Artwork by André Charles Biéler,  The Market Stall

André Biéler
The Market Stall

oil on board
signed lower left; titled and dated “Sept. 1946” on the artist’s label on the reverse
16.5 x 20.25 ins ( 41.9 x 51.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$10,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $29,500.00
Sale date: November 19th 2019

Dominion Gallery, Montreal
Roberts Gallery, Toronto
Masters Gallery, Calgary
Private Collection, Toronto
Frances K. Smith, André Biéler: An Artist’s Life and Times, Richmond Hill, Ontario, reproduced page 199
A modernist painter of the small-town Quebec landscape, Swiss-born André Biéler studied at the Institut Technique de Montréal before enlisting in the Canadian Army in World War I. He subsequently studied at the New York Art Students League in Woodstock, New York, as well as in Switzerland and Paris. Biéler held his first solo exhibition at the Montreal Art Association in 1924, and returned permanently to Canada two years later, settling in Ste-Famille on Île d’Orléans in the Gaspé area of Quebec. Seeking a more active and social art community, in 1930 Bieler moved to 1100 Beaver Hall Hill in Montreal, the centre of the Beaver Hall Group. Thereafter, the artist’s work grew increasingly modernist and experimentational in stylistic approach.

Biéler’s early work of the thirties and fourties was greatly influenced by his uncle, Swiss painter and muralist Ernest Biéler. His paintings reflect the drawing skills and attention to form reminiscent of stained glass, mosaic and fresco work. From the time Biéler moved to Île d’Orléans in 1926 until 1947, his style could be described as ‘modernist regionalist’, successfully fusing his love of shape and form with that of human subjects. In his exuberant genre scenes of rural Quebec life, human figures appear in harmony with the landscape as they work in groups and gather around churches, markets and farms. “The Market Stall” depicts an animated scene of a farmer’s market on a summer day, bustling with activity and rendered in soft, colourful forms.

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André Charles Biéler
(1896 - 1989) Canadian Group of Painters, OSA, RCA

Born at Lausanne, Switzerland. He received his earliest drawing lessons from his uncle Ernest Biéler, a Swiss artist. The Biéler family lived in Paris for 12 years before coming to Canada in 1908. They settled in Montreal, Quebec. At the age of 20, André joined the Canadian army and served with the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry overseas, and was a casualty of an enemy gas attack. Following his release from the army be studied at Lycée Carnot in Paris, and later, with the aid of a soldier's settlement grant he studied with Eugene Speicher and George Bellows at the Art Students' League, Woodstock, N.Y. He returned to France and in Paris, studied at the Ecole du Louvre and with Paul Serusier and Maurice Denis. In Switzerland he assisted his uncle in the making of several frescos.

When he returned to Canada he settled on the Island of Orleans near Quebec where he lived for two or three years. There he did genre paintings set in the background of rural scenes and church activities of this island. These works, perhaps better known, through reproduction, were done in the vein of the Group of Seven, enriched with his own individualism and deep understanding for the people of rural Quebec. Helen Cappadocia in a review of his retrospective at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, found his canvases had taken on a universality in expression although she intimates his Quebec experience was still a basic motivation in his painting. His woodcuts, completed in 1955 an, sculpture in 1964, indicate his exploration for a new medium of expression. Marius Barbeau in his book on Quebec painters says of Biéler, “He is a leading expert in the technique of painting, colours, canvas, and the chemistry of a craftsman's materials.” Dr. Hubbard sees him as the “animated André Biéler” and Paul Duval mentions him among the accomplished in water colour painting in Canada. His larger works include, mosaics in Kingston for Chalmers Church Hall, and the Frontenac Tile Company; murals for the Aluminum Company of Canada at Shipshaw, and for the Veteran's Building, Ottawa.

His articles appeard in “Maritime Art” and “Canadian Art” magazines and other periodicals. He organized and was Chairman for the Conference of Canadian Artists held at Queen's University in 1940 and published proceedings of this conference jointly with Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison. He was Professor of Fine Arts at Queen's University, 1936-64 and taught at the Banff School of Fine Arts 1940, 1947, 1949, and 1952. In 1957 he won the J.W.L. Forster award a the exhibition of the Ontario Society of Artists. His one man shows include: Geneva 1924; Montreal Art Association 1924; The Ritz, Montreal 1926; Kingston, ON 1937; and in 1940 exhibited his watercolours at Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Winnipeg; Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Quebec 1941; Eaton's, College Street Store, Toronto, 1946; Garfield Gallery, Toronto 1950; Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal 1952; Robertson Art Gallery, Ottawa 1954, and with artist Ralph Allen at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre in 1960 and again at this centre in 1964. He has exhibited in many international exhibitions including the “Century of Canada Art”, London, England in 1938 and “Fifty Years of Canadian Painting” in 1949.

He is represented in the collections of The Art Gallery of Ontario; Museum of the Province of Quebec; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Hart House, Toronto; Queen's University, Kingston' Art Collection Society of Kingston; Windsor Art Association; Winnipeg Art Gallery; Edmonton Art Gallery; the National Gallery of Canada, and in many private collections.

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