Lot 30: MARC-AURELE FORTIN, A.R.C.A.MAISON TESSIER, oil on board; signed 18 ins x 26.75 ins; 45 cms x 66.9 cms Provenance: Galerie L'Art francais, Montreal.Private Collection, Ontario.Literature: Esther Trepanier, Marc-Aurele Fortin, Retrospective
November 26, 2012
Toronto, ON, CanadaLive Auction
Description: MARC-AURELE FORTIN, A.R.C.A.MAISON TESSIER, oil on board; signed 18 ins x 26.75 ins; 45 cms x 66.9 cms $30,000-50,000Provenance: Galerie L'Art francais, Montreal.Private Collection, Ontario.Literature: Esther Trepanier, Marc-Aurele Fortin, Retrospective Exhibition, exhibition catalogue, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff, Montreal, 2006.Note: Painted circa 1924.The 1920s were a transitionary period for Marc-Aurele Fortin, the painter beginning to include signature compositional elements within his rural Quebec scenes which would become characteristic of some of the artist's most renowned work. The central, amber and gold-leafed tree depicted within "Maison Tessier" is a strong example of one of these characteristics. The tree towers over all other occupants within the composition, the houses and certainly the figures dwarfed in comparison. The tree commands the middle area of the painting, the colourful branches spreading as it reaches into the clouded sky, its enormity not fully contained within the artwork as its height extends beyond the top border. Trees populate and dominate the landscape of "Maison Tessier", the houses, figures and laneway comfortably nestled, almost protected within the lush autumn vegetation. Clear focus falls on the building left of centre, the house which Fortin would call the Tessier House. Located in the Saguenay and now preserved as a historic monument, the property is now known as the Little House. The house was constructed during the latter half of the nineteenth century and was first used as a base for the Jean-Baptiste Petit and David Tessier trading house. Now a private residence, Maison Tessier remains architecturally significant as one of the first neoclassical houses in Quebec.Art historian Esther Trepanier stated that Fortin viewed himself as a more traditional artist, writing that "in the course of the interviews he granted throughout his career, Fortin maintained his position against modernism and objected whenever his name was associated with fauvism, Van Gogh, or, worse still, when he was seen as a precursor to non-figurative art, especially since he claimed to adhere to a tradition that stopped with impressionism."Trepanier calls attention to the similarities between Fortin and 19th century European landscape painters. "Even in instances where large trees are present in his paintings, the short strokes that give the foliage the appearance of rustling are not dealt with impressionistically. Their primary function is to impart vibrancy to the painted surface. The technique had been used by several other artists before the impressionists. Landscapes by the British painter John Constable come to mind, as do works executed after 1855 by the French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, among others."