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 Jacques Hurtubise  (1939 - )

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Lived/Active: Nova Scotia/Quebec / Canada      Known for: Abstract painting, printing, murals, teaching

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Jacques Hurtubise ARCA (1939)

An important Canadian painter, printmaker, muralist and educator, Jacques Hurtubise was born Montreal, Quebec and has been living in Margaree Harbour, Nova Scotia since 1983. His work is discussed in most comprehensive Canadian art history books, it’s been included in many landmark exhibitions, and it’s collected by just about every major Canadian art museum.

His mediums are acrylics, oils, enamel, gouache*, pastel, ink, charcoal, collage, serigraph*, lithograph*, fluorescent tubes, fluorescent paint, and mixed mediums. Virtually all of his work is abstract, the subjects being primarily shape, color and texture. His styles include Abstract Expressionism*, Geometric Abstraction*, Op Art*, Neo Plasticism*, Hard Edge Painting* and Constructivism*. AskART has some good illustrations of his oeuvre.

Hurtubise’s formal art education includes graduation from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Montreal (1956 – 1960), where he studied under Albert Dumouchel, Jacques de Tonnancour, Jean Simard (1916) and Suzanne Rivard Le Moyne (1928 – 2012). He was subsequently awarded the Max Beckman scholarship to study in New York, where he spent a year (1960 – 1961). (1)

Hurtubise taught high school in Montreal from 1961 to 1965; was an artist in residence for the winter term at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire in 1967; and taught at the University of Ottawa, Ontario from 1975 to 1978.

His travels include multiple trips to New York City (a frequently referred to important influence on his art) starting in 1961; France (1980); a two year trip by car through the United States, Mexico and Canada (c.1981 – 1983); and China (c.1986).

He was elected an Associate of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts* in 1970 and exhibited with them in 1968, 1970, 1971, and 1976. He also exhibited in the Spring Shows of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from 1958 to 1965; and, since it’s opening in 1965, his works have been included in at least fifty group exhibitions at the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, in shows such as “La Guilde Graphique” (1966); "Panorama of Painting in Quebec: 1940 – 1955" (1967); "Panorama of Painting in Quebec: 1955 – 1966" (1967); “Printmakers of Quebec” (1974); “Quebec Painters 1960 – 1970 ” (1973); “The Arts of Quebec” (1974); “Three Decades of Quebec Art: 1940s, 1950s, 1960s” (1976); “Ewen, Gagnon, Gaucher, Hurtubise, McEwen” (1988); “The Lavalin Collection” (1994); “Art and Society: Québec of the 1960s and 1970s” (1999); “Symmetry and Asymmetry” (2000); “Make Way for Magic! The 40s, 50s and 60s in Quebec” (2002 and 2006); and “Glass, Under Glass... and Without Glass” (2010).

His work was in two Biennials of Canadian Painting at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1963 and 1965); he was chosen to represent Canada three times at the Sao Paulo Art Biennial* (1965, 1967 and 1969); and three of his works were in the Canadian centennial exhibition "Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art" at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (1967). His work was also included in Time Canada’s 1975 – 1976 touring exhibition “The Canadian Canvas”, which visited the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Edmonton Art Gallery (Alberta), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Alberta College of Art (Calgary), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba).

He was also featured in “Nine Canadians”, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Massachusetts (1967); “Seven Montreal Artists”, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge and the Washington Gallery of Modern Art, Washington, D.C. (1968); “Canada 68”, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto (1968); “Canada 101”, Edinburgh Festival, Scotland (1968); “Canadian Art Today”, Museum of Modern Art, Paris, France (1968); “200 Years of Painting in Quebec”, McGill University, Montreal (1971); “Spectrum Canada”, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1976); Birmingham Festival of the Arts, Alabama (1979); “Canadian Art in Britain: Contemporary Works from Collections in Britain”, Canada House Gallery, London (1982); "Art of the Sixties - In Dazzling Colour!", University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta (1997); “20th Century Prints”, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Halifax (2004); "The Sixties in Canada", National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa (2005); “Big Bangs: Abstraction in Canada”, University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Lethbridge, Alberta (2008); and in “Abstract Painting in Canada”, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax (2008). (2)

Hurtubise’s first public venue one man show was at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1961. Since then, he’s been the subject of one man shows at the Quebec Museum of Fine Arts, Quebec City (1972); Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (1973 and 1981); Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris (1981); Canada House, London, England (1981); Vancouver Art Gallery, B.C. (1981); California State University, Long Beach (1981); Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax (1982); and again at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1998.

Recently, “Jacques Hurtubise” a major exhibition, accompanied by a 208 page color catalogue with several essays, was presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (2011) and at the Joliette Art Museum (2012).

Over the last fifty years, his works have also frequently been included in solo and group exhibitions at numerous prominent commercial galleries such as Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal; Galerie du Siècle, Montreal; Galerie Nova et Vetera, Montreal; Michel Tétreault Art Contemporain, Montreal; Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal; Galerie Joliette, Quebec City; East Hampton Gallery, New York City; Hopkins Center Art Galleries, Dartmouth College; Isaacs Gallery, Toronto; Dunkleman Gallery, Toronto; and Marlborough Godard Gallery, Toronto.

His works are in numerous private, corporate and museum collections. According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network* and individual museum websites, there are Hurtubise works in the permanent collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston, Ontario), Art Gallery of Alberta (Edmonton), Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (B.C.), Art Gallery of Hamilton (Ontario), Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Carleton University Art Gallery (Ottawa, Ontario), Confederation Centre Art Gallery & Museum (Charlottetown, P.E.I.), Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Galerie Montcalm (Gatineau, Quebec), Joliette Art Museum (Quebec), La Pulperie (Chicoutimi, Quebec), Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery (Concordia University, Montreal), Mackenzie Art Gallery (Regina, Saskatchewan), Mendel Art Gallery (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan), Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (Quebec), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Musee Laurier (Victoriaville, Quebec), Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent (Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec), Museum London (Ontario), Owens Art Gallery (Sackville, N.B.), Quebec Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec City), Robert McLaughlin Gallery (Oshawa, Ontario), Sherbrooke Museum of Fine Arts (Quebec), Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery (Owen Sound, Ontario), University of Lethbridge Art Gallery (Lethbridge, Alberta), Vancouver Art Gallery (B.C.), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Manitoba) and the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa). (2)

Examples of his murals are located at the University of Ottawa (1969); Place Radio Canada, Montreal (1972); and the Ministry of Defense, Ottawa (1972).

Among his numerous awards are the Max Beckman scholarship to study in New York City (1960); first prize in the Province of Quebec Art Competition (1965); four Canada Council* grants (1965, 1967, 1970, and 1974); the Victor-Martyn-Lynch-Staunton Prize awarded by the Canada Council* for the Arts (1993); and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas* (2000).

(1) Please note: All artists mentioned in this biography and its footnotes, except those with life-dates after their name, have their own pages in AskART.

(2) The “Nine Canadians” were Marcel Barbeau, Jack Bush, Yves Gaucher, Jacques Hurtubise, Les Levine, John Meredith, Guido Molinari, Robert Gray Murray and Claude Tousignant. The “Seven Montreal Artists” were Marcel Barbeau, Jean Goguen, Jacques Hutubise, Denis Juneau, Roy Kiyooka, Guido Molinari and Claude Tousignant. Source: “Art and Architecture in Canada” (see AskART book references).

(3) According to the Canadian Heritage Information Network*, there are at least 488 Hurtubise works in Canadian museums; the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Halifax) has by far the largest collection with 166, the next largest collection is the Quebec Museum of Fine Arts’ with 48, the National Gallery of Canada has six.

Painters Eleven: The Wild Ones of Canadian Art (2010), by Iris Nowell (see AskART book references)

Abstract Painting in Canada (2008), by Roald Nasgaard (see AskART book references)

Benezit Dictionary of Artists (2006), English version (see AskART book references)

Biographical Index of Artists in Canada (2003), by Evelyn de Rostaing McMann (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art: From its Beginnings to 2000 (2002), by Anne Newlands (see AskART book references)

Who's Who in American Art, 2001 – 2002 24th edition (2001), edited by Donald Bunton (see AskART book references)

The Collector's Dictionary of Canadian Artists at Auction (2001), by Anthony R. Westbridge and Diana L. Bodnar (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Canadian Artists (1997), edited by Robert Lang (see AskART book references)

Art and Architecture in Canada (1991), by Loren R. Lerner and Mary F. Williamson (see AskART book references)

Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa: Canadian Art Volume Two G – K (1988), general editors Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry (see AskART book references)

The Canadian Encyclopedia (1985), edited by James H. Marsh (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Canadian Art (1983), by David Burnett and Marilyn Schiff (see AskART book references)

Visions – Contemporary Art in Canada (1983), edited by Robert Bringhurst, et al. (see AskART book references)

Who's Who in American Art 15th Edition (1982), by Jaques Cattell Press (see AskART book references)

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

Passionate Spirits: A History of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, 1880 – 1980 (1980), by Rebecca Sisler (see AskART book references)

Contemporary Artists (1977), edited by Colin Naylor and Genesis P-Orridge (see AskART book references)

A Concise History of Canadian Painting (1973), by Dennis Reid (see AskART book references)

Four Decades: The Canadian Group of Painters and their contemporaries – 1930 - 1970 (1972), by Paul Duval (see AskART book references)

Creative Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth Century Creative and Performing Arts (1972), by Helen M. Rodney (see AskART book references)

A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume Two, G – Jackson (1970), by Colin S. MacDonald (see AskART book references)

Art Gallery of Ontario – The Canadian Collection (1970), by Helen Pepall Bradfield (see AskART book references)

Canadian Art Today (1970), by William Townsend (see AskART book references)

Three Hundred Years of Canadian Art (1967), by R.H. Hubbard and J.R. Ostiguy (see AskART book references)

Canadian Heritage Information Network* (biographical information and museums)

National Gallery of Canada (library and exhibitions records)

Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art* (biography, illustrations)

Art Gallery of Ontario (exhibition and book summaries online)

Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art (exhibition summaries online)

Prix du Quebec (Biography and Borduas award)

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

Prepared and contributed by M.D. Silverbrooke.

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at
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