The Montreal Canadiens’ mythic number 10, Guy “The Flower” Lafleur, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1988. Like many of the Tricolore’s star players, Lafleur enjoys a special place in Serge Lemoyne’s Bleu, Blanc, Rouge series (1969-79), which he painted in the 1970s, an illustrious period for the team when it was building its Stanley Cup dynasty. Lemoyne appropriated this phenomenon into his work, and his emblematic series borrows from several aesthetic styles, from Pop Art to the Automatistes, by way of the Plasticiens and the New York School. The figure of the hockey player, reduced here to his essence, served as a springboard for Lemoyne’s pictorial concerns, as he sought to inscribe art upon the popular culture.
Le no 10, Lafleur (1975) is the standout of this series thanks to its large‑scale, perfectly composed red jersey, blue shorts, and white bands—the eye is easily led from one colour to the next. In fact, the painting’s chromatic play uncompromisingly invests its every angle and plane, directing and re‑engaging the gaze with character and finesse. The contrast between its flat areas and drips adds to this prestigious work a distinctive touch, executed with a virtuosity comparable to that of the idol he depicts. An opposite, or inverted, version of the same subject, titled Lafleur Stardust (1975, collection Loto‑Québec), features Guy Lafleur’s white jersey. By virtue of its greater dimensions, any figurative references between the two works are jumbled, a judicious effect the artist would later revisit in several silkscreen prints from 1978.
The famous right‑winger’s pose accounts in part for the compositional decisions in no 10, Lafleur, which in many ways resembles no 4, Béliveau. Reflecting the artist’s formal concerns more than a desire for realism, the player’s stooped position, left arm slightly bent, suggests an imminent face‑off, a moment of peak tension. We easily imagine what follows: the referee’s piercing whistle, the clash of sticks above the puck, and the crowd’s jubilant roar filling the stadium: “Guy! Guy! Guy!” Lemoyne’s genius resides in his positioning of the action just beyond the frame, at once underscoring the significance of his motif and, consequently, the plasticity of this striking work.
Canonical, essential, and much coveted, this work is certain to draw the seasoned collector’s eye.