Marc-Aurèle Fortin (1888 - 1970)
Laurentians Farm, vers 1930
Cosner Art Gallery - Montreal
Fine Canadian Art
22'' x 28'' / 55,8 x 71,1 cm
Signed lower left
Catalogue raisonné: A-0856.
The views of the Gaspe Peninsula, Baie St-Paul, Sainte-Rose and the Laurentians are some of Marc-Aurèle Fortin's favorite subjects. Throughout the pivotal periods of his career, the artist has been able to affirm his inventiveness through numerous variations on the theme of rural landscapes. In the 1930s, Fortin produced watercolors on paper enhanced with charcoal. The artist declares that this innovative technique "[...] casts a light on the blackboard and gives the shadows strength and, by applying the black pastel, it does not destroy the transparency of the watercolor" 1. In this sense, the work Ferme laurentienne (c. 1930) demonstrates its ability to renew its pictorial language, while promoting the national character of French-Canadian art. Early in his career, Fortin seeks to create an art that breaks with European academic traditions. For him, the particularity of French-Canadian national art lies in the authenticity of Quebec's lifestyle and campaigns. Agricultural reality, Fortin knew it well. In his youth, he worked on a farm in Sainte-Therese, north of Montreal. This experience in contact with the land "[...] seems to have nourished a love of peasant life that will not leave later" 2, said the art historian François-Marc Gagnon. Nevertheless, the traditional rural subject does not prevent the artist from asserting its innovative character by experimenting with new techniques. To this end, his mixed watercolors, like the work Ferme laurentienne, are characterized by their dramatic and disproportionate skies that dominate the landscape. According to Guy Robert, the non-finite aspect of Fortin's skies "[...] opens on one side to an ethereal reverie, but also imposes their astonishing graphic architecture [...] What remains unfinished in a work accentuates the dynamism, both on the execution side and on the side of expression "3. According to Robert, the unfinished character of Fortin's work can be translated into an invitation to the reader to "dream in the margins of the work as it stands and not to one of its possible extensions [...] "4.
1. About Marc-Aurèle Fortin reported by René Buisson (1995). Marc-Aurèle Fortin: Un maître inconnu, Montreal: Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum, p.115.
2. Francois-Marc Gagnon (2011). "Marc-Aurèle Fortin's paradox", Marc-Aurèle Fortin, l'expérience de la couleur, under the direction of Michèle Grandbois, Quebec: National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec; Montreal: Editions de l'Homme, p.156.
3. Guy Robert (1976). Marc-Aurèle Fortin: l'homme à l'oeuvre, Ottawa: Stanké, p. 138-139.
4. Ibid., P.139.