Paul Vanier Beaulieu Retrospective opens September 12

Paul Vanier Beaulieu is an important artist who for several years now we have been preparing to celebrate with a non-selling, loan exhibition. Although our gallery’s professional appreciation of his work developed well after the artist had cemented fine professional art dealing relations with colleagues, the context of his paintings fell very much in line with Walter Klinkhoff’s taste. This discriminating taste is most evidenced historically by his more than occasional purchases of paintings for resale by not only Paul-Émile Borduas, Alfred Pellan, Jean-Paul Riopelle and Jean Dallaire but also Bernard Buffet, André Derain, Claude Venard and Maurice de Vlaminck. Because of limitations of space in the gallery, we are focusing our exhibition specifically on the maturity of Paul Vanier Beaulieu’s career, essentially the period from immediately following World War ll, where we remark at Beaulieu’s interest in the modernism he witnessed among artists in these Paris years, then, following through the ’50s with the evolution of a personal style expressed in a development of specific and recurring themes. We also highlight the artist’s exploration of the visual language in abstraction which he used for a number of years until, ultimately, Beaulieu returned to the figurative, continuing his research in that vein. Respectfully, we recognize that there is much additional, comprehensive and important study to be done on this significant modern Canadian artist. With the commitment a commercial art gallery can afford we both challenge and defer greater study of Paul Vanier Beaulieu to the Canadian fine art historians and their/our museums.

Accompanying this exhibition will be an excellently written and well researched biographical sketch of Paul Vanier Beaulieu, prepared by the distinguished art historian, Germain Lefebvre. M. Lefebvre is especially well known as the author of a monograph on Alfred Pellan that was published by the Éditions de l’Homme in 1973, subsequently improved and re-edited for the Éditions Marcel Broquet in 1986. M. Lefebvre is a former conservator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and, for 20 years between 1986 and 2006, cultural advisor to the Conseil des arts de Montréal, where he was in charge of the visual arts and litterature dossiers. Although now retired, M. Lefebvre has such great enthusiasm for the work of Paul Vanier Beaulieu that he has been delightfully agreeable in assisting us with this educational initiative. We are obliged to underscore both M. Lefebvre’s depth of knowledge of this generation of Canadian art as well as his commitment to accomplishing a greater understanding for his readers.

We are grateful to the Estate of the late Paul Vanier Beaulieu, represented by the accomplished artist, Louis Jacques Beaulieu, who paints under the name Louis Jaque, and Royal Trust for their permission to reproduce the various works. Finally, as always with these non-selling exhibitions, we are extremely indebted to the numerous private collectors from across Canada who generously lend their paintings for our appreciation and study.

Beginning on September 12, we invite you to enjoy the work of artist Paul Vanier Beaulieu here online or in person at the gallery.

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