Artwork by Jean-Philippe Dallaire,  Les masques

Jean-Philippe Dallaire
Les masques

oil on board
signed upper centre; titled and dated 1957 on the reverse
6.5 x 16.25 ins ( 16.5 x 41.3 cms )

Auction Estimate: $15,000.00$12,000.00 - $15,000.00

Price Realized $10,800.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Gerard Gorce Fine Arts, Montreal
Alan Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal
Private Collection, Ottawa
Jean-Philippe Dallaire was studying and working in Paris in the late 1930s, until he was placed in an internment camp for four years during the German occupation. At the end of the war, Dallaire returned to Canada, settling first in Quebec City where he taught painting at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1946-52. In 1952 he moved to Ottawa to work for the National Film Board, where he illustrated short films, and took on commissions for designing tapestries and murals. Despite his studies, Dallaire was mostly self-taught as an artist. He paid little attention to external trends, and his style constantly evolved. Dallaire’s works during the 1950s show varied stylistic influences and are recognized for their draftmanship and spontaneity in subject and use of colour. “Les masques” was painted in 1957, the year the artist moved from Ottawa to Montreal briefly, before permanently returning to Europe. The painting is an example of Dallaire’s highly original style, with loose stylistic links to Cubism and Art Brut in the lively, repeating lines. “Les masques” is also one of the painter’s most abstract; apart from its title, it has only subtle visual references to masks or facial features.

Share this item with your friends

Jean-Philippe Dallaire
(1916 - 1965)

Jean-Philippe Dallaire, the painter, illustrator and professor was born at Hull, Quebec on June 9, 1916. He was raised in a working-class family of 15, and started drawing at age 11. He studied art at the technical school in Hull in 1934; at the Toronto Central Technical School under Charles Goldhammer, Peter Haworth, and sculpture with Elizabeth Wyn Wood in 1935. He studied the Old Masters at Boston in 1936.

From 1936 to 1938 he painted religious murals for the Dominican Fathers near Ottawa and at Fall River, Massachusetts and about this time did large figure studies on the walls of Madam Burger’s restaurant destroyed by the fire which levelled her first famous earring house. In October 1938, with the support of a Quebec government grant, Dallaire went to Paris and studied under Maurice Denis, Georges Desvallières and at André L’Hote’s school. He became familiar with the work of Picasso and the surrealists and met Alfred Pellan.

During World War Two, while under the German occupation in France he was a prisoner at St-Denis, outside Paris. He continued to paint in his confinement, but his wife was released after six months. While interned he come to know Frank Pickersgill who escaped but later died in another camp. On his return to Canada in 1946, he taught painting at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Quebec City. He later worked for the National Film Board in Ottawa illustrating animated films. He also filled commissions of designing tapestries.

Writing on the artist, Donald W. Buchanan brought out that Dallaire’s art had been affected by years of internment, by cubist analysis of form, the decorative possibilities and limitations of tapestry design in which he had specialized, and his sensitivities to the myths of French Canada against the realities of Canada today. Buchanan further wrote, “. . . he is obtaining a firm monumentality of design in his canvases. The question is, will he continue to achieve this without losing that gay freedom of detail which has always been such an attraction in his smaller works . . .” At the beginning of the same article Buchanan had spoken of Dallaire’s fantasies often verging on comedy in which melancholy lurked.

He then lived and painted in Montreal from 1957 to 1959. In '59 he moved to Europe permanently. He died of heart failure in 1965, thus ending prematurely a brilliant career. He is represented in the permanent collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Museum of the Province of Quebec. Dallaire's works show varied stylistic influences and are always recognized by their draftsmanship and spontaneity in subject and use of colour.

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