Artwork by Jacques Hurtubise,  Rose Slush

Jacques Hurtubise
Rose Slush

oil on canvas (diptych)
signed and dated 1982 lower centre; signed, titled and dated on the reverse
40 x 60 ins ( 101.6 x 152.4 cms )

Auction Estimate: $35,000.00$25,000.00 - $35,000.00

Price Realized $28,800.00
Sale date: November 22nd 2021

Galerie D’Art Yves Laroche, Montreal
Private Collection, Quebec
Michael MacDonald,Award winner Jacques Hurtubise had great influence on abstract painting, “The Canadian Press”, January 1, 2015
As early as 1957, at age seventeen, Jacques Hurtubise exhibited his work at the Salon du printemps in Montreal. He attended the École des beaux-arts de Montréal until 1960, when a grant enabled the young painter to spend nine months in New York. There, he became enamored with the art of the Abstract Expressionists. Hurtubise was particularly drawn to the ‘Action Painting’ of De Kooning and Pollock, inspired by their spontaneous and lively paint application. Hurtubise divided his time between Montreal and New York for much of the 1960s, as he developed his unique style and experimented with hard-edge designs and repeated motifs combined with controlled “splashes” of pigment. The artist straddled painterliness and hard-edge painting throughout his career. By the mid-1970s he returned permanently to gestural works, which consisted of “deep-black pools, rivers and geometric forms”, as described by Sarah Fillmore, chief curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. The spontaneously painted black forms in “Rose Slush” demonstrates Hurtubise’s “gestural splash that repeats with different forms and backgrounds.”

Following his daughter’s sudden and tragic death in 1980, Jacques Hurtubise decided to sell his Montreal home and travel for several years, distracting himself from the negative emotions associated with home. During this period, the artist began an extensive series of symmetrical paintings, composed of canvases folded in half, or two canvases pressed together, in order to create symmetrical abstract images. “Rose Slush” was completed early in the artist’s new phase, while Hurtubise was exploring the concept of symmetry. It is composed of two canvases displaying mirror images of his signature gestural lightning bolt-like forms. The acrylic painting is nearly symmetrical; at first glance it appears to be a true mirror image consisting of two canvases pressed together; however, upon closer inspection we see that “Rose Slush” is composed of three similar, but uneven shapes painted in the same colour palette.

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Jacques Hurtubise
(1939 - 2014)

Born in Montreal, Quebec, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts there under Albert Dumouchel, Jacques de Tonnancour and Jean Simard. In 1958 he won a prize at the Montreal Spring Exhibition, and in 1960 the Max Beckman scholarship to study in New York City. He held his first solo show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1961 and subsequently held solo shows in Montreal, Toronto and New York City.

A non-objective painter his early abstract expressionistic paintings were noted by the Montreal Gazette in 1961 as follows, “Youthful experimentation and even bravado … brilliantly colourful and expansive.” Kay Kritzwiser during his joint exhibition with Marcel Barbeau in 1965 noted, “Hurtubise is more included to let his work read as landscape than as optical experiments. He uses colours in the same big areas but less impersonally. He places a soft mauve circle on black, with a thin white highlight, and the effect is somehow feminine. He makes rough black circles loom out of black background separated only by a tiny square of pale green.”

In 1965 he won first prize in the Province of Quebec competition and by 1966 he had attracted attention in New York City during his solo showing at the East Hapmton Gallery whose exhibition sheet carried the following note on his work, “His hard-edge paintings bear no resemblance to the well-known Canadians in this field, such as Barbeau, Molinari, or Tousignant. They are figure-ground, 2-colour abstractions. The jagged, all-over forms set up powerful vibrations that have an impact of shock.”

He is represented in the following collections: Quebec Provincial Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Vancouver Art Gallery, The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and many others. He was a resident artist for Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, USA, 1967. He lived in Montreal.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume II”, compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1979