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 Marc-Aurele Fortin  (1888 - 1970)

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Lived/Active: Quebec/Alberta / Canada      Known for: landscape and coastal view painting, engraving

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Marc-Aurèle Fortin was a painter and engraver who was born in Sainte-Rose, Quebec, Canada (present day Laval, a part of greater Montreal).  He lived in the Montreal area for most of his life except for a period from 1908 to 1910 when he lived in Edmonton, Alberta.  The last three years of his life were spent in Macanic, Quebec (about 400 miles north of Montreal), which is where he died.
His mediums were oil, pastel, watercolour, gouache, charcoal, casein, pen and ink, etching and mixed mediums.  His subjects were mostly landscapes, cityscapes, harbour views, rural scenes and genre.  The locations were in Montreal, the Laurentians, the Charlevoix region (north of Quebec City) and the Gaspe Peninsula (all in Quebec).  His style was Fauvism.  His works are identified by vibrant colours, complex composition and unusual pictorial angels.  Quote: “All artists are influenced by others in their technique, in their craft.  But a real artist preserves his Ivory Tower, which is impenetrable.  The Ivory Tower is the area of inspiration, it’s where the artist goes to get his ideas about art.” – Marc-Aurele Fortin .
In Montreal (1904 –1908) he studied at l’ École du Plateau with Ludger Larose (see AskART) and at the Monument National  with Edmond Dyonnet (see AskART).  He also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago (c.1911) under Edward Timmons (see AskART).
His foreign travels include New York City and Boston (1912 -1914), France and England (1920) and France and Italy (1935).
He exhibited in group shows with the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts from 1910 to 1949 and with the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from 1911 to 1967.  His work was also included in the Tate Gallery (London) show "A Century of Canadian Art" (1938); the New York Worlds Fair (1939); the Art Institute of Chicago (1939); “Canadian Art in Brazil” (Sao Paulo/ 1945), “Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art” at the National Gallery of Canada (1967); “Canadian Painting in the Thirties” also at the National Gallery of Canada (1975); “Landscape Painting in Quebec” at the Museum of Quebec (1978); and  “Modernism in Quebec Art, 1916 –1946” at the National Gallery of Canada (1982).
His solo exhibitions start in 1935 at the T. Eaton Company department store in Montreal. Since then the venues have included the Museum of Quebec (1944), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1954), the National Gallery of Canada (1964) and the Museum of Quebec (1976).
Depending on the source, Fortin is said to have created between 6000 and 10,000 paintings.  His works are avidly collected and are in many private and public collections.  Some of the public collections are the National gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Quebec (Quebec City), the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston) and the Montreal Museum of Modern Art.
His lifetime honours include the Jessie Dow Prize from the Montreal Museum of Fine arts (1938), the bronze medal at the New York World’s Fair (1939), election as an associate to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (1942), and one of his paintings was chosen to be presented by the Canadian government to President DeGaulle when he visited Canada in 1967.  His posthumous honours include the Marc-Aurele Fortin Museum in Montreal, which opened in 1984, and is dedicated largely to his work. In 2004 a new Canadian federal election district was created in Montreal, that includes the neighbourhood of Sainte-Rose where he was born and lived most of his life, in his honour it was named Marc-Aurele Fortin.

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke

This biography from the Archives of AskART:

He was born in Ste-Rose in 1888.  He studied at The Plateau School in Montreal with Edmond Dyonnet and completed his training at the Chicago Institute, then in New York and Boston.  His mediums are oil, watercolor, pastel charcoal, etching and copper etching.

In 1932, he started exhibiting in Canada, then in France in 1940.  He participated in many different exhibitions in Canada, in the United States, in South Africa, and in Europe.

The National Gallery of Canada did a retrospective exhibition in 1964.  He passed away in 1970.

Prizes: Jessie Dow Prize in 1938, Bronze Medal at the World Exhibition of New York in 1939, RCA en 1942, 1st prize of the Québec Government in 1945,  Painting offered as a gift to the General De Gaulle in 1960.

 Galerie d'Art du Château Frontenac

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