Artwork by Marcella Maltais,  Ciel brisé

Marcella Maltais
Ciel brisé

oil on canvas
signed and dated 1958 lower right; signed, titled and dated 1958 on the reverse; titled on the stretcher
22 x 30 ins ( 55.9 x 76.2 cms )

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

Price Realized $8,400.00
Sale date: June 15th 2022

Private Collection, Montreal
Private Collection, Toronto
A major shift in Marcella Maltais’s career occurred in 1955, when she moved from Quebec City to Montreal, encountering the Automatistes and other avant-garde artists, including Guido Molinari, Claude Tousignant, Marcelle Ferron and Rita Letendre. Her paintings, such as “Ciel brisé”, began to show the influence of these painters. The black palette knife strokes and organic abstract forms recall the heavy gestural works of Ferron and Letendre, and the vibrant complementary colour palette of Les Plasticiens. Maltais visited Paris for the first time in 1958, the year “Ciel brisé” was completed, spending her time painting and further enriching her artistic knowledge. Maltais quickly became recognized as one of the most talented young painters in 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