the year before, and would explore it in great depth following her return to Québec in 1966, during the Quiet Revolution, just three years after this canvas was completed.
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