Klinkhoff mounts Beaulieu retrospective

The Westmount Independent
September 22-23, 2009 (p. 23)

Alan (left) and Jonathan Klinkhoff with Beaulieu's 1956 painting "L'oiseau en cage". Photo by Erin Stropes, The Independent

Alan (left) and Jonathan Klinkhoff with Beaulieu's 1956 painting "L'oiseau en cage". (Photo by Erin Stropes, The Independent)

Paul Vanier Beaulieu was a Montreal native who spent the post-World War II years painting in Paris and rubbing shoulders with such luminaries as Picasso and master printer Georges Leblanc. His work was celebrated by his contemporaries, but as part of the European art movement he hasn’t had the recognition in Canada as many contemporary Quebec artists have had – until now.

Forty of Beaulieu’s paintings are on display at Galerie Walter Klinkhoff until September 26. The gallery is run by three Westmounters: brothers Alan and Eric Klinkhoff, and Alan’s son Jonathan. And Westmount is no stranger to Beaulieu’s work – half of the paintings featured in the show are on loan from the private collections of Westmount residents.

A Canadian in Paris

Paul Beaulieu was born in Montreal in 1910. According to the in-depth biography prepared specially for this exhibition by art historian Germain Lefebvre, he waited tables and sold paintings to raise funds to sail to Paris in 1938, where he was immersed in the cultural milieu of the period. Unfortunately, his Canadian citizenship was a liability when the Nazis took Paris in 1940, and he spent four years in an internment camp in St. Denis.

After the liberation of France, Beaulieu returned to Paris. He painted and exhibited successfully in both France and Quebec for the rest of his life. His work is in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Musée national d’art modern in Paris. He is known for his roosters and circus scenes, as well as his colourful portraits and still lifes.

No-sale show

The Beaulieu retrospective is part of an annual series of no-sale shows put on for 34 years by the Galerie Walter Klinkhoff to expose visitors to the work of lesser-known Canadian artists. The shows are well attended by students, collectors and art aficionados. In recent years, the collections have also been displayed online for those who can’t make the trip to Montreal to see the show in person.

“We choose important Canadian artists who we consider worthy of review,” says Alan Klinkhoff. “Beaulieu was a peer among greats, and we hope to see his work get the exposure it deserves in a Canadian
context.”

Galerie Walter Klinkhoff is located at 1200 Sherbrooke St. West. Free admission. For more information, to schedule a tour, or to view the collection online, visit www.klinkhoff.com.

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