Important Léon Bellefleur work sold by Klinkhoff

An unitled, rare and important Léon Bellefleur canvas of 1945.

An unitled, rare and important Léon Bellefleur canvas of 1945.

Untitled – The Child 1945 is an outstanding, rare and important early canvas by Léon Bellefleur. We know that at this time Bellefleur was a regular visitor to the studio of Alfred Pellan, recently returned from France, and he was particularly enthralled by the fantastical quality of Pellan’s work. Additionally, at this stage in his formation Bellefleur is very much in admiration of Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Miro, the latter two most definitely referred to in this fine composition.

The forms and colours describing the painting also reveal the major influences that would define Bellefleur’s life as a father, teacher and artist. The oldest of four children in a family that experienced a great deal of hardship (his mother died when he was young and two of his younger siblings died in their youth), Bellefleur likely harboured a predisposed sensitivity to them. According to Guy Robert in “Bellefleur” (Iconia 1988 ), Bellefleur became a teacher under pressure from his father, who believed that “‘all artists die penniless”‘. Robert notes that Bellefleur, who taught at a Catholic school, “loved the children, and sincerely wanted them to progress…” (p.25) At the time he painted Untitled – The Child he was already the father of four children and the following year his wife gave birth to a fifth child. A review of our painting including the purity of colours, the imagery of what is conceivably a fetus with hands clasped, Untitled -The Child 1945 suggests that it is a visual expression of ideas published a couple of years later, in 1947, Plaidoyer pour l’enfant (Plea for the Child), “a manifesto which has served as his pedagogical and aesthetic as well as his moral and spiritual profession of faith” (Robert, p. 19).

In our opinion, this painting of 1945 is a highly significant testimony to Bellefleur’s development as an important and contemporary artist.

For additional reference one may refer to an image of a similar work in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada.

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