Artwork by Marc-Aurèle Fortin,  Ste. Rose paysage

Marc-Aurèle Fortin
Ste. Rose paysage

oil on board
signed on the reverse; dated 1939 on the gallery label on the reverse
21.5 x 23.5 ins ( 54.6 x 59.7 cms )

Sold for $70,800.00
Sale date: November 20th 2018

Galerie L’Art français, Montreal
The Collection of TransCanada PipeLines Limited, Calgary
Jacques De Roussan, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Quebec, 1982, page 36
Born in Sainte-Rose, Marc-Aurèle Fortin’s early artistic training came at home under the tutelage of artists including Ludger Larose and Edmond Dyonnet before his studies would take him to Chicago, New York, Boston and later, to France. It was after a brief trip to France in 1920 that Fortin began to work full-time as a painter and to show his work, which included scenes of the island of Montreal, predominantly rural at the time, and of his birthplace Sainte-Rose, north of the island. During the summers, he travelled to Quebec City, Île d'Orléans and the Charlevoix region, sketching and painting houses and rural scenes. Fortin became renowned for capturing the charm of small-town Quebec in his vibrant works, as exemplified in this delightful example, “Ste. Rose paysage”.

In this enchanting oil painting depicting the artist’s hometown in winter, Fortin skilfully rendered his varied and decorative colour palette, demonstrated in the yellow, pink and blue sky as well as the bright red building wall. A blanket of snow covers the front lawns and street in this nighttime scene, while a figure and a horse-drawn cab march along the unplowed road. As with the painter’s most celebrated work, any presence of darkness is overpowered by colour. Completed in 1939, “Ste. Rose paysage” illustrates the artist’s then-preferred subject of the nocturnal winter scene. The painting also reflects the distinctive high-contrast colour palette that Fortin adopted in the late 1930s, known as the ‘black period’. After an inspirational year-long sojourn in France between 1934 and 1935, the artist returned to Sainte-Rose and began experimenting with the application of pure colours onto a black surface. Using a support of wood, canvas or metal, Fortin painted a thick layer of black pigment, which he left to dry during a period of time before painting his subject in large brushstrokes dipped in vivid colours. By deliberately leaving the black paint of the first layer visible in certain areas, the artist achieved luminous and brilliant colour juxtapositions.

Author Jacques de Roussan describes Fortin’s village scenes from this experimental period of the late 1930s as being “full of romantic atmosphere.” The artist found ample success during these years; he exhibited regularly at Eaton Gallery from 1937 to 1939, and in 1939 he was awarded a bronze medal at the New York World’s Fair. De Roussan further remarked on Fortin’s growing success of the time, writing that “newspapers began to take a serious interest in him and referred to him as “Merlin the Enchanter”, and affirmed that his artworks were a revelation from both an aesthetic and technical perspective.” “Ste. Rose paysage” beautifully illustrates Fortin’s innovative painterly techniques in the late 1930s, which assisted in the artist’s burgeoning success and recognition.

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Marc-Aurèle Fortin
(1888 - 1970) RCA, ARCA

Born in Sainte-Rose, Quebec in 1888. Died in Macamic, Quebec in 1970. Marc-Aurele Fortin RCA studied the rudiments of painting with Ludger Larose and Edmond Dyonnet from 1904 to 1908 when he left for Edmonton, Alberta to work in a bank from 1908 to 1910. Before returning to Montreal in 1912 he studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and made trips to New York and Boston. Fortin exhibited his work in Chicago in 1929 and the following year in Pretoria, South Africa. In 1935 he travelled to the south of France and northern Italy after which he exhibited regularly. Fortin, who was well known as a landscape painter, depicted various regions of Quebec with considerable originality by using new techniques. He stopped painting after becoming seriously ill in the late 1950s.