Artworks and Artists
Marc-Aurèle Fortin
Born in Sainte-Rose, Quebec, 14 March 1888
Died in Macamic, Quebec, 02 March 1970
Collection of the Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada

Marc-Aurèle Fortin

Marc-Aurèle Fortin, painter, engraver, was a popular artist in Quebec during the thirties. His prolific production, experimentation with various media and personal vision of nature established him as a pioneer of modern art in Québec. Inspired by Art Nouveau, the decorative art of the turn of the century, he is best known for his rural village scenes in which he explores the relationships between humans and their environment.

Fortin studied painting first in Montreal under Ludger Larose and Edmond Dyonnet, then two years in the United Sates from 1909-1911, first at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and then at the Art Institute of Chicago. He returned to Canada around 1912. In the mid-twenties, he began actively to pursue a painting career. Fortin's work, devoted mostly to landscape, demonstrated his love for a rich and bountiful nature. His brush transforms heavy clouds, thick foliage and rising hills into large, free forms, vibrating with colour.

In 1935, Fortin spent some time in France and upon his return to Canada he moved to Sainte-Rose. In the late thirties and all through the forties he painted in the lower Saint Lawrence area, in the Gaspé and around Saint-Simon on the lower Saint Lawrence River. His favourite subjects were the large elms in small Quebec villages, hay wagons on country roads, and the flowing curves of the roof- tops of the Quebec farmhouses.