Artwork by Lise Gervais,  Les délices

Lise Gervais
Les délices

oil on board
signed and dated 1957 on the reverse
35 x 24 ins ( 88.9 x 61 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$12,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $13,800.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2016

John A. Schweitzer, Montreal
Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal
Mayberry Fine Art, Winnipeg
Private Collection
Working in Montreal, Gervais was a follower of Paul-Émile Borduas and Les Automatistes, however was never a formal member of the group. Nonetheless, Gervais was a key fixture in the abstract painting movement during the 1960s in Quebec. The artist was concerned with the limitations of paint itself, opting for bold pigments with high contrast, creating energy in her works.

In “Les délices,” Gervais uses short bursts of layered colour, ranging from thin veils to opaque strokes of paint. Building on top of one another, each stroke of paint creates depth, movement and invigorating contrast of colour and complexity within the piece. In this early work, the viewer can see the foundations of the artists technique, focused on the limitations of the medium she developed throughout the 1960s. The liberation of painting is the central purpose of this work, breaking from narrative and landscape painting which dominated the dialogue of painting within Canada until this critical period of revolution in art history.

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Lise Gervais
(1933 - 1998)

Born in St. Cesaire, Quebec, Gervais studied both painting and sculpture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts of Montreal under Stanley Cosgrove and Jacques de Tonnancour (painting); Jean Simard, M. Marcotte, and S. Duquette (drawing); and under Louis Archambault (sculpture). She travelled to Europe in 1958 where she visited Spain and viewed particularly the drawings and paintings of Goya.

After a number of group shows in Quebec, Montreal, Trois-Rivières, Chicoutimi, Granby, Sherbrooke and Ottawa, she held her first solo show at Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal, in February of 1961; she exhibited there again in 1962 and in Toronto at the Moos Gallery. Viewing her paintings in 1964 Dorothy Pfeiffer commented, “. . . in spite of the amount in pounds of paint laid on her canvases, Gervais manages to suggest dimensions of space, depth, transparency, texture, and movement which are remarkable . . . colourful, stencil-like, paintings climb like exotic vines, or else soar like flights of birds of paradise. Everything moves, flies, rises, or flaps loudly in Gervais’ paintings. But nothing – absolutely nothing – flutters. In fact, the dominant note in her technique is ‘power,’ a power both authoritative and invigorating.”

Spanning a period of sixteen years during the 60's and 70's, she taught at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Montreal, at Universite du Quebec a Montreal, and at Concordia University. In 1967 she exhibited at the Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec and also at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto. In 1970 she had two other shows, one at the Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal and another in Paris at the Musee Rodin. In 1983-84, she was elected president of the Conseil des Artistes-Peintres du Quebec. Her works in the collections of Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec, Queen’s University (Kingston) and the Albright Knox Museum (Buffalo, USA).

While living in Montreal, she spent most of her time in the solitude of the woods and lakes in the Laurentides, Quebec. She died at age 65.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979