The Montreal Dock
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts catalog n.8. Exhibition at the MMFA Adrien Hébert exhibition (June 21, 1996 - September 01, 1997) Cacum Circuit
Bernard Desrochers Gallery N. 6577
Walter Klinkhoff Gallery
Private collection Mr. & Mrs. Baillie
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During the 1920s, the artistic movement of Precisionism appeared in the United States and was characterized by a cubist and figurative representation of industrial and urban themes. American artists like Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe are involved in this movement. In addition, several works by Edward Hopper relate to Precisionism in style and subject matter without the latter being a member of the movement. Precisionism will remain mainly American, although some European artists such as the German Karl Volker will retain in their works elements of industrial architecture. Quebec therefore did not see such an artistic movement in the 20th century, francophone artists between the two wars will mainly encamp themselves in the motif of the countryside where agriculture and the local way of life will be advocated. This vision will also be strongly favored in the culture by the French-speaking Catholic clergy.
Adrien Hébert will therefore be the exception by presenting exclusively paintings with an urban subject at the Salon du Printemps of the Art Association between 1924 and 1939. Pierre L'Allier curator of modern art at the Musée des beaux-arts du Québec, in the book Adrien Hébert quotes this: “it is the same positive vision of the industrial world that binds the Americans and Adrien Hébert, and distinguishes the latter from other Quebec artists. "1
We cannot qualify the works of Adrien Hébert as part of the Precisionism movement, but he was the first French-speaking Canadian artist to be interested in the urban landscapes and industrial architecture of Montreal in the 1920s.
The artist Marc-Aurèle Fortin is also interested in this theme, approaching it in his own way. The industrial motif of Fortin is surrounded by natural elements of the landscape, the point of view is more distant. Fortin opposes the industrial world to that of the countryside.
It is different for Hébert, where his only subject will focus on industrialization. Here, in the work entitled Élévateur à grains (Montreal Dock), the treatment is brought together and the only subject is the architecture of the port. The lines of the port facilities frame the composition of the painting and the natural elements which are, in the work that concerns us, only the sky is secondary to the composition.
Adrien Hébert will therefore be one of the forerunner artists of modernity in Quebec. The audacity of points of view, the geometry of the lines of his urban subjects set him apart from any other artist of his time.
1. L'ALLIER, Pierre, Adrien Hébert, Musée du Québec, page 147
Adrien Hébert (1890 - 1967)
The Montreal Dock, c. 1924-1926
Galerie Cosner au Ritz-Carlton Montréal
Oil on canvas
Fine Canadian Art
Artwork dimensions: 48 x 63,5 cm / 19'' x 25'' Dimensions with frame
Signed lower right