Francine Simonin

Artiste canadienne-suisse, illustrator, engraver and painter

Francine Simonin

Francine Simonin was born on October 2, 1936, in Lausanne, Switzerland. She represents a generation of expressionist artists, including painters, draughtsmen, and engravers, both in her native country and in Montreal. From the beginning, she was nourished by regular travels throughout Europe and various encounters with influential artists of her time. In 1953, she began her apprenticeship at the Ecole cantonale des Beaux-art in Lausanne, where she chose to study painting and drawing. She developed her skills in collaboration with the painter Marcel Poncet and the sculptor Casimir Reymond, whose workshop she regularly attended for two years. Casimir Reymond’s studio was a prolific medium for her inspiration since she met artists and poets like Lelo Fiaux, Violette Diserens, Jean-Pierre Kaiser, and Anne-Marie Jaccottet there. However, the most important meeting was with Marguerite Duras, whom she met in the early 1960s and with whom she formed a sincere friendship until the 1980s.

She continued to expand her circle of inspiration by befriending the printer Raymond Meyer, with whom she maintained an important collaboration that lasted for several years. All these meetings sharpened her artistic sensibility and fertilized her creative process. In 1964, Francine Simonin received her first scholarship, the Federal Painting Scholarship, followed by her first exhibition at the Bridel Gallery a year later. She also received the Alice Bailly Scholarship in 1966, which allowed her to receive her first springboard for Canada: the Canada Council for the Arts scholarship in 1968. In the 1970s, Francine Simonin moved to Montreal and became an icon of Quebec expressionism. In Montreal, she began with an internship at the Atelier Graff, then moved on to teaching at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal in 1971, then at UQAM and finally at UQTR. During her career, she met Jean-Paul Riopelle, René Derouin, Serge Lemoyne, and Pierre Ayot. She also joined the group Media, Contrast and participated in the foundation of wood engravers Xylon-Québec. She taught a whole generation of young artists engraving techniques and contemporary print by participating in the Atelier Presse-Papier. This devotion to teaching enabled her to settle in Quebec and pursue her artistic practice in parallel with a workshop in Switzerland.

She then won several public commissions, including the Palais de Justice de Longueuil, several Pavilions at Laval University in Quebec City, at the Auditorium in Montreux, and for the Festival International de musique de Victoriaville in 1989. These commissions brought her a reputation as a committed and prolific artist. Her preferred medium was engraving, but from the 1980s, she explored painting in impressive formats that she could not afford in engraving.

For nearly half a century, Francine Simonin pursued a pictorial quest in constant renewal, exploring committed themes such as the woman’s body and its representation in art. She participated in nearly 200 solo and group exhibitions around the world, including Switzerland, France, Canada, the United States, Spain, etc. Her works are part of numerous museum and private collections, such as the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, and the Canada Council Art Bank in Ottawa. Francine Simonin died on October 9, 2020, at the age of 84, in Montreal.

Galerie Cosner is the leader in the sale of Francine Simonin's paintings. Contact us if you want to sell your painting by Francine Simonin.


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