Alfred Pellan ARC / RCA

Alfred Pellan is a painter, muralist, illustrator and costume designer born in Québec City on May 16, 1906, and deceased in Montreal on October 31, 1988. He started studying at École des beaux-arts de Québec where he stood out by winning first prizes and medals in painting, drawing, sculpture, sketches, anatomy and advertising. First Quebec government scholar in 1926, he left to study at École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts de Paris (1926-1930) and obtained a First prize in painting at Lucien Simon's work-shop in 1928. While in Paris until 1940, he attended Grande Chaumière, Colarossi and Ranson academies. In 1935, he was awarded the first prize at the Mural Art Exhibition in Paris and in 1939, along with Picasso, Derain, Dufy and Dali, he participated in the ''Paris Painters of Today'' exhibition in Washington. Upon his return to Canada at the beginning of the Second World War, he taught at École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1943 to 1952. Deeply resistant to any form of what is purely academic, he contributed to instilling in this institution a more liberal approach mostly based on universality and evolution. While teaching, he illustrated collections of poetry and created theatre costumes and decors. In 1948, he cosigned ''Prisme d'Yeux'', a manifesto written by Charles de Tonnancour which advocated artistic freedom, liberated from any ideology. Pellan said: ''The pictorial approach is essentially free. Painting is based on emotion and revelation, using unpredictable means of plastic and poetic invention to express itself.'' After receiving a Royal Society of Canada Research Award, he went back to Paris where he was the first Canadian to present an individual exhibition at Musée national d'art moderne. Upon his return to Québec in 1955, he participated in several exhibitions and created murals, which contributed to his notoriety across the country. Throughout his career, there were many monographs and documentaries dedicated to him. He was the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, namely the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1983, and was appointed Officer of the Ordre national du Québec in 1985.

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