Journal of Canadian Art History / Annales d'histoire de l'art canadien

Archive of past issues

Vol. XVI:1 (1994)

Articles

Representation As Colonial Rhetoric

The image of "the Native" and "the habitant" in the formation of colonial identities in early nineteenth-century Lower Canada

Gillian Poulter

In a catalogue essay accompanying the 1992 Painting in Quebec exhibition, Laurier Lacroix suggests that during the period 1820-1850, the visual arts provided a "breeding ground for common practices" through which French-Canadians and British colonists could communicate. According to this theory, painting and drawing were activities by which the social élite of each community could "establish a local culture, identify its components and develop the creative forces within the community." Furthermore: "painting in Lower Canada provided a meeting ground for two traditions. … [It] was seen and appreciated by each of the ethnic groups as a means of moulding the colony to fit its own image: a double image, combining British allegiance and a need for national identity."

Le Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

décideurs et tendances socio-esthétiques de la collection

Jocelyne Connolly

Cette recherche sociologique1 consiste, dans un premier temps, à définir le caractère socioprofessionnel des décideurs du Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal en matière d'acquisition; dans un deuxième temps, à produire une analyse de contenu de la collection du Musée, afin d'établir la morphologie socio-esthétique de la collection; et, dans un troisième temps, à établir un rapport entre le caractère socioprofessionnel des réseaux de décideurs et la morphologie socio-esthé-tique de la collection. En dernier lieu, l'étude appréhende la collection muséale en tant que matériau historique de l'art et en tant qu'archives des formes. L'approche privilégiée vise à élaborer une sociologie plutôt qu'une histoire sociale de la collection. Les valeurs et les prix marchands des oeuvres de la collection du MACM n'ayant pas été divulgués par l'institution, le facteur économique ne contribue donc pas à pondérer l'analyse. Cette étude constitue une base d'informations ouverte à des recherches muséologiques ultérieures.

translated summary:

The Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal

Decision-makers and the socio-aesthetic tendencies of the collection

This sociological study first defines the socio-professional profile of the network of decision-makers at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal regarding its acquisition policy; secondly, it produces an analysis of the museum collection with a view to determining the socio-aesthetic morphology of the collection; and thirdly, it establishes a relationship between the two. Finally, I examine the collection as art-historical materials and as an archive of the institution. Since the value and market price of the works in the MACM collection have not been disclosed by the institution, economic factors do not enter into this analysis. The study constitutes an open-ended information base to encourage future research in museology.

Sources and Documents

Un état de la diffusion des arts visuels à Montréal

Les années cinquante: lieux et chronologie Première partie: 1950 à 1955

Hélène Sicotte

Ce texte, issu d'une recherche sur la Galerie Agnès Lefort, ne devait être au départ qu'un document de travail, mais il a été tant et si bien augmenté et retouché en cours de route, que nous avons finalement cru bon de le publier. Que la recherche sur une galerie particulière accouche d'un tel document découle en fait de deux nécessités. Premièrement, il fallait préciser ce qui s'était fait chez Lefort, c'est-à-dire: quels artistes elle avait exposés, quand et lesquelles de leurs oeuvres. Et deuxièmement, il importait d'évaluer la portée de son intervention sur le milieu montréalais, plus précisément, en quoi et comment cette galerie avait contribué à modifier la situation de la diffusion des arts visuels à Montréal, au cours de la période étudiée. Pour cela, un simple relevé des expositions chez Lefort ne pouvait suffire, il fallait dresser un portrait d'ensemble de toute la décennie, comprenant l'inventaire des galeries et une chronologie des expositions. On sait que le peintre Agnès Lefort ouvrit sa galerie en octobre 1950 et la dirigea jusqu'au moment où l'entreprise fut vendue à Mira Godard, à l'été 1961. Cette période de onze ans a donc déterminé le cadre temporel de la recherche et la grande région de Montréal, lieu d'activité de la galerie, son cadre spatial. Aussi, comme Lefort avait exposé en priorité des artistes canadiens contemporains et, de façon secondaire, l'art européen moderne, ces seules catégories ont été retenues dans notre propre relevé des expositions.

translated summary:

Dissemination of the Visual Arts in Montreal

The Nineteen Fifties – Locations and Chronology

This article grew out of research for an exhibition on the Galerie Agnès Lefort, to take place in spring 1996 at the Leonard Bina Ellen Art Gallery, Concordia University, Montreal. Thus it was initially intended to be merely a working document. However, it has been subsequently expanded and revised to such an extent that it can exist in its own right. The extension of a study of a single gallery to such a general review involved two stages. First, one has to specify what Lefort achieved – the artists she had exhibited, the dates and the choice of works. And second, it was important to assess the impact of her activity on the Montreal community, specifically in what ways the gallery had contributed to changing the dissemination of visual arts in Montreal over the period concerned. Simply listing the exhibitions held at the Galerie Lefort would not have been sufficient. It was necessary to survey the whole decade, including an inventory of galleries and a chronology of the exhibitions.

Reviews

The Urban Prairie

Dan Ring

Brian Foss

It is more than a truism—it has become a platitude—that Canadian art and identity have, for much of the twentieth century, been defined by landscape. Urban scenes have occupied only a small area in the Canadian visual consciousness. In 1990, Dorothy Farr reminded the readers of her catalogue Urban Images, Canadian Painting that there has been no shortage in Canada of exhibitions of landscape art. She then went on to remark, entirely accurately, that "until now, few [exhibitions] have looked at the urban image."

Sculpture of the Inuit

George Swinton

Joan Acland

George Swinton's Sculpture of the Inuit published in 1992 and recently released in paperback, is a revised and updated edition of his Sculpture of the Eskimo, 1972. It continues the encyclopedic survey of Inuit carving first catalogued in his classic work Eskimo Sculpture of 1965. This updated publication has a melancholy tone, evoking a nostalgia for an earlier time in Inuit contemporary art; a time of different sensory involvement, when sculpting meant "hearing" the stone and good work was sensuously tactile.

The addition of 33 pages to Sculpture of the Inuit unfortunately neither does justice to many of the artists working since 1971, nor to the one million carvings produced since that time. Swinton states that both for economic reasons and time constraints, it is no longer possible to produce the kind of comprehensive image bank which was the foundation of the 1972 work. Instead he aims to provide the reader with an overview.