Clarence A Gagnon ARC / RCA
A painter, engraver and illustrator, Clarence A. Gagnon was born in Montreal on November 8, 1881 and died there on January 6, 1942. He first learned drawing with Ludger Larose and Edmond Dyonnet and, from 1899 to 1902, he studied at the Art Association of Montreal with William Brymner as master. During this period, he painted several times on Côte de Beaupré and became acquainted with the painter, Horatio Walker, from Île d’Orléans. On his first visit to the Charlevoix region, he was struck by the beauty of the landscape and the traditional lifestyle of its inhabitants. This discovery would have a decisive influence on his painting. In 1904, Clarence Gagnon left for Paris to pursue his training with Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian. He painted several oil landscapes but the international recognition that he received was for his prints. However, despite this great success, he decided in 1909 to fully dedicate himself to painting Quebec landscapes and typical scenes of his homeland. Baie-Saint-Paul became his main inspiration. His artworks showed fine drawings, vivid colours and the very unique light of northern countries. Up to 1924, he regularly travelled back and forth between Baie-Saint-Paul and his Paris workshop, bringing with him several sketches, drawings and photographs of this lovely Charlevoix village. With these works, he was able to organize his exhibition ‘’ Paysages d’hiver dans les montagnes des Laurentides au Canada ‘’, at the Galerie A.M. Reitlinger in Paris in 1913 as well as drawing the illustrations for ‘’ Grand silence blanc ‘’ by Louis-Frédéric Rouquette (1928) and for ‘’ Maria Chapdelaine’’ by Louis Hémon (1933).
Clarence Gagnon was elected a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1921 and received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal in 1938. He won the Trevor Prize of the Salmagundi Club in New York in 1923 and participated in numerous exhibitions both in Paris and other European and American major cities. Many of his artworks are found in several Canadian museums, namely the National Gallery of Canada, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. As for his prints, they are at the Petit Palais in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London as well as in Florence, Vienna,The Hague, Liverpool, Ottawa, Toronto.
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