LOT 209

1904 - 1990

Rêverie dans le jardin
oil on board
signed and on verso titled, dated 1955 and inscribed "Menton, France" and “à Romain Boudreault, Pour services rendus, Ce cadeau avec mes remerciements, Jean Paul Lemieux, avril 1971”
18 x 15 in, 45.7 x 38.1 cm

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

Sold for: $31,250

Preview at: Heffel Toronto – 13 Hazelton Ave

A gift from the Artist to Romain Boudreault, April 1971
Galerie Claude Lafitte, Montreal
The Joan Stewart Clarke Collection, Vancouver

Marie Carani, Jean Paul Riopelle, Musée du Québec, 1992, pages 111 and 112

Galerie L'Atelier, Quebec City, Côte d'Azur, March 1 - 14, 1956, catalogue #22

Jean Paul Lemieux had been teaching for 20 years when, from September 1954 to September 1955, he went on leave from the École des beaux-arts de Québec, in Quebec City. He was financially supported by a scholarship from the Royal Society of Canada, which allowed him to spend most of this sabbatical in France with his wife and daughter Anne. The Lemieux family first went to Paris in fall of 1954 and then traveled to Cannes in November. Farther east on the Riviera, they stayed in Menton, a charming town overlooking a beautiful bay in the Mediterranean. While in Menton from December 1954 to April 1955, Lemieux produced a body of work in watercolours and oils.

When he went to France, Lemieux was a painter still in search of himself - he was examining “his idea of the structures of painting, in the light of Cézanne, the Post-Impressionists and the recent spareness of his own methods,” as Marie Carani noted. Lemieux was well aware of the painters who had worked in the area, such as Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse - even stating that while in the South of France, he worked in their shadow - as he rethought pictorial space and developed his new vision in the sun-drenched and colour-soaked atmosphere.

As it had for other artists, the Côte d’Azur cast its enchanting spell, and there Lemieux produced works of luminous sensuality, such as Rêverie dans le jardin. As Claude Picher commented, Lemieux’s paintings of the region opened out on “an enchanted world, which seems to belong to the realm of dreams,” and the viewer has a sense of that here.

The woman sits in contemplation, surrounded by luxuriant vegetation that leads to a view of a triangle of ocean and an azure sky. Her pose is natural and relaxed, as she leans on the tabletop, tipped up in the style of Cézanne to display the vase of lush flowers. The colour palette of cool green and blue is warmed by her golden dress, the caramel brown of the branch to the left, and the pink and orange tones of the floor of the patio. Lemieux’s brushwork is soft and expressionistic, conducive to the creation of the meditative atmosphere. Rêverie dans le jardin is a sensual and alluring work from Lemieux’s pivotal time on the Côte d’Azur.

Lemieux pointed out that by going abroad, an artist finds himself by breaking his customary routines and discovering hidden potentials. His trip to France was an important step in his evolution. On his return to Quebec, he declared, “I discovered a whole new country, or at least I saw it in a whole new perspective,” as he turned towards the minimalist style for which he became renowned.

This work will be included in Michèle Grandbois's forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work.

For the biography on Joan Stewart Clarke in PDF format please click here.

Estimate: $25,000 - $35,000 CAD

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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