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 Lise Gervais  (1933 - 1998)

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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada      Known for: non-objective painting, mixed-media sculpture

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Indian Summer
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lise Gervais CSEA, ASQ, SAPQ, CAPQ (1933 – 1998)

A prominent Canadian painter, sculptor and educator, Lise Gervais was born in Saint-Césaire, Quebec (about 25 miles east of Montreal) and died in Montreal. She belonged to what is informally referred to as the Quebec Modern Group*. Her works are in the permanent collections of numerous Canadian museums.

Her mediums included oil, watercolor, gouache*, acrylic, pastel, ink, fiberglass, stainless steel, and mixed mediums. The majority of her work was non objective, the subjects being shape, color and texture. Her painting styles included Abstract Expressionism*, Color Field painting* and Fauvism*. Her sculpture style was Concrete Art*. AskART has many excellent examples of her paintings; for two illustrations of her sculptures we recommend the book Sculpture 67 (1968), by Dorothy Cameron and Don Wallace (p.103).

Gervais’ formal art education includes studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal (1951 – 1954) under Stanley Cosgrove (painting), Jacques de Tonnancour (painting), and Louis Archambault (sculpture). She also travelled to Europe in 1958 and she attended the Emma Lake Workshop* in Saskatchewan conducted by Donald Judd in 1968. (1)

Gervais’ teaching career began at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal in 1955 and spanned a period of about sixteen years. It includes periods at the University of Quebec, Montreal; Centre d’Art de Sainte-Adee (30 miles north west of Montreal); and Concordia University, Montreal.

She was a member of the Canadian Society for Education through Art [CSEA] (1956), the Association of Quebec Sculptors [ASQ] (1961), the Society of Professional Artists of Quebec [SAPQ](1966), and the Quebec Artist-Painters Council [CAPQ] (1982, President 1983 – 1984).

Her works were exhibited in the Spring Exhibitions of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1961 – 1963), with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* (1964), and in the Sixth Biennial of Canadian Painting, at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1965). They have also been included in exhibitions at the Quebec Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec City (1967); the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1967); the Musee Rodin, Paris (1970); and, from its opening in 1965 to 2012, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art has included Gervais’ works in fourteen group exhibitions (1965, 1966 [2], 1967 [2], 1970, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1989, 1992, 1994 and 1995).

Her works were also included in “Exposition of Two Worlds”, Spoleto, Italy (1962); “Sculpture ’67”, Toronto City Hall (1967); “From Women's Eyes: Women Painters in Canada”,  Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Kingston, Ontario (1975); and “The School of Women: 50 Canadian Artists”, Joliette Art Museum, Quebec (2003).

Her first solo show was at Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal in 1961. Her works have also been the subject of solo shows at the Galerie Norton, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1961); the Moos Gallery, Toronto (1962 – 1965); and the Galerie du Siecle, Montreal (1964, 1965 and 1967).

Gervais’s paintings are avidly collected in Canada, they are frequently traded on the Canadian auction market, and examples of them are in several Canadian museum collections.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network*, her works are in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum (Charlottetown, P.E.I.), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), La Pulperie (Chicoutimi, 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), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).

Among Gervais’s awards are a first prize in drawing and sculpture at the École des Beaux-Arts, Montréal (1953); first prize “Young Contemporaries of Montreal” exhibition, Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal (1961); the Jessie Dow Prize*, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1961); and a Canada Council* grant (1963 – 1964).
1. Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography have their own pages in AskART.

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

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

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G – K (1988), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry (see AskART book references)

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

Royal Canadian Academy of Arts: Exhibitions and Members, 1880 – 1979 (1981), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)

Four Decades: The Canadian Group of Painters and Their Contemporaries – 1930 - 1970” (1972), by Paul Duval (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art Today (1970), by William Townsend (see AskART book references)

Agnes Etherington Art Centre (1968), by Frances K. Smith (see AskART book references)

Sculpture 67 (1968), by Dorothy Cameron and Don Wallace (see AskART book references)

Modern Painting in French Canada (1967), by Guy Viau (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network*

Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (exhibition summaries online)

Art Gallery of Ontario (exhibition summaries online)

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

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Lise Gervais (b.1933 / d.1998)

Gervais was born in 1933.

Lise Gervais studied painting at l'Ecole des Beaux Arts de Montreal under Stanley Cosgrove from 1933 to 1998.  As well as, with the sculpture Louis Archambeault from 1950 to 1954.
Gervais taught for sixteen years, first at Ecole des beaux-arts de Montreal, then at Universite du Quebec at Montreal and at Concordia University. She was president of the Conseil des Artistes Peintres du Quebec from 1983 until 1984.

Selected Exhibitions:
1961 Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
1964 Galerie du Siecle, Montreal; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
1967 Musee du Quebec; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto
1970 Galerie du Montreal;
         Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal;
         Musee Rodin, Paris
1983 Bishops University Art Gallery, Lennoxville, PQ
1990 Galerie d'Art du College Edouard-Montpetit, Longueil
2003 McIntosh Gallery, University of Western Ontario, London
Selected Collections:
National Gallery of Canada
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal
Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, N.Y.
Concordia University, Montreal
Queen's University, Kingston
Hart House, University of Toronto
York University, Toronto
Samuel Zacks Collection, Toronto
Samuel Bronfman Collection, Montreal
Charles Delloye Collection, Paris
Universite de Montreal Collection
Musee d'art de Joliette.

Selected Sources Include:

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