How does one become a collector? What is a collection (or collections)? How does one build a collection? This exhibition shows how a true passion for art has evolved over the years.
During the course of their careers as art dealers, Sylvie and Simon Blais discovered, and then presented, the work of many artists from Québec and Europe. Their gallery has become known for its special focus on modern and contemporary, mainly abstract, works on paper, organizing retrospectives of the work of such artists as McEwen, Riopelle, Gaucher, Ferron, Letendre, Alleyn and Dumouchel, and monographic exhibitions that can feature up to 50 years of work, some of it often never previously shown. All this has left its mark on the life of the gallery: some works that could now be described as rarities have enriched collections and the gallery, as well as their owners. This exhibition invites the public to discover the full breadth of Galerie Simon Blais’ activities.
From Québec and European abstract art of the 1950s and 1960s it is but a small step towards showing more examples of 20th-century and other art, ranging from that of Africa to Québec folk art to Middle Eastern antiquities, since the collector’s passion knows no boundaries. Sculptures, prints, drawings and paintings are exhibited in a manner that, although it might appear incoherent to the eyes of specialists, nonetheless illustrates the formal connections uniting them. Joan Miró and Joan Mitchell, Antoni Tàpies and Zao Wou-Ki, Sam Francis and Richard Serra, among others, will all have their place on the gallery’s walls during this very personal exhibition, a tribute to all those artists who have fostered the Galerie Simon Blais founders’ vocation as dealers and nurtured their passion for collecting.