La coulée

Catalogue raisonnée of Paul -Emile Borduas artworks # 2005-1160. Certified work by François-Marc Gagnon.

The so-called "Parisian" period of Paul-Émile Borduas' career spanned from 1955 to 1960 and was characterized by works with large, white, mashed surfaces dotted with black spots. Moreover, the work entitled the black star (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts) is emblematic of this period. Although here the painting La Coulée was sold to Blair C. Laing in March 1956 at the Borduas studio in Paris, the work is typical of the "New York" period from 1952 to 1955.

Already around the beginning of the 1950s, well before he set up his studio there, Borduas became interested in what is happening in modern art in United States. However, it will not fully adhere to the precepts of modern Americans. We note that Borduas adopts a pictorial style which evolves and which moves away from the treatment of the object distinct from the background of its automatist period. In 1954, Borduas experimented with the visions of artists of abstract expressionism such as Jackson Pollock by working on the technique of dripping in some of his watercolors. Then, the white and black of Franz Kline will certainly have more resonance in the creation of Borduas. He thus began compositions using the spatula rather than the brush and made the immaculate white predominate in his works. According to Francois-Marc Gagnon: "Borduas ends up questioning the object / background dichotomy of his automatic paintings. The object explodes; the background emigrates in the foreground; more and more textured shards and backgrounds eventually merge into a whole which is reminiscent of the all-over composition. "
We then note an important turning point in the painter's career. The works thus created by Borduas in New York are exhibited at the Passedoit Gallery and then at the young gallery Martha Jackson who will become an essential figure in the modern artistic landscape. These exhibitions will be very well received by New York critics. Texts from The Times, New Yorker and Art Digest are very positive in noting the aesthetics and maturity among other words of Borduas' works.

Despite the growing interest that Borduas enjoyed in New York, he embarked on the Liberty on September 21, 1955 for Paris. It was difficult for the painter who did not manage to have an exhibition in the City of Lights before 1959, a year before his death. Fortunately, the continued support of Martha Jackson in New York, Blair C. Laing in Toronto and Max Stern of Montreal allowed her to sell and above all to stay active on the North American scene. It is thanks to this support that several works from the New York and Parisian times arrive in Canada, including the work La coulée.

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Paul-Emile Borduas (1905 - 1960)

La coulée, c.1955

  • Gallery

    Galerie Cosner au Ritz-Carlton Montréal

  • Medium

    Oil on canvas

  • Time

    Post-War Canadian art

  • Dimensions

    58,4 cm x 70,2 cm / 23'' x 30''

  • Signed

    Signed lower right

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