Clarence Gagnon was born in Sainte-Rose in 1881. He studied painting in Montréal under William Brymmer and Edmond Dyonnet, among others, before relocating to Paris to study under Jean-Paul Laurens at the Académie Julian, thanks to the patronage of James Morgan, a businessman and collector who quickly developed an interest in Gagnon’s early rural-themed paintings. Gagnon is also known for his illustrations for the novels Le grand silence blanc by Louis-Frédéric Rouquette (1928 edition), and Maria Chapdelaine by Louis Hémon (1933). He was made a member of the Royal Society of Canada in 1921, and of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1922. In 1938, he received an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal. Clarence Gagnon died in Montréal in 1942, at the age of 61.