Artwork by Léon Bellefleur,  Rituel

Léon Bellefleur
Rituel

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1985 lower right; signed, titled, dated and inscribed “huile 80F” on the reverse
58 x 45 ins ( 147.3 x 114.3 cms )

Sold for $19,550.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Provenance:
Moore Gallery, Toronto
Private Collection, New Brunswick
Literature:
Guy Robert, Bellefleur: The Fervour of the Quest, Montreal, 1988, pages 63 and 134
Author Guy Robert declared that in 1985, at age seventy-five, Leon Bellefleur “still possessed the childlike ability to wonder at life, a freshness of perspective with a thirst not only for discovering, but also for inventing the world.” The author further writes that Bellefleur maintained his characteristic painterly style throughout thirty years: colours spread liberally with a spatula, with the refinement of rhythms and shades, then as a finishing touch to the improvisation, squirts or droplets are added, or small mysterious signs traced with the tip of the tool. Robert’s observations and remarks can certainly be applied to “Rituel”, a bold and expressive abstract composition that is quintessentially Bellefleur in its ‘faceted’ paint application. The oil on canvas demonstrates one new technique developed by Bellefleur to finish a painting: after letting it “breathe” for a few hours up to several days, the painter sprinkled droplets of paint in varying quantity and size, according to the inspiration of the moment and chance mishaps. “Rituel” is scattered with small drops of white and green pigment, adding further dimensionality to the abstract work. The large canvas serves as a prime example of Bellefleur’s mature work on a grand scale.

“If this is what advancing age has in store, artists should look forward with anticipation and hurry to reach that plateau,” commented Lawrence Sabbath of the “Montreal Gazette” in covering an exhibition of Bellefleur’s gouaches and oils at the Walter Klinkhoff Gallery in 1985.
Secured from a New Brunswick collection during Consignor’s 2017 national appraisal tour, this artwork attracted spirited bidding during the November live auction of Important Canadian Art.

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Léon Bellefleur
(1910 - 2007) RCA

Born in Montreal, Quebec, he started painting at the age of 10. He attended evening classes at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, 1929-36. He went to Paris in 1958 on a Canada Council Fellowship to study engraving under J. Friedlaender, and lithography at the Ateliers Desjaubert. On his return to Canada he was associated with Allfred Pellan in Montreal. In his painting which is abstract he is influenced by Paul Klee and by children’s art in which he has found a more direct and spontaneous form of expression. Robert Ayre in his review on Canadian painting refers to him as an artist who explores the unconscious, and Dr. Hubbard sees him as a surrealist as does David Donnell. Bellefleur’s media include oils, tempera, lithography, and etching. He is a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the Canadian Society of Graphic Art, and the Non-Figurative Artist’s Association of Montreal. In 1960 he was chosen to represent Canada at the Guggenheim International Contest along with five other painters. He won the Jessie Dow award for oils in 1951 and received honourable mention for drawing in the 2nd Biennial Exhibition of Canadian Art. He is represented in the National Gallery of Canada and private collections.

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