Henri Beau by Edmond Dyonnet
Henri Beau was born in Montreal in 1863. He studied with Joseph Chabert in Montreal around 1881. Then, he left for the US in 1884, ending up in San Francisco where he did coloured engravings. Returning to Montreal in 1886, he went on to Paris, studying at the Académie Julian and with Jean-Léon Gérôme at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Beau lived in Paris from 1888 and travelled frequently in Europe. He stayed in Montreal in 1900-02 and around 1904-06. He taught at Sarsfield School in Montreal in 1904-06.
He worked for the Public Archives of Canada in Paris 1915-38. He died in Paris in 1949.
SUBJECT / THEMES
Among his important works are Les Noces de Cana (1894) in the Sacré Coeur chapel of Notre-Dame de Montréal, La Dispersion des Acadiens (1900) at Saint-Joseph's (now part of University of Moncton, New Bruncwick), and L'Arrivée de Champlain à Québec (1908) at the Musée du Québec.
Beau was a painter, watercolourist, draughtsman and an illustrator. With his brother Paul, a fine-arts ironworker, Beau left a definite mark on Canadian art, heralding the coming young generation of painters. Yet, with his French academy training and French tastes, he was one of the last representatives of a dying age.
He had his first showings in the 1890s and in 1900 won third prize for painting at the Universal Exhibition.
Beau appeared regularly in exhibitions in Europe and America. In Canada the Salon du printemps of the Art Association and the Royal Canadian Academy frequently hung his works.
An active member of several French art societies, he was made an officer of the French Academy. He was the holder of the Palmes Académiques in France in 1901 and his affiliations were the Société des « Uns » and the Société de Salon d’Hiver in Paris.
Source: « Henri Beau » in Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian Art, Volume one/A-F, p. 67 and The Canadian Encyclopedia