Gros arbre à Ste-Rose
Marc-Aurèle Fortin traveled the Province of Quebec from 1936 to 1948, painting the regions of Gaspésie, Charlevoix and Saguenay. The late 1940s marked his return to Ste-Rose, the rural area he knew best. At that time, Fortin found himself in a tumultuous artistic milieu with the arrival of moderns such as Pellan and Borduas. A period where Quebec art is shifting and where Abstract Art is imposing. The artworks of Fortin from the 1940s to the 1950s marked the turning point in the vision of artistic criticism. Despite himself, Fortin is the painter of the tradition; his works are put in opposition to contemporary art. This situation testifies the social climate of Quebec at the time when rurality and tradition rivaled a new modernity worn by a younger generation of painters.
The artist advocate the national art of the French-Canadian terroir. Unlike his predecessors such as Suzor-Coté and Clarence Gagnon, Marc-Aurèle Fortin painted the habitat rather than inhabitant. He wanted to paint rurality beyond the winter climate of Quebec. Moreover, Marc-Aurèle Fortin said: "So I invented the green trees and said: There is something more than snow in the province of Quebec."1
The nature of Fortin was a synonymous of countryside and agricultural activities. For Fortin, national identity passed by that rather than by the wild nature of open spaces. For an artist hang to this vision of nationalism and traditions, the symbol of the tree is an inevitable consequence. According to François-Marc Gagnon, the tree suggests rooting to the land and traditions. This symbolism found in Catholicism is echoed by Fortin, himself a strong believer.
Gros arbre à Ste-Rose is made by a 60-year-old Fortin who saw the French-Canada modernize and develop. At this stage of life, he paints what he has lived and not what was coming. He painted his values and his country. Pierre Bourgault published in the Press of November 25, 1961, "... we realize , that Fortin is perhaps the most true painter, compared to the French-Canadian milieu, that Canada has ever produced"2
1.GAGNON, François-Marc, Tiré du livre Marc-Aurèle Fortin, l'expérience de la couleur, paragraphe les paradoxes de Marc-Aurèle Fortin, page 161.
2. GAGNON, François-Marc, Tiré du livre Marc-Aurèle Fortin, l'expérience de la couleur, paragraphe les paradoxes de Marc-Aurèle Fortin, page 162.
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Marc-Aurèle Fortin (1888 - 1970)
Gros arbre à Ste-Rose
Galerie Cosner au Ritz-Carlton Montréal
Oil on panel
Canadian landscape painter
121,9 cm x 152,4 cm / 48'' x 60''
Signed lower center right