Situated within the same chromatic lineage as Vol nuptial (1966), which is part of the collection of the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, this painting, titled Lux (1967), is a superb standout from other works of this period, as much for the irrepressible force of its composition as for its spectacular use of impasto. Spattering, glazing, stamping, scraping, and rubbing are among the many pictorial approaches used in this dramatic work, which draws liberally upon both Surrealism and the Automatistes, as well as the artist’s own tireless imagination. As Guy Robert writes: “Paintings such as Lux or Pour L. present us with ‘places’ that stem directly from Bellefleur’s imagination, his personal, inner pictorial spaces, [. . .] this ‘interior place’ whose heights and abysses Henri Michaux knew all too well” (translation ours).
Lux bears signs marking it as a precursor to the series Volets du Temps (1977-78)—such as its orthogonal construction—and to the series Des Rêves et du Hasard (1987-88)—with its resolutely centered subjects. This work was part of a retrospective presented by the National Gallery of Canada in 1968, an exhibition that revived and consecrated the artist’s career. It is worth noting that Bellefleur had signed onto Alfred Pellan’s 1948 Prisme d’yeux manifesto, and would later become the first recipient of the Prix Paul‑Émile‑Borduas, in 1977.