Monday, June 4, 2012

The Unpretentious Clarence Gagnon

My childish artistic temperament favors dramatic and flashy paintings. Well, not extreme paintings of that kind, but paintings tending in that direction. Despite that, I don't mind quieter paintings, provided that they are interesting and well-done.

That would be the case for many of the works of Clarence Gagnon (1881-1942), a Québecois painter contemporary of the better-known Group of Seven. Rather than abandon civilization for painting sprees in the northern Ontario wilderness as most of the Seven did, Gagnon's preferred inspiration was village and country life along the St. Lawrence River.

A sketchy Wikipedia entry on Gagnon is here and his National Gallery biographical sketch is here.

With few exceptions, Gagnon's paintings dealt with scenes of Québec, this despite spending half his adult life in France. While living in France, he would paint pictures dealing with Québec rather than French scenes.

The images below don't have much flash and dash, but I hope they will interest you.


Près de la Bai-Saint-Paul - c.1914

The Ice Bridge, Québec - 1919-20
During severe winters, the St. Lawrence River could freeze over to the point that people, horses and sleds could be supported. This allowed crossing without the need of a boat. (The nearest bridges were far upriver.)

Village in the Laurentian Mountains - 1925

Laurentian Village - c.1924

Horse Racing in Winter, Québec - c.1925

Evening on the North Shore - 1924
The title refers to the north shore of the St. Lawrence River where Bai-Saint-Paul and Gagnon's favorite painting grounds lay.

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