Jordi Bonet

Canadian artist, RCA

Jordi Bonet

The painter and sculptor Jordi Bonet was born in Catalonia on May 7, 1932. At a very young age, Jordi Bonet lives in the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War and the attacks of the German aviation of the late 1930s. In 1939, at the age of seven, Bonet falls from a tree and breaks his arm. This one must unfortunately be amputated due to the gangrene which had developed. Art lover, Jordi visits with his father museums, churches and Roman remains. He then left with friends to travel to different neighborhoods in Barcelona to practice drawing. He left school at age 17 and started classes in 1950 with Antoni Prats. The following year, he attended workshops of the painter and muralist Vila-Arufat. He is passionate about the great Catalan masters, including Gaudi and Dali. The first exhibition of the artist takes place in Barcelona with the painters of Cercle Maillol including Tapies and Tharrats.

After studying at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and a stay in Paris, he moved to Quebec, in the Trois-Rivières region, in 1954 and began a series of on-paper inks. He held his first Quebec exhibition in June 1955 under the honorary presidency of Maurice Duplessis, Premier of Quebec. In December of the same year, he moved to his fellow Catalan, the painter Jesus Carlos Villalonga in Montreal and the next day presents drawings at the gallery Agnes Lefort which are acquired immediately. Subsequently, he creates works in oil and his first murals. Close to his studio, Jordi Bonet learns ceramics with Jean Cartier and Claude Vermette in Sainte-Adèle. In September of the same year, he exhibited ceramics at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts with Jean Cartier and Jean-Paul Riopelle.

In 1957, an exhibition of drawings and paintings was held at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Thereafter, many orders of ceramics are executed in the small oven of the apartment of the Bonet family, rue Prieur in Montreal. The Bonet family leaves for Spain in 1957 after a stay in Sant Feliu de Guixols on the Costa Grava and meeting with Salvador Dali in Port Lligat follows. The family returns to Montreal and Jordi Bonet receives the First Drawing Prize at the Spring Salon at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

The production of the 1960s is characterized by large orders of ceramic murals for the church of Saint-Raphael Jonquière, Seminary Metabetchouan, the Ursulines convent of Loretville, etc. In 1963, he made his first major work entitled "Homage to Gaudi" for the doors of the Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Place des Arts in Montreal under the direction of Henri Beaulac, decorator and Fred Lenbensold architect. From that moment, orders are flocking. These achievements are found in several regions of Quebec, Canada, the United States and Saudi Arabia. The orders are so abundant that the artist settles, with several apprentices, in a former cinema in Pierrefonds to have the necessary space to coordinate orders.

In 1966, Jordi Bonet became an associate member of the Royal Canadian Art Academy and a member of the Association of Professional Painters of Quebec. For two years, he taught art at the School of Architecture of the University of Montreal. Orders continue; a canopy for the Kennedy Airport Chapel in New York, five totemic aluminum figures for Expo 67 and large aluminum doors for the National Art Center in Ottawa.

He acquired the Manoir Rouville-Campbell in Saint-Hilaire in 1969, which he undertook to renovate. That same year, he created his mural carved out of concrete in the hall of the Grand Théâtre de Québec. "You are not disgusted to die cellar band" (by Claude Péloquin) triggers a controversy that went to the National Assembly to end in a moratorium in 1971. That's when he created the poured concrete wall for Montreal's Pie IX metro station. In 1973, he produced a series of small works on polished aluminum drawn up to 12 copies. In parallel, he learns during this period that he has leukemia, Jordi Bonet knows himself condemned. He returns to lonely creation and works tirelessly. He tackles silkscreening, painting, small formats in sculpture and drawing with the 160 sheets of the book of births, which is the most important work in terms of symbolism and the culmination of his career. It goes out on December 25, 1979.


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