Ulysse Comtois, born in Granby in 1931, studied at the Montreal School of Fine Arts. He took part in two Automatist exhibitions, La matière chante (1954) and Espace 55 (1955). He was awarded the Prix de la Province du Québec in 1964, and he and Guido Molinari represented Canada at the Venice Biennale in 1968. He was the recipient of the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas in 1978 and the Prix Louis-Philippe-Hébert in 1991. The retrospective exhibition Ulysse Comtois 1952–1982 was presented at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 1983. Comtois taught visual arts at both the Université du Québec à Montréal and Concordia University. He died in Montreal in 1999. Two years later, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec presented Dessins inédits (unpublished drawings).
For its workmanship, dimensions, and tonality, the fine oil painting Matériel, dated 1952, falls in line with the work of post-Automatists of his generation, among them Jean McEwen, Paterson Ewen, and Rita Letendre, painters with whom Comtois shared pictorial affinities, before devoting himself mainly to sculpture in the 1960s.