Artwork by Jean-Paul Jérôme,  Marécages

Jean-Paul Jérôme

acrylic on canvas
signed and dated 1977 lower right; signed, titled and inscribed “Mont. 1977” on the stretcher
24 x 15 ins ( 61 x 38.1 cms )

Auction Estimate: $3,500.00$2,500.00 - $3,500.00

Price Realized $4,000.00
Sale date: November 28th 2014

Acquired directly from the artist
Private Collection, Quebec
Jérôme was a Montreal-born painter and cofounder of the Plasticiens in 1955. He was a teacher for the Montreal School of Fine Arts upon returning from a two-year stint in Paris, but began painting full time in 1973. In his later years, Jérôme commented on his oeuvre: “I have been attracted all my life to perfect shapes, to colourful overtones.” He received numerous honours, exhibitions and retrospectives for his work as an independent artist and as a member of the Plasticiens.

The Plasticiens came together as a group under a common approach to pictorial processes and their attitude toward painting and society. They were committed to the tone, texture, forms, lines and, their unity. Jerome was one of the four founding members listed in the original “Manifeste des Plasticiens”, dated le 10 février 1955. Automatistes such as Paul-Émile Borduas were highly influential for the Plasticiens and their contemporaries, not just as non-figurative painters, but also in their aims to push the boundaries beyond the viewer's comfort zone. The Plasticiens manifesto said: “There is no sacred art in 1955: art is sacred.”

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Jean-Paul Jérôme
(1928 - 2004) Les Plasticiens, RCA

Born in Montreal, he became fascinated with the work of Van Gogh before he entered art school. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (1944-49) where he received his diploma. After his graduation he did little or no painting. Returning to his easel he had his paintings accepted for the annual Montreal Spring Shows of 1951, 52, and 53. He exhibited as well in the Quebec Provincial Exhibition of 1952 and in 1954 held his first one man show at Gallery XII of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. His paintings of this period were derived from the influences of artists like Mondrian, Doesburg, Kandinsky, Malevitch as well as the Cubists. In his methodical study of space he was moved in 1955 to compose in collaboration with Belzile, Jauran (Rodolphe de Repentigny) and Toupin the “Manifeste des Plasticiens” a reaction against the paintings of the Borduas camp which the Plasticiens considered overly facile.

In 1956 Jérôme became a member of the Non-Figurative Artists Association of Montreal. This same year he sailed for France to pursue further study in art and also travelled in Italy, Switzwerland and Austria. It was in 1957 during his one man show at Galerie Arnaud that Jean Simard, noted Montreal art critic, first saw Jérôme's paintings and was struck by the intensely Canadian and northern colours of his work.

Jérôme returned to Montreal in 1958 and in 1959 held a solo show at the Denyse Delrue Gallery for which a catalogue was produced with text by Simard. It was here that Simard explained how he found Jérôme's work bewitching, filled with dreams, nostalgia, solitude and love and how the artist divided his composition into two unequal rectangles which he then carefully filled with raw colours. Dorothy Pfeiffer of “The Gazette” found that his work reminded her of Bible scenes especially his paintings of reeds. Other works which had the qualities of the Northern Lights made her think what good designs for stained-glass windows in modern cathedrals they would make.

Jérôme had on his return to Montreal joined the staff of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, while he also continued with his development as a painter. In 1960 he held a solo show of abstract pastels at Galerie Libre. It was in these pastels that the reviewer for “La Presse” found the qualities which indicated to him that Jérôme would make a good theatre decorator because of his sense of space, sense of depth, and a sense of a certain living breathing relief enveloped by mystery and drama with his colours admirably chosen for the play of lighting.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977