The works of Pierre Gauvreau have rarely been shown at Galerie Simon Blais and it is a privilege for us to exhibit 25 of the artist’s paintings. We have deliberately chosen to feature works from the second half of his career, in particular those executed between 1977 and 2008 that still belong to his two children, Martin and Annick. Serving as a linchpin for this presentation is a large painting that dates from 1955, an ideal starting point for enabling the public to gain a better understanding of the remarkable development of his art. Acrylic painted in exuberant colours, applied with brush and spray can, the works demonstrate a disconcerting youthfulness of spirit.
Pierre Gauvreau’s career took an unexpected direction in 1952, when he was hired by Radio-Canada as a newsreader. Throughout the 1950s and until the late 1990s, he wrote and directed for the national broadcaster television series—among them Pépinot, Rue de l’Anse, Le temps d’une paix and Cormoran—that left a mark on the collective imagination. As his work in television monopolized his time, he was unable to continue any sustained production of paintings and drawings from 1962 to 1976; however, in 1977, following that hiatus, which had not gone unnoticed by collectors, the artist made a brilliant return to painting.
Born in Montréal in August 1922, he studied at the École des beaux-arts until the mid-1940s. Coming back from the war in 1946, he immediately took part in the activities of the group of young Automatiste artists following the teachings of Paul-Émile Borduas. Pierre Gauvreau, like his brother Claude, was one of the signatories of the Refus global manifesto, published in 1948.