Jean Paul Lemieux: Life & Work by Michèle Grandbois
One of Quebec’s most renowned artists, Lemieux (1904–1990) developed a signature style influenced by folk art and the Italian primitive school. His lyrical work, characterized by simplified forms, captures the province’s way of life. Read or download the online art book here: http://www.aci-iac.ca/jean-paul-lemieux
Edwin Holgate’s influence can be seen in this illustration of Lemieux’s that was included in the first chapter of Robert Choquette’s La pension Leblanc a novel about a boarding house for tourists north of Montreal.
Lemieux's classic period, which would last from 1956 to is characterized by a horizontal format, bare subject matter, and simplified pictorial space. “The Far West” (Le Far West), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
In what is known as Lemieux's primitivist period (1940–1946), his art borrowed from the Italian primitives and from naïve art. Several large compositions combining religious and secular content date from this period. “Our Lady Protecting Quebec City” (Notre Dame protégeant Québec), 1942, Séminaire de Québec. #ArtCanInstitute
In 1917 the Lemieux family moved to Montreal. There Jean Paul went to the Collège Mont-Saint-Louis, then Loyola College. During this period he took lessons in watercolours and, in 1926, began studies with the respected Canadian Impressionist painter Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté. de Foy Suzor-Coté, “Passing Shadows, Nicolet River” (Les ombres qui passent, rivière Nicolet), 1925, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. #ArtCanInstitute
With their fluid brushwork and vibrant colour palettes, landscapes by Lemieux from this period show the influence of Group of Seven members A. Jackson and Edwin Holgate. Paul” (Marine, Baie Saint-Paul), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
In social-realist fashion, Lemieux satirized the English bourgeois that were considered dominant in Quebec at this time. “The Birds I Have Known” (Les drôles d’oiseaux que j’ai connus), National Gallery of Canada.
The drawing would have been highly controversial had it been presented publicly, as it satirizes both a Catholic priest and L’Action Catholique, the leading Catholic publication in Quebec. “L’Action Catholique,” National Gallery of Canada.