QUÉBEC CITY, May 2, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ - The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec (MNBAQ) Foundation proudly presents Le Printemps Pellan à Toronto, an exhibition of 50 signed silkscreen prints by Alfred Pellan (1906–1988) available for purchase at the Thompson Landry Gallery from May 3 to June 2. The works are grouped into six sets to display the very wide range of this emblematic figure of 20th-century Québec art. "This is the first time the MNBAQ Foundation—which has held the rights to Pellan's works since 2010 through an extraordinary bequest from the artist and his wife—has put a selection of Pellan's silkscreens up for sale at a commercial gallery. Art collectors and connoisseurs will no doubt be thrilled." said Jean St-Gelais, the MNBAQ Foundation board chair.
This philanthropic intitiative in Toronto will go to support the MNBAQ Foundation in its work on behalf of its home museum in Québec City—to enrich its collections, add diversity to its exhibitions, and make its educational and cultural programs more widely available.
Québec City's one-of-a-kind museum complex
The MNBAQ museum complex comprises four distinctive pavilions in the verdant magnificence of Québec City's Plains of Abraham, one of the world's iconic urban parks. MNBAQ—custodian to the reference collection of Québec art with over 40,000 works representing close to 4,500 artitsts—celebrates Pellan in a permanent exhibition entitled Alfred Pellan: Wide-Awake Dreamer. An original work of this exhibition, Et le Soleil continue, will be presented at the Thompson Landry Gallery for the duration of Printemps Pellan in Toronto.
"What a pleasure it is to be here to spread the word about Pellan in Toronto," said MNBAQ board chair and Group Germain Hotels copresident Christiane Germain, "and to introduce people to, or remind them of our wonderful museum in Québec City. We added an architecturally remarkable, international-calibre pavilion in 2016 with the support and encouragement of a philanthropist living here in Toronto—Mr. Pierre Lassonde. His participation was the key to a private fundraising campaign unprecedented in Québec City's history that brought us the building that now bears his name. And with Alfred Pellan putting the spotlight on Québec art here in Toronto, what better to time to invite you all to come to Québec City this summer to experience MNBAQ for yourselves."
From Pellan to Miró, with the entire MNBAQ Québec art collection to boot
"Pellan is one of the leading figures in the National Collection," said MNBAQ executive director Jean-Luc Murray, "but there's much more to see—the collections of historical and pre-1960 modern art on display in the 350 Years of Artistic Practices in Québec exhibition; works by Jean Paul Lemieux, Fernand Leduc, Alfred Pellan, and Jean-Paul Riopelle in Four Figures of Modern Art in Québec; Québec contemporary art from 1960 to the present; Inuit works; design and decorative art; and a masterpiece by David Altmejd, Québec's best-known sculptor of his generation and most sought-after sculptor on the world stage. Topping it all off is this summer's MNBAQ's headline exhibition featuring Spanish artist Joan Miró in a North American exclusive that opens on May 30: Miró in Mallorca: A Free Spirit."
Pellan' silkscreens in Toronto
Pellan's prints will be on display in Toronto throughout the month of May. They cut straight to the essential, reexamining his stylistic interests with their planes of colour ringed with motifs. His fantastical bestiaries, voluptuous female figures, and visionary landscapes burst forth with the renewed freshness that Pellan's discovery of silkscreen printing engendered.
Presented in collaboration with the magnificent Thompson Landry Gallery, the exhibition will be full of warmth and energy, like a celebration of our Canadian spring. The Gallery, located in the Distillery District, is entirely dedicated to modern and contemporary Québec art. "Le Printemps Pellan à Toronto is made possible through the generous support of the MNBAQ Foundation's partners. These include, in addition to the Thompson Landry Gallery, the Québec Government Office in Toronto, PearTree Canada, Air Canada, Group Germain Hotels, and DeSerres." said Lise Dubé, Chief Executive Officer of the the MNBAQ Foundation.
Alfred Pellan in brief: a generous, protean artist
The prolific career of Alfred Pellan (1906–1988) was marked by a singular artistic curiosity applied to a wide variety of forms and media. The sheer volume of paintings, drawings, and prints he produced, added to his interventions on objects, furniture, and his own home, attest to a near-existential hunger to create. From his first canvases to his last works, Pellan created a visual world awash in profound poetry. He assimilated the great currents of modern art—Cubism, Fauvism, Surrealism—with startling boldness and skill in the service of a plastic vocabulary all his own.
Alfred Pellan's life in brief
Pellan was born in Québec City's Saint-Roch district on May 16, 1906, entering the city's School of Fine Arts in the fall of 1921 at the age of 15. A year later, he sold his first painting to the National Gallery of Canada. In 1926, he was awarded one of the Québec government's first-ever scholarships to study in Paris, where he attended the National School of Fine Arts. He remained in France until 1940, doing the rounds of artists' studios and galleries to learn about the goings-on outside institutional and traditional circles. He absorbed the modern art then dominating the Parisian scene and in 1935 was awarded first prize in the Exhibition of Mural Art.
The Second World War led him to return to Canada, where he settled in Montréal. The works he brought back from Paris were inspired by Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism and lauded by his peers at his exhibitions in Québec City and Montréal. His return created a shock wave in artistic circles in the province, where the currents in European modern art that influenced him were little known. His works of the period reflect those of the artists he particularly admired—Picasso, Dufy, Matisse, Bonnard, Ernst, Klee, Miró, Van Gogh—and attest both to his efforts to create a synthesis of the leading modern painting styles and to his refusal to join any single school.
In the mid-1940s, Pellan's work branched out into new creative areas. He illustrated poetry collections and other literary materials (such as Le voyage d'Arlequin in 1946), designed theatre costumes and sets (such as La Nuit des rois in 1946), and painted murals (like the ones he created for the National Library of Canada). Exploring other disciplines in no way cooled the fire of his creative passions. His imagery grew wilder and more extravagant. His motifs and colours in the period display a tremendous vitality. The prolific period he embarked on would continue for nearly two decades, culminating in the enchanting, magical works of the 1960s. With the 1970s emerged a new playfulness spiced with bawdy humour. At the heart of this new production was the bestiary theme he developed in a variety of media (collage, printing, painting, mural). There were also his interventions applied to pictures from magazines, and the off-the-wall practice of repurposing objects into side-splitting and often raunchy puns. Alfred Pellan died in Laval on October 31, 1988.
SOURCE Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec
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