Marc-Aurèle Fortin, self-portrait, 1928
The painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, printmaker, Fortin was born in Ste-Rose, Quebec, once a suburban village north of Montreal, and for his entire life, he was devoted to landscape painting that celebrated the beauty of nature. Even when depicting the port or suburbs of Montreal, such as Pont-Viau, he focused on the bucolic aspects of regions not yet encroached by modern urbanism and remained faithful to the role of the artist as a celebrator of nature’s beauty. “Painting”, he said, “is silent poetry”.
He studied with Edmond Dyonnet at the Council of Arts and Manufactures in Montreal by 1907 and with Edward J. Timmons at the Art Institute of Chicago by 1910. He lived in Edmonton in 1907-09, Chicago, New York and Boston in 1909-12. He travelled in France 1934-35.
He died in Macamic in 1970.
He painted in the Laurentians, Quebec City and vicinity, Île d’Orléans, Charlevoix, Gaspé and Saguenay regions.
Subsequent to his 1935 trip to Europe, Marc-Aurèle Fortin began to experiment with his manière noire, or black manner, whereby he covered the entire surface of his canvas or board with black enamel. Once it was dry, he deposited colour directly from the tube and then later extended these applications with a brush, achieving an intense luminosity and brilliance of colour.
Source: Anne Newlands, Canadian art from its beginnings to 2000, Firefly books, 2000 ; Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada, Canadian art, volume one/A-F, Ottawa, 1988