Seeking the light


The abstract expressionist painter Fernand Leduc passed away in Montréal on January 28, 2014. His death was a great loss for the artistic community.

From this early book illuminations up to his recent microchromatic works, Leduc never stopped seeking the light. He once said that, as an artist, he stood in the Impressionist tradition as a “painter of light”.

Born in Viauville in 1916, he entered the École des beaux-arts in 1938. After graduation in 1943, he sought to break free entirely from the conformism and academicism of the era. He was one of the Automatists in their early years; and in 1948, he signed the famous Refus global manifesto, a profound break with the traditions of Québec art and society. He moved to France, and exhibited his work at the Salon des Surindépendants (1947) and the Salon de Mai (1952).

Founding president of the Association des artistes non-figuratifs de Montréal, he moved gradually towards abstraction, towards the qualities of total light. Many exhibitions devoted to his work were held in North America and Europe. A pioneer of Canadian contemporary and avant-garde art, he won several prestigious awards over his lifetime, including the Prix Paul-Émile Borduas in 1988, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Québec for visual arts.

Fernand Leduc demonstrated for future generations the path of inner beauty and the highest level of artistic excellence.