Alfred Pellan was born in Quebec City in 1906. In 1920, he studied at the École des beaux-arts de Québec. The province’s first recipient of a painting grant, he left for Paris six years later. Pellan continued his studies at the École supérieure nationale des beaux-arts de Paris, where he received the first prize for painting in 1928. He lived in Paris until 1940, working at the academies in Grande-Chaumière, Colarossi, and Ranson. Pellan left France to escape the war and returned to Canada, where he taught painting at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1943 to 1952. Amongst the numerous prizes and distinctions he received over the course of his prolific career, the most notable are a first place in Paris’s first major mural exhibition (1935), the first prize in painting at the 65th annual spring exhibition at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal (1948), the Royal Society of Canada Prize (1952-53), the prize for Best Mural for Montreal’s City Centre Building (1957), and an honorary doctorate from the University of Ottawa (1969). Pellan died in Montreal on October 30, 1988.