PAUL-EMILE BORDUAS (FRENCH-CANADIAN, 1905-1960)
Cry of the Little Frogs
Oil on canvas, signed and dated 1953. Heavy impasto abstract palette knife composition. Extant Passedoit Gallery label to verso with handwritten notation. Stamp to canvas reading "Artist Materials C.R. Crowley 1387 St. Catherine St. W. Montreal 25, Que."
Provenance: The Artist
Passedoit Gallery 1954
N. McCullough Winters, Quincy, IL
John M. Winters, Quincy, IL by descent (his father) 1975
Susan W. Caine, St. Louis, MO by descent (her uncle) 2011
Private Collection, by descent 2020
Bibliography: 3 Canadian Painters, Including Roloff Beny Of Lethbridge, Have One-Man Shows in NY ", The Herald (Lethbridge, Alberta), January 6, 1954. GAGNON, Guy," New-York welcomes Borduas, the painter from St-Hilaire ", Le Clairon (St-Hyacinthe), January 8, 1954, p.8. GAGNON, François-Marc, Paul-Émile Borduas (1905 - 1960). Critical biography and analysis of the work, Fides, Montreal, 1978, p. 323, 490, 530. GAGNON, François-Marc, Paul-Émile Borduas A Critical Biography, McGill-Queen's University, Montreal & Kingston, 2013, p. 304.
Observation: "List of paintings from Provincetown, 1953", No. 24, T. 239.
Exhibitions: Passedoit Gallery, New York 1954, solo exhibition "Paul-Émile Borduas", January 5-23, no. 18 on the list.
Literature: "Borduas won his case against the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was finally able to move to the United States, initially to Provincetown, Mass., where he spent the summer of 1953 painting at the seaside. He may have met Hans Hofmann at this time, since the German painter gave summer courses in this Cape Cod town, where there was an artists’ colony. In the fall Borduas settled in New York, and he remained there until September 1955. With the support of several Quebec collectors (notably Gérard Lortie) and two New York galleries (the Passedoit Gallery and the Martha Jackson Gallery), he was able to rent a large studio in Greenwich Village. This period was extremely important for the development of his art and career. The title he gave to a canvas painted in 1953, Les signes s’envolent, seems to convey what was going on in his painting, as objects disintegrate (thus “signs” disappear) and the background moves closer to the surface of the painting. From then on, Borduas used only a palette-knife to apply the paint, a technique that gave greater materiality to his work. His first New York exhibition was held at the Passedoit Gallery from 5 to 23 Jan. 1954, and attracted favourable notices. On 6 February Rodolphe de Repentigny, a critic who had come to New York for the occasion, reported in the Montreal paper L’Autorité du peuple that the American painter Robert Motherwell, who was present at the vernissage, had exclaimed: “He’s the Courbet of the 20th century!” However, the Passedoit, which, prior to Borduas, had never exhibited non-figurative painting, was not a very prestigious gallery. Fortunately, his work would be taken up by the Martha Jackson Gallery in exhibitions organized after he had left North America (18 March–6 April 1957 and 24 March–18 April 1959). While in New York, Borduas had realized that, although he could claim to have been inspired by Surrealism, especially its concept of an art originating in the unconscious, the abstract expressionism practiced by Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline, or Mark Rothko – artists whom he could meet at the Cedar Bar – was going much further in this direction than the automatism of the Montreal group in the period when he was their leader."
Credit: François-Marc Gagnon, “BORDUAS, PAUL-ÉMILE (baptized Paul-Émile-Charles),” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 18, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed April 15, 2021, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/borduas_paul_emile_18E.html. 16" height, 19.5" width; frame: 23" height, 26.5" width