Canadian, Sculptor and Painter, Ordre National du Québec Chevalier (2004) et grand-officier (2023), Paul-Emile Borduas Price
Armand Vaillancourt, a painter and sculptor, is born in Black Lake, Quebec in 1929. In 1951, he enrolled at École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal, but he found the school's environment too restrictive for his creative spirit. Consequently, he decided to take his art to the streets. In 1953, he carved the Tree of La rue Durocher in Montreal, which was destined to be cut down by the city authorities. However, Vaillancourt seized the opportunity and transformed it into an urban work of art. Through this creation, he offered the people of Quebec an enduring artistic performance that is still celebrated to this day.
The artist went on to create significant pieces, including Je me souviens in Toronto and Écran d'acier in Ottawa. In 1971, Armand Vaillancourt created his most famous work, Québec Libre!, in San Francisco (Vaillancourt Fountain). This work sparked numerous controversies at the time.
Other urban works are visible in Quebec such as Intemporel in Chicoutimi or more recently the Coeur des Iles, in the Magdalen Islands.
Armand Vaillancourt won the Paul-Emile Borduas Award in 1993 and became a Knight of the Ordre National du Québec in 2004.
In June 2023, François Legault, the Prime Minister of Quebec, awarded him with the Grand-officier du Quebecthe highest distinction in the province.