Sans titre (c. 1960) is one of several oil paintings made by Marcelle Ferron during her time in Paris, between 1953 and 1956, an especially fruitful and pivotal period during which she produced some of her most accomplished work. This small canvas is energized by palette-knife strokes that highlight the transversal colour planes. The composition takes shape through graceful, ample gestures, which become more complex in the artist’s larger paintings of the same period. This work comes from the personal collection of sculptor Yves Trudeau.
Ferron, the young artist from Louiseville whom author Louise Vigneault deemed “part artist, part warrior,” occupied an enviable place within the Automatistes movement, and in 1948 added her voice to the Refus global manifesto. In so doing, Ferron cemented her place in the lineage of women painters, along with Joan Mitchell and Lee Krasner, who defied the patriarchal world of abstract painting, and positioned herself as a key figure emblematic of modernity in Quebec. In 1961, Ferron won the silver medal at the São Paulo Biennale. In 1972, she was appointed a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and in 1983 she received the prestigious prix Paul‑Émile‑Borduas. Over the course of her career, Ferron took part in several important group exhibitions in Canada and abroad, and the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal has honoured her work with two retrospectives: Marcelle Ferron from 1945 to 1970, in 1970, and again in 2000 with Marcelle Ferron, a Retrospective 1945‑1997.