Artwork by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté,  Le vieux pionnier canadien

Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
Le vieux pionnier canadien

signed, titled and inscribed “1912”, “Copyright Canada 1914”, “Roman Bronze Works Inc. N.Y.” and “No. 11”
16 x 16 x 8.75 ins ( 40.6 x 40.6 x 22.2 cms )

Auction Estimate: $12,000.00$8,000.00 - $12,000.00

Price Realized $8,625.00
Sale date: May 29th 2014

Purchased at W. Scott & Sons, 1918.
By descent to the current Private Collection, Ontario.
Pierre L'Allier, “Suzor-Coté, L'oeuvre sculpté”, Musée du Québec, 1991, pages 46-47.
Discussing Suzor-Coté's development of the habitant figure through his work, L'Allier notes that the artist created several charcoal drawings and works in pastel of Father Edras Cyr, having completed a bust of the sitter in 1911. The theme of the pioneer sitting in a rocking chair smoking his pipe appears to have already germinated in Suzor-Coté's mind, L'Allier referencing an undated pastel in the Musée du Québec's collection, possibly acting as the preparatory study for the bronze.

Suzor-Coté presents “Le vieux pionnier canadien” as a dreamer, pondering his life, the rifle and varied tools represented on either side of the base testifying to his activities. Although he leans slightly back in his chair, Suzor-Coté depicts the figure in a comfortable position, capturing the essence of his subject for eternity, the heritage of his people present in the features and attitude of his model. The mastery of Suzor-Coté is clearly evident through the stability and detail of “Le vieux pionnier canadien.”

This lot includes a photocopy of the original W. Scott & Sons invoice, the bronze purchased in 1918 and remaining in the purchaser's family until this offering.

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Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
(1869 - 1937) RCA

Suzor-Coté was born in 1869 in the village of Arthabaska, Quebec. Although the young Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté excelled in both musical and artistic pursuits, his love of painting won precedence and he travelled to Paris in 1891 for three years of art studies at the École de beaux-arts. He returned to North America briefly, pursuing commission work, before returning to Europe for an extended period between 1897 and 1907.

By 1906 he had left behind the academic realism of his early work, developing instead a bold impressionistic style. Once back in Canada he found his greatest inspiration in the Canadian landscape itself. He painted landscape in a forceful impressionistic style which was unfamiliar to Canadian audiences of the time.

The multi-talented Suzor-Coté was also easily able to make the shift from painting to working in three dimensions. His bronzes were cast in New York at the Roman Bronze Works, and became sought after by collectors in Canada and the United States. Suzor-Coté won the Jessie Dow prize for best painting at the Art Association of Montreal in 1914 and again in 1925. By 1925, he had made a significant contribution to impressionism in Canada, influencing younger artists to paint the Canadian landscape in a new manner.