Jean McEwen

Canadian artist, Associate member RCA, Non-Figurative Artists' Association of Montréal, recipient of Paul-Emile Borduas

Jean McEwen

Canadian artist Jean McEwen was born in Montreal on December 14, 1923, to a Scottish father and a French mother. He studied pharmacy at the University of Montreal while having a strong interest in literature and art. His artistic career began when he graduated in 1949, having his painting Still Life with Pineapples accepted at the 66th Spring Show of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. The meeting with Paul-Émile Borduas will have a profound impact on his artistic intentions. A trip to France from where he meets Jean-Paul Riopelle and Sam Francis confirms his interest in abstraction. This whole European period is full of contacts with painters who influenced his progress as, among others Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.

Jean McEwen's first major exhibition was held at the Galerie d'Agnès Lefort in 1951. In 1955, L'Actuelle, a non-figurative art gallery created by the painter Guido Molinari and the journalist Fernande Saint-Martin, opened its doors in Montreal. , which allows him to expose his paintings. This will be the beginning of a long exhibition period that will take him to several Canadian cities, Europe and the United States.

The sixties are good for Jean McEwen.  First, he is named president of the Association of Non-figurative Painters of Montreal, a group of artists including Rita Letendre, Claude Tousignant and Marcelle Ferron to name these. Then, McEwen won the artistic competition of the province of Quebec in 1961. He participated in the exhibition A Quarter Century of Canadian Painting organized by the National Gallery of Canada and exhibited at the Tate Museum in London by presenting 8 works of art. span. In the same year, 1964, Jean McEwen became an associate member of the Royal Academy of Canada. The following year he is honored by the Canada Council for the Arts. He is commissioned to complete a stained glass window for Sir George Williams University, now Concordia University.

Like other Canadian artists, Jean McEwen is approached to participate in the large exhibition tour organized by the National Gallery of Canada for the exhibition "Three Hundred Years of Art History of Canada". stopped in Montreal as part of Expo 67 and in Toronto and later completed a mural for Place des Arts in Montreal.

In 1973, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal dedicated a retrospective of his 20 years of career. The initiative was taken over by the Museum of Fine Art of Montreal in 1987. Jean McEwen received the Victor Lynch-Staunton Scholarship from the Canada Council for the Arts in 1977 and the Paul Emile Borduas Award in 1998.

He died on January 9, 1999

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