This gouache by Fernand Leduc is from a series of works created during his trips to the Ile de Ré, in Charente (France), between 1950 and 1952. These sojourns proved decisive for the painter; it was there that he discovered a new kind of luminosity the transparency and transitional effects of which he strove to capture in his work. His pictorial explorations around verticality, horizontality, and the oblique line gradually led him toward more orthogonal compositions. Gestural automatism would give way to an assemblage of stains and marks structured by the clear, dynamic relationships among coloured planes. This is an essential work from a series that marks the artist’s commitment to pictorial themes that became the driving forces of his practice.
Leduc was born in 1916 in Viauville, Quebec. He joined the Automatistes while still a student at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, but toward the mid-1950s, his pictorial explorations brought him closer to the Plasticiens movement. His work has been the subject of many retrospectives since the 1970s. The Musée des beaux-arts de Chartres and the Musée du Nouveau Monde de La Rochelle organized a retrospective of his work in 1985, which would later be presented in Canada. Leduc was awarded the Prix Louis-Philippe Hébert in 1979, the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1988, and the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2007. After living for many years in Paris and in Italy, in 2006 Leduc returned to Montreal, where he remained until his death in 2014.