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LOT 032

Jean Paul Lemieux

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CC QMG RCA
1904 - 1990
Canadian

Blanche
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1964 and on verso titled and dated on the gallery label
40 1/2 x 21 in, 102.9 x 53.3 cm

CAD
PRICE: $241,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie Godard Lefort, Montreal, 1964
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection
By descent to the present Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Guy Robert, Lemieux, 1975, reproduced page 250

The colour white for Jean Paul Lemieux is associated with the years of his greatest celebrity, the classic period, and its glorious snow-covered landscapes. But there is more to white than winter’s vast silence, as we can see in Lemieux’s 1974 self-portrait (collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec), which concludes the classic period with its reign of white. In it the 70-year-old painter appears clad in white, his face with its aged features outlined against a white wall on which two of his emblematic snow paintings hang, Le visiteur du soir (1956, National Gallery of Canada) and Le cavalier dans la neige (1967, private collection). Lemieux is telling us that white is also the colour of passing time.

White began its spread across his “character” paintings later than in his landscapes. The first examples came in the 1960s, notably in Le manteau de lapin (1964, sold by Heffel June 1, 2022, private collection) and L’Apôtre (1966, private collection). The subjects of these fictional portraits stand out against the bright, glowing surface, like an opera aria in paint. The same is also true of Blanche, from 1964. Once again, organic life here is pared down: Blanche has only her expressive tan face, her hair and her quite distinctive features. Note how Lemieux has eliminated all spatial anchors from his composition. The horizon line running across the bottom of the other paintings is now gone. Those characters were also anchored in life, in the rigours of winter and the friar’s asceticism. Blanche, however, even in the title, is unconnected to anything other than herself.

The glowing mass of her garment outlines her flat upper body, her sloped shoulders and long arms, and then reveals her small wrists cut off at the hands. We see also a white collar on a white dress, white bow on a white background, two tiny white dots on the eyes, the face with its broad forehead and lingering prepubescent plumpness. Lemieux has placed Blanche’s head on a cylindrical neck, with an ever-so-slight lean to the left. Mummified in the purity of her youth, one has the impression that she is faltering. Her damp, hollow eyes are enveloped in circles of grey. That gaze will be familiar to those who know Lemieux, its intensity recognized from L’Orpheline (1956, National Gallery of Canada) and the little girl in La Mort par un clair matin (1963, MNBAQ). Here, Lemieux has twisted a certain tension into the full pink lips. The quiet expression on Blanche’s face contrasts bluntly with her immaculate surroundings.

How to capture on the canvas the passing of time, that “dimension only human beings are conscious of,” wondered Lemieux in a 1985 interview.[1] He got there from various directions in his work, evoking rich memories as in 1910 Remembered (1962, private collection) or by staging the aforementioned self-portrait at 70 years of age. In Blanche, Lemieux draws our attention not to childhood nostalgia or the reality of old age but to a dawning awareness of the passage of time at the very age when all is about to become, as he put it, “struggle and bitter combat.”[2]

In 1964, the year Lemieux painted Blanche, he was 60 years old. He was about to retire from the École des beaux-arts de Québec after a teaching career that had spanned more than 25 years. His works were increasingly present on the Canadian art market, on view at the Roberts Gallery in Toronto, the Zanettin Gallery in Quebec City, and the Denyse Delrue and Agnès Lefort galleries in Montreal. The Galerie Agnès Lefort—acquired in 1961 by Mira Godard, who turned it into the Galerie Godard Lefort in 1964—hosted solo Lemieux exhibitions that drew rapturous reviews and had prominent art collectors and well-to-do patrons from Montreal and Toronto lining up at the cash registers. Blanche was among the paintings Godard sold in that period. It then remained in the same family for six decades.

We thank Michèle Grandbois, author of Jean Paul Lemieux au Musée du Québec, for contributing the above essay, translated from the French. This work will be included in Grandbois’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.

1. Jean Paul Lemieux, interview by Madeleine Poulin, Le Point, Société Radio-Canada, December 24, 1985.

2. Quoted in Guy Robert, Jean Paul Lemieux, la poétique de la souvenance (Quebec City: Éditions Garneau, 1968), 10.

Available for post auction sale. CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

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Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
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[ translate ]

CC QMG RCA
1904 - 1990
Canadian

Blanche
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1964 and on verso titled and dated on the gallery label
40 1/2 x 21 in, 102.9 x 53.3 cm

CAD
PRICE: $241,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

PROVENANCE
Galerie Godard Lefort, Montreal, 1964
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection
By descent to the present Private Collection, Montreal

LITERATURE
Guy Robert, Lemieux, 1975, reproduced page 250

The colour white for Jean Paul Lemieux is associated with the years of his greatest celebrity, the classic period, and its glorious snow-covered landscapes. But there is more to white than winter’s vast silence, as we can see in Lemieux’s 1974 self-portrait (collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec), which concludes the classic period with its reign of white. In it the 70-year-old painter appears clad in white, his face with its aged features outlined against a white wall on which two of his emblematic snow paintings hang, Le visiteur du soir (1956, National Gallery of Canada) and Le cavalier dans la neige (1967, private collection). Lemieux is telling us that white is also the colour of passing time.

White began its spread across his “character” paintings later than in his landscapes. The first examples came in the 1960s, notably in Le manteau de lapin (1964, sold by Heffel June 1, 2022, private collection) and L’Apôtre (1966, private collection). The subjects of these fictional portraits stand out against the bright, glowing surface, like an opera aria in paint. The same is also true of Blanche, from 1964. Once again, organic life here is pared down: Blanche has only her expressive tan face, her hair and her quite distinctive features. Note how Lemieux has eliminated all spatial anchors from his composition. The horizon line running across the bottom of the other paintings is now gone. Those characters were also anchored in life, in the rigours of winter and the friar’s asceticism. Blanche, however, even in the title, is unconnected to anything other than herself.

The glowing mass of her garment outlines her flat upper body, her sloped shoulders and long arms, and then reveals her small wrists cut off at the hands. We see also a white collar on a white dress, white bow on a white background, two tiny white dots on the eyes, the face with its broad forehead and lingering prepubescent plumpness. Lemieux has placed Blanche’s head on a cylindrical neck, with an ever-so-slight lean to the left. Mummified in the purity of her youth, one has the impression that she is faltering. Her damp, hollow eyes are enveloped in circles of grey. That gaze will be familiar to those who know Lemieux, its intensity recognized from L’Orpheline (1956, National Gallery of Canada) and the little girl in La Mort par un clair matin (1963, MNBAQ). Here, Lemieux has twisted a certain tension into the full pink lips. The quiet expression on Blanche’s face contrasts bluntly with her immaculate surroundings.

How to capture on the canvas the passing of time, that “dimension only human beings are conscious of,” wondered Lemieux in a 1985 interview.[1] He got there from various directions in his work, evoking rich memories as in 1910 Remembered (1962, private collection) or by staging the aforementioned self-portrait at 70 years of age. In Blanche, Lemieux draws our attention not to childhood nostalgia or the reality of old age but to a dawning awareness of the passage of time at the very age when all is about to become, as he put it, “struggle and bitter combat.”[2]

In 1964, the year Lemieux painted Blanche, he was 60 years old. He was about to retire from the École des beaux-arts de Québec after a teaching career that had spanned more than 25 years. His works were increasingly present on the Canadian art market, on view at the Roberts Gallery in Toronto, the Zanettin Gallery in Quebec City, and the Denyse Delrue and Agnès Lefort galleries in Montreal. The Galerie Agnès Lefort—acquired in 1961 by Mira Godard, who turned it into the Galerie Godard Lefort in 1964—hosted solo Lemieux exhibitions that drew rapturous reviews and had prominent art collectors and well-to-do patrons from Montreal and Toronto lining up at the cash registers. Blanche was among the paintings Godard sold in that period. It then remained in the same family for six decades.

We thank Michèle Grandbois, author of Jean Paul Lemieux au Musée du Québec, for contributing the above essay, translated from the French. This work will be included in Grandbois’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.

1. Jean Paul Lemieux, interview by Madeleine Poulin, Le Point, Société Radio-Canada, December 24, 1985.

2. Quoted in Guy Robert, Jean Paul Lemieux, la poétique de la souvenance (Quebec City: Éditions Garneau, 1968), 10.

Available for post auction sale. CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business. Bidders must ensure they have satisfied themselves with the condition of the Lot prior to bidding. Condition reports are available upon request.

[ translate ]
Estimate
Unlock
Time, Location
23 Nov 2023
Canada
Auction House
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