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Sindon Gecin

 (1907 - 2000)
Sindon Gecin was active/lived in Quebec / Canada.  Sindon Gecin is known for painting, printmaking.

Sindon Gecin

Biography from the Archives of askART

Sindon Gecin (1907 – 2000)

"His professional field was not in the arts. But suddenly it burst forth, naively yet urgently, fantastic images as only the innocent inner eye can perceive, or as only the unsophisticated mind can conceive." (1)

A prominent Quebec draftsman*, printmaker and painter, Sindon Gecin (aka: Gecin; aka: Gerard Sindon) was born in Montreal, Quebec, lived there his whole life, and died there. Gecin’s story is discussed in several Canadian art history books, his art is collected by over a dozen Canadian museums including the National Gallery of Canada, and his work was included in the National Gallery’s exhibition "Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art" which commemorated Canada’s centennial in 1967.

His mediums included pen & ink, felt pen, ink wash, wax crayons, collage*, gouache*, watercolors, etchings*, and mixed mediums. His subjects included figures, faces, nudes, dreams, still lifes, landscapes, interiors, animals, fantasy, allegory*, symbolism*, religion, and the subjects of pure abstraction – line, shape, color and texture. Gecin’s style is frequently described as Naive Art*, Primitivism* and Surrealism*.

“He paints nothing but his own convictions, which are basically no more than his illusions, dreams and hallucinations.” (2)

He is considered a self-taught artist. He adopted the pen name Sindon Gecin and began drawing at the age of 47 near the end of a long career as an elementary school teacher with the Montreal Catholic School Commission (c. 1925 – 1960). His previous academic studies were in education and psychology and he was not an art teacher. His art education only consists of a few lessons at the Ecole des Beaux-arts, Montreal and learning printmaking at the Atelier Libre de Recherches Graphiques, Montreal under Richard Lacroix. Gecin also travelled to Paris (several dates – 1962, 1965 and 1973 – are alluded to by our sources).

His work was discovered in the late 1950s by the Galerie Dresdnere, Montreal and first exhibited in a solo show there in 1960. Subsequently, his works were given solo shows at Galerie Martin, Montreal (1964); the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1965); the Quebec Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec City (1966); and at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1968).

His works were also featured in two spring exhibitions at the  Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1960 and 1962); in "Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art" at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1967); in “Quebec 74” at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1974); in “One Hundred and Eleven Drawings of Quebec” at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1976); in “New Figuration in Quebec Printmaking” at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1977); and in “20th Century Canadian Drawings” at the Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario (1979).

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum sources, his works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Montreal); Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Quebec), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Musée Louis-Hémon (Péribonka, Quebec), Musée Pierre-Boucher (Trois-Rivières, Quebec), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), University of Montreal Art Collection (Quebec), University of Toronto (Ontario), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

(1) Source: "Sindon Gecin" by Rea Montbizon, The Montreal Gazette, December 26, 1964 (page 12).

(2) Source: Modern Painting in French Canada (1967), by Guy Viau (page 83).
Benezit Dictionary of Artists (2006), English version (see askART Publications)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see askART Publications)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see askART Publications)

E. Benezit Dictionnaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs, et Graveurs (1999) (see askART Publications)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G – K (1994), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry; Published by the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see askART Publications)

100 Years of Canadian Drawings (1980), by Jerrold Morris; Methuen, Toronto

20th Century Canadian Drawings (1979), by Jerrold Morris; Gallery Stratford, Stratford, Ontario

The Nude in Canadian Painting (1972), by Jerrold Morris (see askART Publications)

Sir George Williams University Collection of Art (1971), by Edwy F. Cooke and Douglass Burns Clarke; Sir George Williams University, Montreal

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume Two, G – Jackson (1970), by Colin S. MacDonald; Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Limited, Ottawa, Ontario

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see askART Publications)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see askART Publications)

Canadian Prints and Drawings: With a Collection of Photographs by Yousuf Karsh , (1967) by Kathleen M. Fenwick and Yousuf Karsh; Roger Duhamel, Queen's Printer, Ottawa

Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art (1967), by R.H. Hubbard and J.R. Ostiguy (see askART Publications)

Modern Painting in French Canada (1967), by Guy Viau; Department of Cultural Affairs, Quebec

“Sindon Gecin” The Montreal Gazette - Dec 11, 1965 (page 22)

"Sindon Gecin" by Rea Montbizon, The Montreal Gazette, December 26, 1964 (page 12)

“Gecin” by Dorothy Pfeiffer, The Montreal Gazette - Mar 17, 1962 (page 8)

“Call My Work Anything: Gecin” by Joe Emery, The Montreal Gazette - Feb 4, 1961 (page 3)

“Some Varied Exhibitions” by Dorothy Pfeiffer, The Montreal Gazette - May 14, 1960 (page 20)

“Accent on Youth”, by Dorothy Pfeiffer, The Montreal Gazette - Apr 2, 1960 (page 16)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

National Gallery of Canada (website)

* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary

Written and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

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About  Sindon Gecin

Born:  1907 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died:   2000 - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Known for:  painting, printmaking