Exposition Art Blog: Paul-Emile Borduas - Abstract Paintings

Paul-Emile Borduas - Abstract Paintings

Paul-Emile Borduas (November 1, 1905 – February 22, 1960) was a Québec painter known for his abstract paintings. He was the leader of the avant-garde Automatiste movement and the chief author of the Refus Global manifesto of 1948. Borduas had a profound impact on the development of the arts and of thought, both in the province of Quebec and in Canada.
Paul-Émile Borduas is one of the most important figures in modern Canadian art. A leader of the group known as the Automatists, he developed a spontaneous style of non-figurative painting. Borduas was the principal author of the Refus Global, an influential manifesto calling for freedom of expression, and signed by many of Quebec's leading artists and intellectuals.
"Borduas's move to New York in 1953 was of great importance to his artistic development, as he saw the work of artists from the New York School of Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko. It was there that he began using a palette-knife, exclusively, to apply paint, and became preoccupied with light and space. In 1955, he moved to Paris, where he continued to paint, write and travel, despite failing health.
The work of Borduas demonstrates a marked evolution in style. His early figurative work, with its decorative, romantic elements, shows the influence of Maurice Denis. By 1937, although he was still doing figurative work, he placed more emphasis on structure and the plastic qualities of paint, as evident in Tahitian (1941). The artist's move to Surrealism and Automatism are visible in Leeward of the Island (1.47) (1947). Created in his final years, 3 + 4 + 1 (1956), with its reduced palette of black and white, demonstrates the artist's move towards a classical form of abstraction."(gallery.ca)

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