Jacques de Tonnancour

Canadian painter, Order of Canada , Prisme d'Yeux

Jacques de Tonnancour

Born in Montreal in January 1917, the painter and photographer Jacques de Tonnancour (also Jacques Godefroy de Tonnancour) is interested in arts and sciences from an early age. Greatly inspired by artists like Picasso, Matisse and Dufy, De Tonnacour began his artistic formation at the School of Fine Art of Montreal in 1937 and at the Montreal School of Art and Design with Arthur Lismer from the Group of Seven, as a teacher. Independent of artistic conventions, De Tonnancour became a friends of Alfred Pellan and Paul-Émile Borduas in 1948. The same year, he wrote the manifesto Prisme d'yeux, in which he seeks to counteract the influence of the Automatisms and he proposes a vision of art and painting without boundaries in terms of ideologies and aesthetics.

From the beginning of his career until the 1960's, Tonnancour painted mainly Laurentian landscapes and still lifes. From the 1960's to the end of his career as a painter, he explores abstraction and combines symbolic allusions and geometric forms. He used several artistic techniques that allow him to create mixed media.

In addition, he produces several artworks for the Quebec’s Policy of Integrating Art into the Architecture and Environment of Government and Public Buildings and Sites. These works are in the collections of the University of Montreal and the Société des transports de Montréal. Professor Emeritus, he taught for thirty years at the University of Quebec in Montreal. In 1981, he completely stopped painting to dedicated himself entirely to photography.

Awards and Recognition:
Officer of the Order of Canada
Officer of the National Order of Québec
Doctorat Honoris Causa, Concordia University and McGill University

Jacques de Tonnancour died on 13 January 2005 in Montreal.


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