The production of Paul Vanier Beaulieu stands out for its heterogeneous character. Although the artist made several figurative works, he also experimented with abstraction on several occasions. Following several trips to Europe, Beaulieu seeks to further purify his compositions. Several artworks from the late 1950s offer still lifes and landscapes that are halfway between figuration and abstraction. Over the next decade, his artistic quest led him to overstep the limits of figuration by eliminating, among other things, perspective in his work. The 1960s are marked by geometric compositions and a schematization of pictorial space. In an interview given at the time of his exhibition at the Dominion Gallery in 1962, the artist comments: “They are landscapes, in fact, in the vein of what can be called abstract naturalism”1. The same year, Beaulieu creates some artworks on the theme of Spain. According to the art historian Guy Robert, this trip to Spain allowed the artist to accumulate several visual impressions which, as soon as he returned to the Montparnasse studio, influenced his production2, as here where the dense material and rough and warm tones seem inspired by the Mediterranean atmosphere. He first produced a series of small works, then the artist expanded the format of his canvas to finally make some great compositions on the theme of this country. As shown by the painting Espagne (1962), Beaulieu grants to his artworks a renewed aesthetic invoice.
1. Robert, Guy & Folch-Ribas, Jacques (1962). ‘’Expositions’’, Vie des arts, no 29, p.54.
2. Robert, Guy & Folch-Ribas, Jacques (1962). ‘’Expositions’’, Vie des arts, no 29, p.54.
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Paul-Vanier Beaulieu (1910 - 1996)
Cosner Art Gallery - Montreal
Oil on canvas
Post-War Canadian art
88,9 cm x 115,6 cm / 35'' x 45,5''
Signed and dated lower right, titled and dated on verso