Jean-Paul Mousseau 1927-1991
Sans titre, 1946
Coloured ink on cream paper mounted on card, signed and dated lower right.
11.4 x 10.1 centimetres, 4.5 x 4 inches
Private Collection, Montreal.
Jean-Paul Mousseau studied painting at the age of thirteen while at the College Notre-Dame in Montreal under Frere Jerome ( Jerome Paradis 1902-1944 ) in the early 1940s. He became a student at the Ecole du Meuble in Montreal during 1945 – 1946. He was introduced to Paul-Emile Borduas by Frere Jerome around the same time and became a member of the group of painters known as the Automatistes. The Automatiste group at that time was comprised of the teacher and inspirational leader of the group Paul-Emile Borduas ( 1905 – 1960 ), Marcel Barbeau ( 1925 – ), Roger Fauteux ( 1920 – ), Pierre Gauvreau ( 1922-2011 ), Fernand Leduc ( 1916- ) Jean-Paul Mousseau ( 1927-1991 ) and Jean-Paul Riopelle ( 1923 – 2002 ). April of 1946 was the first Automatiste exhibition by the group in Montreal, it was held at 1257 Rue Amherst. That same year Mousseau contributed 5 original drawings for the first Automatiste book published in Quebec, Les Sables du Reve by Therese Renaud in a limited edition of 250 copies, the text and the illustrations are inspired by Surrealism. In 1948 Mousseau was one of sixteen signatories to the Manifesto REFUS GLOBAL ( Total Refusal ) a document that was instrumental in changing Quebec society. In 1954, Mousseau created a work titled La Marseillaise, which arguably might be considered his most important painting, exhibited at 1955 Winnipeg Show a national juried exhibition, organized by the Winnipeg Art Gallery, intended to represent the highest standards of current painting in Canada. Jurors were Maxwell Bates of Calgary and Jean Ostiguy of Ottawa. La Marseillaise was awarded first prize and triggered The Great Winnipeg Controversy.
Mousseau was a multidisciplinary artist creating not only paintings but photo collages, discotheque interiors, ceramics, fiber glass lighting, set designs and costumes.
His public art is undoubtedly what he is best known for, the large ceramic circles in the Montreal Peel Metro station and the spectacular fibreglass mural completed in 1962, 4.57 m high by 22.86 m wide and weighing approximately 1,360 kg installed in the entrance of the headquarters of Hydro Quebec on Rene-Levesque Blvd. in Montreal.
- 1944 Exhibition, Students of Frere Jerome, College Notre-Dame, Montreal
- 1946 Montreal Museum of Fine Art
- 1947 Automatistes ,Galerie du Luxembourg, Paris; Exhibited with Riopelle in
- 1952 Automatistes, Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal; Biennial Exhibition of
Canadian Painting, National Art Gallery, Ottawa
- 1953 Automatistes, Place Des Arts, Montreal
- 1954 La matiere Chante,Galerie Antoine, Montreal
- Biennial Exhibition of Canadian painting, National Art Gallery,Ottawa; Winnipeg
Art Show, Wins First Prize; Young painters of Canada, in Belgium
- 1955 Espace 55, Museum of Fine Art, Montreal; Galerie L Actuelle, Montreal
- 1956 Galerie L Actuelle, with Riopelle, Borduas, Sam Francis, McEwen and others
- 1957 Exhibition of the Association of Non-Figuratives Artists of Montreal
- 1959 The Association of Non Figurative Artists, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
- 1962 Festival of the 2 Worlds, Spolette, Italy; Luminous Sculptures: Museum
of Montreal Galerie Agnes Lefort
- 1964 Museum of Montreal Salon du Printemps Galerie Toninelli, Milan, Italy
- 1967 Retropesctive, Aspects, Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal
- 1971 Borduas and the Automatistes, Grand Palais, Paris
- 1980 Contemporary Art Society, Edmonton Art Gallery
- 1983 Association of Non-Figurative Artists of Montreal, Concordia University
- 1997 Retrospective, Mousseau, Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal
- 2009 The Automatiste Revolution: Montreal 1941-1960, Varley Art Gallery, Unionville.
- 2009 The Automatiste Revolution: Montreal 1941-1960, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo.
- Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal
- Museum of Contemporary Art, Montreal
- National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, Quebec City
- Museum of Art, Joliette, Quebec
- Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal
- National Art Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
- Edmonton Art Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta
- Art Gallery of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario
- University of Lethbridge Art Collections, Alberta
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Colin S. MacDonald
Courtesy National Gallery of Canada