ARBOUR, Léo (1912-2003)

Léo Arbour, La bénédiction du jour de l’an, [1950?]. Bois et peinture. 22 x 14,5 x 19 cm. Collection SASV / Musée des religions du monde, Nicolet.

Léo Arbour served as an apprentice first with watercolour artist Léonce Cuvilllier, then with Rodolphe Duguay from 1934 to 1936. He studied at the École du Meuble in Montreal and received a certificate in wood carving in 1939. During his studies, he was the student of Bernard Dagenais, Elzéar Soucy and Paul-Émile Borduas. He returned to the Mauricie region and taught at the Séminaire de Saint-Joseph and at the Institut technique de Trois-Rivières for fifteen years. In 1941, he set up a workshop in his native village and, from 1950 to 1975, specialized in producing sculptures of religious and historical figures. His statues can be found in several churches in the Mauricie region (he also produced a three-metre-high statue for the Church of the Assumption in Edmonton, Alberta). He created an estimated 5,000 works, the majority of which can be found in Quebec churches. One of his low reliefs, entitled La bénédiction du jour de l’An and dated 1958, is displayed in a Leningrad museum in Russia. In1976, the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste awarded him the Prix Benjamin-Sulte and in 2001, he became a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Québec.