Jean-Paul Jérôme co-signed along Jauran, Louis Belzile and Fernand Toupin the Manifeste des Plasticiens in February 1955. The next year, he travelled to Paris where he stayed for two years until 1958. Back in Canada, Jérôme will live in Montreal and he will keep painting until his death in 2004.
When asked about the evolution of his career, in an interview preceding his show at Musée du Bas-Saint-Laurent in 2001, Jean-Paul Jérôme said that the period of retreat at his studio in Varennes (1989–93), when his paintings became more highly contrasted and colourful, was when he found his true path; a period that in all likelihood led to the full maturation and culmination of his work.
Jérôme’s aesthetic influences came from some of the early twentieth century artistic currents such as cubism, futurism, geometrical abstraction and Russian avant-garde. However, his Parisian stay will also have a major impact on his career. During that time, he met several artists from Galerie Denise René, then considered the leading gallery of European avant-garde. Among them, Richard Mortensen and Auguste Herbin played an important role in Jérôme throughout his career.
Although the paintings of this particular surge are not widely known, they demonstrate Jérôme’s mastery of technique at a time when an eminently more personal production emerged, based on skilfully structured flat areas of contrasting colours. Untitled (1995), an acrylic on shaped canvas, is liberated, so to speak, from all plastic constraints. The four indentations intensify this sense of release, while the usual flatness of his surface endures. His relief paintings in the years that followed, however, would provide an altogether different aesthetic experience.
Jérôme absolutely deserves to be recognized as a contemporary frontrunner of the construction art movement.
Signed and dated lower right
Private collection, Montréal