Artwork by Marcella Maltais,  Rébellion

Marcella Maltais

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1957 lower right
39.5 x 31.25 ins ( 100.3 x 79.4 cms )

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

Price Realized $18,000.00
Sale date: June 9th 2021

Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal
As a high school student in Quebec City in the 1940s, Marcella Maltais enrolled in Saturday art classes at École des beaux-arts de Québec, where she met Jean Paul Lemieux. In 1949 she worked an office job while taking night classes taught by Jean-Philippe Dallaire, who motivated her to pursue painting as a career. Throughout the early 1950s Maltais rented a studio and showed her work in local group exhibitions in Quebec and the Charlevoix region.

A major shift in Maltais’s career occurred in 1955, when she moved to Montreal and encountered the Automatistes and other avant-garde artists including Guido Molinari, Claude Tousignant, Marcelle Ferron and Rita Letendre. “Rébellion” was completed in 1957, shortly following her move and transformation from figurative painting to abstraction. With its spontaneous, ‘all-over’ brushwork, it demonstrates the influence of the Automatistes and other artistic peers. During the same year, Maltais showed her works alongside François Soucy at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts as well as with Armand Vaillancourt at Galerie Denyse Delrue in Montreal. She quickly became recognized as one of the most talented young painters of Quebec of the period, a reputation she has maintained to this day.

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Marcella Maltais
(1933 - 2018)

Born in Chicoutimi, Que., she studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Quebec City from 1950-55 under Jean Dallaire, Jean-Paul Lemieux and Jean Soucy. In 1955, she won First Prize in painting at the Quebec Provincial Exhibiton and in February of 1955, she held her first solo show at the Palais Montcalm, Quebec. The following year, she made debut in Toronto with a solo show at: Galerie l’Actuelle, Mtl. (1957), Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mtl. (1957); Galerie Denyse Delrue, Mtl. (1958); Galerie Agnès Lefort, Mtl. (1960-62); Galerie ‘Nees Morphes’, Athens, Greece (1961); Dorothy Cameron Gallery, Tor. (1963); Galerie Camille Hébert, Mtl. (1964); Galerie Soixante, Mtl. (1966); Musée du Québec, Que. (1968).

She visited Paris for the first time in 1958, where she spent a year painting. Returning home, she continued her painting and was awarded a Canada Council Grant in 1960, which enabled her to return to Paris and also live and paint in Greece. From 1958 on, her work was exhibited in many important group shows, including: Canadian Biennals of 1959 (Third); 1961 (Fourth); 1963 (Fifth); 1965 (Sixth); Spring Show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1958-64); the Paris Biennal (1964); Artistes de Montréal, Musée d’Art Contemporain, Mtl. (1965) and several international shows in Czechoslovakia, Italy, and New York City. She was a member of the Non-Figurative Artists’ Association of Montreal and with this group exhibited in a number of centres across Canada, including the National Gallery of Canada and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; also the Société des Arts Plastiques de la Province de Québec (1955-6). She lived in Montreal.

Literature Source:
"A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume 4: Little - Myles", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1978