| Rodolphe Bourgogne is primarily known as Rodolphe De (Jauran) Repentigny
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Rodolphe de Repentigny (AKA: Jauran, AKA: François Bourgogne) (1) was a
painter, photographer, journalist, art theoretician and art
critic. He was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where, other
than for education and travel, he lived his whole life. He died
in a mountain climbing accident on Victoria Glacier in the Canadian
Rockies (2). In spite of a short professional career (3), which
lasted only seven years, from the time he left the Sorbonne (4), until
the time he died, his name appears in most books about Canadian art
history and Canadian modern art. This is largely because of his
influence as an art critic and journalist and as a leader in three
groups: the short lived, but pivotal, artist association, Les
Plasticiens* (founder); the much larger Non-figurative Artists'
Association of Montreal* (Secretary); and, the International
Association of Art Critics* (President of the Canadian branch).|
His painting mediums were oil, acrylic and gouache. As an
abstractionist and a Plasticien, the subjects of his work were the
plastic elements of painting - tone, texture, form and line; the
objective being a harmonious composition devoid of meaning or reference
to anything in the real world. His style while theoretically
dedicated to Geometric Abstraction* is also reminiscent of the
puzzle-like designs of Synthetic Cubism*.
Quote: ‘The Plasticiens are drawn, above all else in their work, to the
“plastic” facts: tone, texture, form, line, the ultimate unity of these
in painting, and the relationship between these elements … The
significance of the work of the Plasticiens lies with the purifying of
the plastic elements and of their order; their destiny lies typically
in the revelation of perfect forms in a perfect order … The Plasticiens
are totally indifferent, at least consciously so, to any possible
meanings in their paintings.’ - Rodolphe de Repentigny.
Though the period of his work as a painter was brief, and his output
small, his works are nevertheless avidly collected. They are also
in several important public collections. According to the Canadian
Heritage Information Network*, there are 42 Repentigny (Jauran) works
in Canadian museums. The Museum of Quebec (Quebec City) has the largest
collection which includes 18 photographic works and 5 paintings. The
Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the
Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the National Gallery of Canada
also have his paintings in their collections.
Posthumously, his works have been included in public venue group
exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art twice in 1967
(May and July); there again in the 1977 exhibition “Jauran et les
Premiers Plasticiens, 1954 – 1956”; and at the Sherbrooke Museum of
Fine Arts (Quebec) in the 2005 exhibition, “Les Plasticiens: Louis
Belzile, Jauran, Jean-Paul Jérôme and Fernand Toupin”, to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of the Plasticien
As mentioned above, his work is illustrated and discussed in most
recent books about Canadian art history and Canadian modern art. There
is also the book, L' Oeil de la Critique: Rodolphe de Repentigny: Escrits sur l'Art et Theorie Esthetique, 1952-1959 (1990) by Marie Carani (5).
(1) He painted under the name Jauran; wrote for La Presse, a Montreal newspaper, as an art critic from 1952 to 1959 under the name Repentigny; and wrote for L’Authoite, a weekly, and Vie des Arts, a magazine, under the name Bourgogne.
(2) The accident details, according to A Dictionary of Canadian Artists
(1974), by Colin S. MacDonald are: “In the summer of 1959 with three
other climbers he attempted to traverse the Victoria Glacier in the
Lake Louise area. Three members of the party had crossed safely over a
snow bridge of a hidden crevasse but when de Repentigny was making his
attempt, the bridge collapsed under him causing him to fall sixty feet
to his death. One of the surviving climbers was lowered to the
bottom of the crevasse and recovered the body.”
(3) And, an even shorter painting career, according to Abstract Painting in Canada by Roald Nasgaard, Repentigny stopped painting in 1956 to devote more time to writing.
(4) He studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, Paris from 1949 to 1952 and, before that, mathematics at the University of Montreal.
(5) Author’s translation – The Critical Eye: Rodolphe de Repentigny: Writings on Art and Aesthetic Theory.
* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see
Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke
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