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 Jean-Philippe Dallaire  (1916 - 1965)

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Lived/Active: Ontario/Quebec / Canada/France      Known for: painting, graphics, murals, illustration, design, teaching

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

Jean-Philippe Dallaire was a painter, graphic artist, muralist, illustrator, tapestry designer and educator.  He was born in Hull, Quebec, Canada.  He lived in Paris, France (1938-1945); Québec City (1946 -1952); Ottawa, Ontario (1952 -1957); Montreal, Quebec (1957-1959) and Vence, France (1) (1959 – 1965) where he died.

His mediums were oil, watercolor, gouache, charcoal, crayon, pencil and mixed mediums.  His subjects were figures, portraits, humor, fantasy, folklore, mythology, dreams, still life, genre, shape, color and texture.  His styles were Realism, Surrealism, Cubism and Abstraction.  His work is identified by its meticulous craftsmanship, painstaking attention to details, vivid colors, draftsmanship, flattened planes and decorativeness.  His Surrealist work appears to derive from Art Brut (see AskART glossary) and bears a resemblance to the figurative work of Paul Klee, Jean Dubuffet, and to his stated influences Alfred Pellan and Picasso (see all in AskART).

"I work according to my intuition and whim, ...As it is in Surrealism, it is the subconscious that I express, and that is made explicit through form and color in the painting." and  “One could say that I do not take life seriously.  I always had a fondness for birds, little flags and the texture of fabrics.  Perhaps it is a bit decorative, but so what.” - Jean-Philippe Dallaire .

While Dallaire is often considered a largely self taught artist he has attended numerous art schools and studied under some prominent artists.  He studied with Charles Goldhamer (see AskART), Peter Haworth (see AskART), Robert Ross (1902-1984), and Elisabeth Wyn Wood (see AskART) at Central Technical School, Toronto (1935); with Charles Maillard (1887-1971) and Felix Charpentier (see AskART) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal (1938); with Maurice Denis and Georges Desvallieres (see both in AskART) at Ateliers d'Art Sacre in Paris (1938); with Andre Lhote (see AskART) also in Paris (1938 -1940); and tapestry design with Jean Lurcat (2) (see AskART) at Aubusson, France, (summer 1949).

His career as an educator involved teaching painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Québec City (1946-1952)(3).  He also worked for the National Film Board in Ottawa, Ontario (1952-1957), where he illustrated short animated educational films.

During World War II Dallaire, as a Canadian citizen, and thus an enemy civilian, was interned by the Nazis (1940) in the Saint Denis (Paris suburb)  “Ilag” were he remained until the camp was liberated by the United States Army in August 1944.  While at the camp, which had a library, sports activities and a theatre, he continued to paint and studied Italian.

Dallaire exhibited with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from 1953 to 1961.  His works were also included in the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa) exhibition titled “300 Years of Canadian Art” (1967). He had solo exhibitions at the University of Montreal (1947), Dominion Gallery, Montreal (1954) and Robertson Galleries, Ottawa (c.1955).  In 1968 a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Montreal Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Quebec (Quebec City).

His work is avidly collected.  It is also in numerous museums including the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Museum of Quebec, Musée d'art de Joliette (Quebec City), the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston,Ontario) and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.)  There are 12 paintings of his in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa).  He also created murals for the Dominican monasteries in Ottawa, Ontario and Fall River, Massachusetts; and a tapestry wall hanging for the Queen Elizabeth Hotel (Montreal).

He is listed in A Dictionary of Canadian Artists (1974), by Colin S. MacDonald; in The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar; in The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985), Hurtig Publishers; in Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson; and in The Dictionary of Art (1996), edited by Jane Turner. 

(1) Vence is a town within 20 miles of Cannes, Nice and Monaco on the French Riviera.

(2) Lurcat was a surrealist and cubist painter who was responsible for the modern revival of  French tapestry design at Aubusson where French rug making dates back to 1665.  His influence on Dallaire’s art is very evident.

(3) Jean-Paul Lemieux (see AskART) was also teacher there, from 1937 until retirement 1965.

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke

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