Artwork by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté,  L’hydrographe

Marc-Aurèle D.F. Suzor-Coté

incised signature, “Roman Bronze Works NY” and “Copyright Canada & United States”
20.5 x 8 x 8.25 ins ( 52.1 x 20.3 x 21 cms ) ( overall )

Auction Estimate: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Price Realized $4,800.00
Sale date: December 1st 2022

Private Collection, Ontario
Pierre L’Allier, “Suzor-Coté l’oeuvre sculpte”, Musée du Québec, Quebec, 1991, pages 94-95, reproduced pages 92, 94
“L’hydrographe” was produced during one of Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté’s most productive creative periods. The artist utilized the medium of bronze to form famous genre sculptures with a sense of vitality and dynamism. The Historical Monuments Commission in Quebec employed Suzor-Coté in 1923 to create a statue of the French-Canadian explorer, Louis Jolliet, for placement on the façade of the Parliament Building in Quebec City. Jolliet achieved international fame in his lifetime for travelling and mapping the Mississippi River with Jacques Marquette. As a seasoned cartographer and prospector, Jolliet also mapped the Lake Superior regions, the area between the Saguenay River and Hudson’s Bay, as well as part of the coast of Labrador. During the course of his artistic process, Suzor-Coté developed three preliminary sculptures of the renowned Canadian explorer: “L’hydrographe”, which depicts Jolliet recording details of his findings with a quill; “Le pionnier”, showing the voyager surveying his surroundings with a telescope; and “Le coureur de bois”, which presents the adventurer with a walking stick and provisions in hand. These three inspired sculptures led to the artist’s final depiction of the pivotal figure, “Jolliet”, built upon the important narrative aspects of his character. The Commission opted for this final representation of Jolliet as a conquering discoverer.

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Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
(1869 - 1937) RCA

Suzor-Coté was born in 1869 in the village of Arthabaska, Quebec. Although the young Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté excelled in both musical and artistic pursuits, his love of painting won precedence and he travelled to Paris in 1891 for three years of art studies at the École de beaux-arts. He returned to North America briefly, pursuing commission work, before returning to Europe for an extended period between 1897 and 1907.

By 1906 he had left behind the academic realism of his early work, developing instead a bold impressionistic style. Once back in Canada he found his greatest inspiration in the Canadian landscape itself. He painted landscape in a forceful impressionistic style which was unfamiliar to Canadian audiences of the time.

The multi-talented Suzor-Coté was also easily able to make the shift from painting to working in three dimensions. His bronzes were cast in New York at the Roman Bronze Works, and became sought after by collectors in Canada and the United States. Suzor-Coté won the Jessie Dow prize for best painting at the Art Association of Montreal in 1914 and again in 1925. By 1925, he had made a significant contribution to impressionism in Canada, influencing younger artists to paint the Canadian landscape in a new manner.