Léon Bellefleur

Canadian artist , R.C.A. Prisme D'Yeux Manifesto, Contemporay Art Society, Quebec Modern Group, Montreal Association of Non-Figurative Artists Association

Léon Bellefleur

Leon Bellefleur is a Canadian painter and engraver, born in 1910 in Montreal. Underthe conservative influences of his father who discourages him from becoming a painter, the young LéonBellefleur began his studies at the École normale de Montréal. At the age of 19, he became a teacher for the Commission des écoles catholiques de Montréal. Career that served as a livelihood for 20 years. Around 1933, Léon Bellefleur studied drawing lessons given by a
professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in the basement of a local primarian school.

The return of Alfred Pellan to Quebec in the early 1940s was a revelation for the artist Bellefleur. Modernity arrived in Quebec and Bellefleur wanted to share it. He became a member of the Society of Contemporary Art from 1943 and partipate to 6 exhibitions. He then joined the Prisme d'Yeux movement directed by Alfred Pellan, signed their manifesto in 1948 and exhibited with the group. It is also thanks to this association that the artist discovered the interest of the surrealists for the unconscious as a source of inspiration. In 1950 Léon Bellefleur starred in his first major exhibition presented by the Art Association of Montreal. It was during these same years that he became friends with the artist Roland Giguère. in 1951, he won the first prize in modern painting at the 68th Spring Salon of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Leon Bellefleur leaves for a few months for France between 1954 and 55 to
learn the engraving at the reputable address of Johnny Friedlander. On February 1, 1956, a group of thirty artists founded the Association of Non-Figurative Artists of Montreal and appointed Léon Bellefleur as advisor. In the spring of 1957, he participated in an exhibition at the  Contemporary Art Gallery of Toronto alongside Paul-Emilie Borduas, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Mousseau. This exhibition earned him the attention of the selection committee for the Canada Council scholarship that he won the same year. Thanks to this prize, he returns to Europe and continues his apprenticeship in engraving. Theearly sixties are spent in France and installs a workshop near the Place Blanche known among the surrealist painters of the time. He participated in the exhibition organized by the Arditti Gallery in Paris in 1962, entitled Painters canadiens de Paris, bringing together Riopelle, Ferron, Lefebure and Borduas who had died.The National Gallery of Canada is organizing a retrospective of his works in 1966 and will travel to Ontario to end Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art in winter 1969. Léon Bellefleur is the first artist to win the famous Paul-Emile Borduas Award in 1977 by the Government of Quebec. During this same period, Editions Erta publishes the texts The walk to love of the poet Gaston Miron enhanced by five engravings of the painter.

"In the spirit of Bellefleur, it is the whirlwind, almost the maelstrom: Klee and children, Breton and Surrealism, Kandinsky and abstraction, Borduas and Automatism, the visionary fantasy of Dali or Pellan, the imaginations the tortures of Sade or Lautréamont, Tanguy and the dream space "(Guy Robert, Bellefleur, Iconia, 1988).

His work is known for its explosions of colors, a luminous palette, his work with a spatula and fine projections of painting, that is to say the lyrical abstraction that favors the free and spontaneous expression of the subconscious. He became a member of the Royal Academy of Canada in 1989. Leon Bellefleur dies in Montreal in 2007

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