Fernand Leduc’s Sans titre (1965) falls into a period marked largely by binary and tertiary compositions in which masses and lines, guided by strong contrasts, allow for a multiplicity of readings between form and background. “From 1965 to 1969, [Leduc’s] production struck a balance between organic, interlocking, interpenetrating forms and subtle constructions of shocks, tensions, vibrant colors,” writes art critic René Viau (“Fernand Leduc: Parcours et lieux de lumière,” Vie des arts, vol. 32, no. 129 [December-Winter 1987]). The distinctive writing and kinetic effects set the mood for this daring composition, in which orangey reds, cobalt blue, and pitch black perform a delicate yet high-tension choreography.
Fernand Leduc was born in Viauville, Quebec, in 1916. He joined the Automatists while still a student at the Montreal School of Fine Arts, but in 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 tour 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. In 2006, after living for many years in Paris and Italy, Leduc returned to Montreal, where he remained until his death in 2014.