Artwork by Jean Paul Lemieux,  Dame au collier de perles

Jean Paul Lemieux
Dame au collier de perles

oil on canvas
signed lower right; titled on the stretcher
20 x 16 ins ( 50.8 x 40.6 cms )

Sold for $48,300.00
Sale date: May 25th 2017

Private Collection, Calgary
Guy Robert, Lemieux, Toronto, 1978, pages 209 and 244
Portraits occupy a strong presence in Jean Paul Lemieux’s multi-faceted body of work. Throughout his career he depicted his sitters in a frontal stance with a direct view into the facial expression. Guy Robert, on the the subject of the artist’s portraits, writes that “Lemieux believes that the face has a message to impart all through life, and a good deal of his work has been concerned with capturing the characteristic expressions of different stages of life from cradle to the deathbed.”

Inspiration for documenting the human expression came from an interest in American Social Realism in his early career, particularly the movement’s interest in showcasing the daily lives of working class people. Later in life, Lemieux’s portraits were influenced by Edvard Munch and the Expressionist school of painting, as they seek to portray anxiety and the artist’s “dark, tragic vision of the tormented historical era he was living through.”

“Dame au collier de perles” illustrates Lemieux’s ability to highlight human emotion and facial expression. The sitter’s powerful stare directly at the viewer exudes anxiousness and vulnerability; it is contrasted, however, with an ornate three-strand pearl necklace and glamorous red dress. A woman wearing a necklace became a recurring motif in the artist’s portraits, referencing a popular theme in Western painting: feminine vanity. Robert explains that for Lemieux, the symbol of the necklace goes beyond a statement on vanity, writing that “in Lemieux’s painting, the vanity of woman is no longer a simple matter of make-up or gaudy jewelry. It becomes a refusal to submit to the ravages of time, an exorcism of the aging process and even the proclamation of a quality of being - a singular way to announce one’s person, beautifully and almost poetically.”

Share this item with your friends

Jean Paul Lemieux
(1904 - 1990) RCA, Companion of the Order of Canada

Born in Quebec City, Jean Paul Lemieux began his professional training at the l'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal. He studied under Edwin Holgate who was an important influence in the development of his early style. Lemieux continued his studies in Paris where he met Clarence Gagnon. He became professor of art at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts and then later at Ecole Meuble. He painted in a realistic, decorative style until the early 1940s at which time his works became distinguished by a more simplified form. Although he did not consider himself a landscape painter, his figures were often portrayed in a landscape setting. He became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy in 1956 and received the Order of Canada in 1968.