MARC-AURÈLE FORTIN, A.R.C.A.
LE PORT, VUE DE L’ÎLE SAINTE HÉLÈNE
signed; inscribed “Le Port” and “Fortin” on the reverse
12.25 ins x 13.25 ins; 30.5 cms x 33 cms
Trépanier writes: “At the end of the 1920s, Fortin had most certainly become one of the noteworthy artists of his generation” and works such as this lot (see also Lot 21) would make Trépanier’s statement self-evident.
Grandbois concurs: “When Fortin began to devote himself to this demanding technique in the early 1920s his painting changed radically and began to explore pure colour. This is when he became the bold colourist whose work attracted attention in pubic exhibitions.”
While Fortin did not view himself as a modern painter per se – in fact, he rejected this description of himself – he had by this time developed a personal style that while representational was unconventional and devoid of academicism, if not precisely Modern. His robust colour, and subjective proportions rendered work that was both personal and original. Trépanier refers, in particular, to “the techniques used to demonstrate the obvious pre-eminence of experimentation over the desire for realism, as for example, the ‘holed’ surface effect of certain watercolours,” as evidenced by this lot.
She continues: “Fortin’s prospects of Île Sainte-Hélène illustrate this typical technique of his early experiments. He created some fifteen watercolours of the same scene on different-sized paper. The views varied according to the effect sought, but were identical in construction: trees and a winding path in the foreground, embellished with people strolling and fishing; in the middle ground, ships plying the river; and in the background port buildings and a train.”
Esther Trépanier, Marc-Aurèle Fortin (1888-1970): Retrospective Exhibition (catalogue), Walter Klinkhoff Gallery, Montreal, 2006, page 6.
Michèle Grandbois, (ed.), Marc-Aurèle Fortin: The Experience of Colour (catalogue), Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Québec, 2011, page 103, and page 104, cat. 33 for a closely related work, reproduced in colour.
Galerie de Bellefeuille, Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal
Retrospective M.A. Fortin, Galerie Walter Klinkhoff Inc., Montreal, septembre 1979, no. 15
Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Montreal, 15 May 1984, #15