Alfred Pellan

Alfred Pellan (born Alfred Pelland; 16 May 1906 – 31 October 1988) was an important figure in twentieth-century Quebec painting. He was born in Quebec City in 1906. From the age of fourteen until his graduation in 1926 he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Québec. His early canvases, from his first visit to Paris, show a marked fauvist tendency.
In 1926 Pellan received the first fine arts scholarship in Quebec, which allowed him to spend several years in Paris and visit Venice. He studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (1926–1930), where he received a first prize in painting in 1928 (Lucien Simon's studio). When his scholarship ended he prolonged his stay in Paris till 1940 with the help of his father, often working alone while attending the Grande Chaumière, Colarossi and Ranson art academies. He won first prize at the exhibition of mural art in 1935 in Paris and rubbed elbows with the most famous artists of the time. Traveling Europe, he became "permeated by the mainstream art of the era".




 Returning to Quebec in 1936 hoping to be appointed professor at the École des Beaux-Arts in his hometown, he was rejected by the jury, who found him too "modern". With the outbreak of war he again returned to Quebec in 1940 and settled in Montreal. Works he brought back with him were praised in exhibitions in Quebec and Montreal but the cubist and surrealist works were considered too avant-garde and most did not find a buyer. From 1943 to 1952 he taught at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal. His active opposition to the theories of Charles Maillard, the school's director, succeeded in pressuring Maillard to resign in 1944. The school then became more liberal in its approach. Pellan committed himself to an independent art, more open to universality and evolution.





 During the 1940s, Pellan illustrated poetry books and designed costumes and sets for the theatre. His style matured and developed during this period. Surrealism began to attract him more strongly: his imagery became more erotic and his paintings, always vivid and striking, became larger, more complex and more textured. No longer believing in art schools, in early 1948 he co-signed Prism of Eyes, a manifesto written by Jacques de Tonnancour advocating freedom of expression in art, speaking for a group that called for art free of any ideology.





 Later that year, an even more radical group was formed, which produced the manifesto Refus global first set out by Borduas, which completely overshadowed the earlier manifesto. Pellan received a scholarship in 1952 from the Royal Society of Canada and returned to Paris until 1955, with his wife Madeleine, whom he had married in 1949. During this stay, the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris presented an exhibition of 181 of his works, sponsored by the governments of France and Canada. Pellan became the first Canadian to have such a solo exhibition in Paris.Wikipedia



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