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 Paul Vanier Beaulieu  (1910 - 1996)

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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada/France      Known for: landscape, figure, still life and mix-media abstract painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Paul Vanier Beaulieu RCA (1910 – 1996)

Paul Vanier Beaulieu (AKA: P.V. Beaulieu, AKA: Paul Beaulieu) was a Canadian painter, draughtsman, illustrator and printmaker. He was notable for an oeuvre that included a wide range of styles.  His works are avidly collected in Canada and are in many Canadian museum collections.

He was born in Montreal, Quebec and died in St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec, a town about 40 miles northwest of Montreal, where he had lived for most of the last 23 years of his life.  His home from 1938 until 1973 was Paris, France with the exception of two periods: after the Nazis invasion, as an enemy alien, he was sent to a concentration camp at St. Denis, in the northern suburbs of Paris, where he was interned from 1940 until liberation in 1944; and after the war, when he returned to Montreal for a short period between 1945 and 1947. (1)

His mediums included oil, watercolor, gouache*, ink, etching, drypoint*, aquatint* and mixed mediums.  His subjects included landscapes, genre*, still life, figures, nudes, portraits, historic events, Indians, clowns, circus performers, roosters and as an abstractionist – shape, color and texture. His diverse styles include Realism*, Fauvism*, Expressionism*, Abstract Expressionism* and Color Field*.  AskART have some excellent examples of his work. (2)

His formal art education began at the École des Beaux Arts, Montréal in 1927, where he studied etching under Robert Pilot (3); he left the school in 1930 and returned for another year in 1936, leaving for good in 1937. He also studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris between 1938 and 1940. (4)

He was elected an associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* in 1979, however he did not participate in any RCA exhibitions; nor does it appear that he ever belonged to or exhibited with any other Canadian artist organizations; perhaps not surprising considering his long absence from the country. (5)

His works were however exhibited in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Exhibitions in 1943 (yes...even while interned in France), 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1960 and 1963. They were also included in several important group exhibitions of Canadian art such as the centennial exhibition "Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art" at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1967); "Panorama of Painting in Quebec: 1940 – 1966" at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1967); “The Canadian Landscape” at the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (1984); and he was grouped with Pierre Clerk, John Koerner and Takao Tanabe at the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario) in "Four Canadians" (1957). (6)

Through the years his works have been exhibited at some very prominent commercial galleries including solo exhibitions at Dominion Gallery, Montreal in 1957 and 1959 and retrospectives at Galerie d'Art Vincent, Ottawa in 1983 and Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal in 2009; as well as solo exhibitions at Waldorf Galleries, Montreal (1954); Galerie l’Apogée, St-Sauveur-des-Monts, Quebec (1968); and  Galerie Libre, Montreal (1970).

Beaulieu’s works are very actively traded on the Canadian auction market, they are in numerous private collections, and they are in several important public collections.

According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and the Quebec Museum Society there are a total of 141 Paul Vanier Beaulieu works in the permanent collections of Canadian museums. They include: Museum London (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), Ottawa Art Gallery [Firestone Art Collection*] (Ontario), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Canadian Museum of Civilization (Gatineau, Quebec), and the National Gallery of Canada, which has 4 of his works. (7)

His most famous work as an illustrator is the book 0 Visages [English = 0 Faces] (1952), by French poet Jean Louis Vallas (1901 – 1995) for which Beaulieu supplied 33 original etchings. (8)

Among his awards is a Canada Council Grant in 1960.


(1) Sources: Canadian Heritage Information Network* and A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references).

Note: Beaulieu was interned with his architect brother Claude (1913 – 2002) and the artist Jean Dallaire [see AskART]. Apparently the amenities of the camp included art supplies because Beaulieu and Dallaire continued to paint during their internment. Source:

(2) Sources: AskART Images; and museum illustrations and descriptions of mediums in the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and the Quebec Museum Society data bases.

(3) All artist teachers, and artist associates mentioned in this biography, except those with bracketed dates after their names, have their own pages in AskART.

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

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

(6) Exhibition sources: The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Art Gallery of Ontario (both have extensive archived catalogue summaries online); Cheryl Siegel, Librarian/Archivist, Vancouver Art Gallery; A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art (1967), by R.H. Hubbard and J.R. Ostiguy; and Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Spring Exhibitions 1880 – 1970 (1988), by Evelyn de R. McMann (see books in AskART book references).

(7) The author also found several works in the Ottawa Art Gallery and the Owens Art Gallery, which are not listed in the Canadian Heritage Information Network* or the Quebec Museum Society data bases.

(8) Source:

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

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.




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