BORDUAS, Paul-Émile (1905-1960)

Paul-Emile Borduas, États-Unis, 1951. Bois, 29 x 6 x 10 cm. Photo : avec l’aimaible autorisation du Musée des beaux-arts du Canada.

From 1920 to 1927, Paul-Émile Borduas frequented the studio of Ozias Leduc before becoming the painter’s assistant in the decoration of churches. He took night courses at the École des arts et métiers de Sherbrooke in 1922-1923 and at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal between 1923 and 1927. Upon returning to Mont-Saint-Hilaire, he produced ten or so wooden sculptures that he exhibited in 1951; made using the method of direct carving, these small pieces (between 20 and 50 cm) are abstract but can be read as figurative, given their erotically suggestive forms (phallus and breasts). According to François-Marc Gagnon, the titles Borduas chose – France, Canada, Japon, États-Unis, Égypte, Russie, Afrique, Angleterre, Grèce (France, Canada, Japan, United States, Egypt, Russia, Africa, England, Greece) – reflect the artist’s thoughts of exile at the time, while his motivations concerned the status of the object and the issue if its autonomy.

« Borduas : Sculpteur » by François-Marc Gagnon, ESPACE, vol. 4 #4, p. 6.