Fernand Leduc painted his Passages, Passages-érosions, and Érosions series between 1967 and 1969 at his studio on rue Regnault, in Paris. In 1969, he represented Canada at the Festival international de la peinture in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, where he received an honourable mention. That same year, he painted Untitled, which is very much in keeping with works from the Passages series, themselves derived from binary compositions created a few years earlier. In this acrylic on canvas, two formal elements, with “supple, flexible, organic lines,” as Leduc described them, travel across the pictorial space; two hues each of blue and red are used—one lighter, one darker—like two versions of the same luminous source. The distinctive (“soft”) style and kinetic effects set the mood for this daring composition, in which reds and blues perform a delicate yet highly intense choreography. Untitled heralds the arrival of his Microchromies works, begun in 1970.
Fernand Leduc was born in Viauville, Quebec, in 1916. He joined the Automatistes 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.