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 Jacques Godefroy De Tonnancour  (1917 - 2005)

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Lived/Active: Quebec / Canada      Known for: abstract figure and landscape painting, teaching

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Biography from Contemporary Art Museum of Montreal:
Jacques Godefroy de Tonnancour was one of the most important Quebec and Canadian contemporary painters.  He studied at the former École des Beaux-Arts du Québec starting in 1937, and worked in Rio de Janeiro 1945-1946.

From his early works in Laurentian landscapes, he evolved into an abstract style influenced by his friends Alfred Pellan, Paul-Émile Borduas, and Goodridge Roberts.  His manifesto, Prisme d'yeux, was published in 1948 with Pellan's support; it diverged from the influential Refus global, published around the same time.  He was the Canadian delegate to a UNESCO conference in Florence in 1950.  He taught at the École des Beaux-Arts, and at UQAM after the École became part of it, from 1969 to 1982.

He was awarded a medal by the Canada Council in 1968, became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1979), won the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste's Philippe-Hébert medal in 1980, and was made an Officer of the Ordre du Québec in 1993.  He has received honorary degrees from McGill and Concordia universities, and is a professor emeritus of UQAM.

After 1981, he moved away from the art world to undertake the study of insects, a childhood interest, and published a book, Les insectes: monstres ou splendeurs cachées, in 2002; it won the Prix Marcel-Couture.


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