The Artist

 Translated from the French by: RACHEL ONOFREYO 

 

Jeanne Auclair 2008

 Jeanne Courtemanche Auclair is a multidisciplinary artist born in Montreal, Quebec. She lives and works in the borough of Outremont. Jeanne envisions her artistic journey,  since the age of four years, « as an immense rainbow covering all the moments of her life ».  She draws, paints, engraves, and also creates mosaics and tapestry.

 FESTIVAL appears on the home page. It is a mixed-media work created by Jeanne Auclair in 1996.


It is acrylic on canvas, with collages. It measures 35.8 by 39.4 inches. In 1997, FESTIVAL won First Grand Prize for painting from the Cercle des Artistes peintres et Sculpteurs du Quebec. The distinguished author, art expert, and Doctor of Aesthetics Guy Robert chaired the competition.

In his book « Cent-vingt du Cercle...»  ICONIA Editions,1989, Guy Robert describes artist Jeanne Auclair as having « an ever-youthful gaze, and the savoury verdure of vision ». In October 1995, with the support of several personalities in the visual arts and communications, he wrote:

«. .. JEANNE AUCLAIR, whom I esteem greatly and of whom I have observed the important work for about thirty years - in the domains of painting, of tapestry (of which she is one of the great names in Quebec), of cultural events.

Her personal contribution to the very  dynamic evolution of art in Quebec, which I have highlighted in many of my books and in hundreds of articles, courses and conferences, is characterized by a great generousity, a profound originality (independent of fashion) and true professionalism. And the distribution of many of her works outside Quebec contributes to our cultural influence. »

In September 2006, the Montreal newspaper La Presse reports on a mural of natural stone created by the artist in 1963. It remains « vibrant and unchanged » in a building under complete renovation... http://www.krafix.com/801signature/fr/html/pho-lob.html  (To see the article, click Reviews at the top of this page, then click « Profession : artiste »,

The above bears testimony to the contribution to, and influence of, Jeanne Auclair on Quebec culture. Her works are in collections around the world : in Canada, South America, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and Africa.

A Multidisciplinary Artist : the Arts and the Arts and Crafts 

Jeanne Auclair believes that the drawing, shape, colour and volume are the basis of all visual creation, whatever the material used. This can be acrylic, oil, watercolour or fibre, clay or mosaic. "Let us experiment,” she says, because “masterpieces are never but fortunate attempts”, in the words of Georges Sand.

Painting

Jeanne Auclair continues in the tradition of the great masters of painting in Quebec :

Ozias Leduc, the landscape artist with whom she shares profound affinities. 

Alfred Pellan, who opened the doors of Modernity for her during two years of painting workshops. These complete her studies at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, from 1942 to 1947.

Paul-Emile Borduas,  the moving spirit of the Renewal in Quebec art during that period. He advised Jeanne « Live in harmony with your deepest desires. Dare ! »

The Ordre de Bon Temps 1946-1954

Dare! he said. In 1946, Jeanne along with several friends founded a youth leisure movement called The Ordre de Bon Temps. They held a Great Costume Ball to launch the new organization. Jeanne created posters for the Ball , and later masks and costumes for their theatrical productions, and illustrations for the Ordre’s newsletter La Galette. Jeanne also participated as a leisure animator and took part in various International Folk Festivals to which the OBT was invited.  " In the domain of leisure, we can count the Ordre de Bon Temps among the forerunners of the Quiet Revolution as was, at the same time, the Refus Global of Borduas in the artistic world" wrote  Michel Bellefleur, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières in 1986. For more information, please see Jeanne Auclair’s complete narrative about the ORDRE DE BON TEMPS  on this web site

DRAWING

n 1990, Jeanne Auclair returned to the sources of freehand drawing, and to pure lines. She began to create spontaneous, imaginative paintings. They include unexpected collages, and lettering in the style of Braque, Picasso, and Schwitters. Jeanne is fascinated by the wild geese stamped across murals by her compatriot Jean-Paul Riopelle. She is moved by the pared-down simplicity of the characters drawn by Montrealer Betty Goodwin.

Jeanne Auclair  paints with acrylic on canvas in: QUADRATUREUN PENSEZ-Y BIENVIENNE L'ÉTÉJEUX DE MAINSLE  PATERNEL,  and ANÉMONES.

She paints on paper or cardboard in: AUTOPORTRAITADAM,  and FUGITIF.

Jeanne often uses acrylic mixed with pastels, watercolour, oil or ink crayons. She rips, scrapes, and restructures using fibres, prints, light metals, sand and gravel, and dried leaves.

 L'Homme-orchestre 1990

The collection called  l'Humain dans son environnement social et culturel (Man in his social and cultural setting) includes : FESTIVAL (on the home page) and several other works. These are :
CHAIR et ESPRIT,  L'ILE ET SES ALENTOURS,  FRAISES FRAÎCHES ET
TOMATES  ROSES,  NOËL RUE SAINT-DENIS,  LE VIEUX PORT, 
COMME L'OISEAU,  LE GOLFE EN GUERRE, 
and VERS LA LUMIÈRE.

The collection called la Fête  features the interplay of tissue, rice, and textured papers. It includes: VENT FOU,  FLAMBÉE,  LA LUNE,  DANSE,  LES MUTANTES, BRUISSEMENTS  MERVEILLEUSE  MARGIE !  and L'OISELLERIE

The painting L'HOMME-ORCHESTRE, appears to the right. It features people alone, in couples, or with families, in a festive mood. They have put on disguises, and celebrate in the street..

Mosaic

In 1956, Jeanne and her former husband Louis Auclair travelled to Mexico. They were taken with this light-filled country. They admired the flamboyant murals created by local artists and artisans, that adorn prominent city buildings.

Jeanne and Louis returned to Montreal with renewed energy. In their luggage, they brought back a bagful of glass mosaics.

They decorated a small table with mosaic. It impressed a decorator friend, who ordered 6 for his clients…then 12… The couple enlarged their studio, to prepare for the most complex form of artistic expression, the MURAL.

 Automne québécois - 1961

With the help of an artist-mosaicist, they discovered the mosaics of antiquity. They reproduced fragments of Byzantine figurative work, from the 5th century. These ancient masterpieces were undeniably magnificent. However, they longed to create more personal works.

During eight busy years, they created mosaic murals, some of them large-scale works. They used glass mosaics, then increasingly,  local minerals: granite, marble, slate, and quartz.

Their first contract was to decorate the religious furniture of a church with mosaic. This is at the St-Damien-de-Brandon Church in Quebec. They are assigned the symbolic motif for the high altar: “The Last Supper” by Da Vinci. They design the remaining motifs.

In 1961, the Association professionnelle des Artisans du Québec awards a prize to AUTOMNE QUEBECOIS (Quebecois Autumn). Journalist Paul Gladu writes about the couple: “Their work has youth, brilliance, and skill”.

Jeanne and Louis then produce two monumental murals, based on sketches by Alfred Pellan. They include imaginary ceramic figures, on a  background of glass mosaics. These murals cover the adjacent walls of residential pools.

TU SERAS PÊCHEUR D'HOMMES (You Shall Be a Fisher of Men) is a mural at the Grand Séminaire de Montréal. It is based on a sketch by  Magdelaine Morin.

LES PROFESSIONS (The Professions) is a mural of monumental size created in 1963. It is located at 801 Sherbrooke St. East, in Montreal. It is semi-figurative, based on the assigned theme. It remains well-preserved.

To see Jeanne Auclair's mosaics, click On-Line Gallery at the top of this page. Then click Mosaics.

The Tapestry Mural

Another personal dream of Jeanne’s becomes reality. It is to unroll onto the white walls of our homes, or the beige, exposed concrete of our public buildings, the warmth of colourful wool tapestries such as those of the medieval castles.

 

Le Silence, tapisserie 1977
 

These were known as “nomad walls” because wealthy French seigneurs travelled with them from castle to castle. They hung these tapestries to cut the chill of the castle walls.

Jeanne wished to revive the use of tapestry as an expressive art, rather than as a way to reproduce famous paintings. Tapestry reproductions were imported into Quebec until 1940. At that time, the Frenchman Jean Lurçat transformed the art of the tapestry.

The architect Le Corbusier believed that “Tapestry in the home fulfills a genuine poetic need.” The French historian René Huygue states that, “The Renaissance of tapestry is the major event in contemporary art.

At the Auclair home, Louis was skilful and clever with his hands, able to make something out of anything. He stocked their workshop with huge skeins of wool, fashions tools, hooks, punches and hollow needles. He installed sturdy canvas on large work-frames, of a scale worthy of their projects and ambitions!

Jeanne was inspired by the drawings of their children Pascale and Jean-Emmanuel. These depicted burds, girafs, [sic] flowers and sun-houses. Dressed with wool loops, these sketches become  their first small crocheted wall hangings.  

Jeanne now designed and co-produces tapestries as well as mosaics. She found that this creative endeavour engages the hands and frees the spirit.

From 1970 to 1993, with the help of tireless assistants,  Jeanne created a group of tapestry murals that integrate with architecture. Since 1985, two of these decorate the pink marble entrance hall of a residential palace in Saudi Arabia.

Two styles dominate her tapestries:

  • Earlier works use primary colours. Jeanne says, “These colours remind me of the magic prism, that played on the crystal door handle of my childhood home. It dispersed the sun’s luminous rays and  projected them onto the ceilings, into infinity”.
    These tapestries include: SPLENDEURS DU MATIN (Morning Splendours), METAMORPHOSE, (Metamorphosis), EQUINOXE (Equinox), and MODULATIONS 1 et 2 (Modulations 1 and 2).
  • Later works are inspired by nature. These tapestries are figurative, with contrasting textures. They are created with natural fibres from Quebec and Uruguay. These tapestries include: JARDIN D'ETE (Summer Garden), FLAMME (Flame), BAIE SAINT-PAUL (St. Paul Bay), LE SILENCE (Silence), FREMISSANTES FEUILLAISONS (Rustling Leaves), and BOURDONNANTES ODEURS (Fragrant Buzzing). 

To see the tapestries of Jeanne Auclair, click On-Line Gallery at the top of this page, then click Tapestries.

Engraving

 

AMOUR, gravure 2004

In 2001, Jeanne began a new experience: engraving and etching. She created limited editions of AMOUR (Love), PREMIER REGARD (First Glance),  ELOISE, CHRYSANTHEMES, and PAIX ET JOIE (Peace and Joy), among others.

Jeanne also explored collagraphy and reliefs. She enhanced reliefs using colour and unusual materials such as shells, dried twigs, and string.These works include designs of human figures, animals, and plants. Examples are: LIBRES! (Free!), LA LICHETTE (The Licking), BOUTURES (Cuttings), TEMPETE (The Storm), LA CHANTEUSE(The Singer), and FICELLE ET COQUILLAGES (String and Shells).

Her works are now smaller and more meditative. They draw us in to the dream-like and the imaginary, a place of interior fulfilment.

To see the engravings of Jeanne Auclair, click On-Line Gallery at the top of this page, then click Engravings.

 

EXHIBITIONS  by Jeanne Auclair receive critical and public acclaim. Some of these include:

  • for many years - a key participant at the Exhibitions of the Salon des Metiers d’arts du Quebec (Montreal)
  • 2008 - solo retrospective at the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec (Montréal)
  • 2000 - solo retrospective at La  Maison de la Culture  Ahuntsic-Cartierville (Montreal)
  • 1998 - solo retrospective at La Maison de la Culture Rosemont-Petite-Patrie (Montreal)
  • 1994 - group exhibit representing Québec with five other artists  at Festival annuel de Cornouaille (Quimper, Bretagne, France)
  • 1985 -  group exhibit at Via Design at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal.
  • 1980 - the Canadian Embassies (New York and Boston)
  • 1977 - the Musee du Quebec
  • 1975 - Place des Arts (Montreal)

For more information about these and other exhibitions, click Her Journey at the top of this page.

Critical Acclaim

To read reviews of Jeanne Auclair's work, click Reviews at the top of this page.

 
 "Jardin d'été,"  1992, 80" x 80"  Collection of Le Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec  Available

Acquire a Work by Jeanne Auclair

The works of Jeanne Auclair are in private and corporate collections in Quebec, Canada, and around the world. For examples of her work, click Her Journey or On-Line Gallery, at the top of this page. Many works are identified as available ( DISPONIBLE  )or as belonging to a Private collection ( COLLECTION PRIVÉE ). These are included for your viewing enjoyment.

 

The On-Line Gallery lists other works, including Paintings, Drawings, Engravings, Tapestries, and Sculptures, as Available. To acquire these works, click Contact Us at the top of the page!

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In the words of the great SHI TAO:

When the wrist is guided by the spirit,
Rivers and mountains reveal their soul.