Description of the exhibition
“Hommage à Marcel Barbeau” presents a group of works representative of the artist’s long career of more than 70 years.
Born in Montreal in a working-class family on February 18, 1925, Barbeau discovered art and his vocation at the age of 18 through his drawing teacher at the École du Meuble, the painter Paul-Émile Borduas. Under the influence of his mentor, drawing, painting, and sculpture quickly became for him a vocation to which he devoted his whole life. Barbeau would then gravitate towards other young disciples of Borduas, a group who would become the Automatistes. He exhibited with them and was a signatory to their provocative manifesto, the Refus global. This text is still considered a catalyst and founding document of modernity in Quebec and Canada.
Barbeau's nomadic life saw him producing works in most regions of Quebec, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver, Paris, Saint-Tropez, Bidard and Basel, New York, New Jersey, Florida, and California. After a third stay of more than 15 years in Paris, he returned to live in Montreal in 2008.
Barbeau has exhibited in several major museums: the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the National Gallery of Canada, the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art, the National Galleries of the Grand Palais (Paris), the Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona, the Modern Art Museum of the City of Paris, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the Palais de Tokyo (Paris). His works are in most Canadian museums and several major foreign museums, including the British Museum (London), the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain de Strasbourg, and the Chrysler Museum in Virginia.
Officer of the Order of Canada and the National Order of Quebec, in 2013 he was the recipient of the Governor General's Award, the Prix Borduas, and the Prix Louis-Philippe Hébert, three of the highest awards in the visual arts community of Canada, thus receiving belated but unanimous recognition for his immense contribution to the visual arts.