Artwork by Christian Marcel Barbeau,  Un homme et une femme

Marcel Barbeau
Un homme et une femme

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1959 lower right; unframed
24.5 x 18.25 ins ( 62.2 x 46.4 cms )

Sold for $7,475.00
Sale date: November 23rd 2017

Private Collection, Quebec (acquired directly from the artist)
Sotheby's Canada, auction, Toronto, November 16, 1994, lot 42
Private Collection, Calgary
Marcel Barbeau played a major role in the post-war abstract art movements in Quebec, a significant and momentous era for the province. The painter was a signatory of Refus global, a 1948 artists' manifesto seen by many in Quebec as a precursor of the Quiet Revolution. Barbeau was considered one of the cross-disciplinary Montreal artists known as the Automatistes, though he remained fiercely independent in style. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Barbeau did not develop a signature style that was instantly recognizable. “Un homme et une femme” (1959) fits into the broad category of his post-Automatiste work of the late 1950s and early 1960s. These works frequently challenged the viewer with illusions of depth and figure, as evidenced in the raised white lines overlapping each other against a black ground in “Un homme et une femme”. These lines serve as heavily abstracted depictions of a male and female figure, as suggested in the painting’s title.

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Christian Marcel Barbeau
(1925 - 2016) Les Automatistes, RCA

Marcel Barbeau - painter, sculptor, and filmmaker, was born in Montreal in 1925. An active member of the Automatistes movement led by Paul-Emile Borduas, Barbeau is a widely exhibited, innovative artist. As well as studying drawing at the Ecole du meuble, Montreal, he worked with Borduas, architect Marcel Parizeau, and art historian Maurice Gagnon. He travelled extensively from 1962-74, living and exhibiting in Paris, New York, and California, and his style changed, moving from the lyrical abstracts of the Automatiste period towards a more geometric mode.

In the late 1970s he returned to the free-form, all-over surface activity that he had favoured before. By 1987, inspired by his sculpture and collages, his painting style changed again, moving back to hard edge forms in highly contrasted colours. He has won many awards, including the 1964 Royal Canadian Academy Zack Award and the 1994 Gold Medal in painting at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Paris.