Léon Bellefleur (1910-2007)

We buy and sell paintings by Léon Bellefleur.  For inquiries, please contact us.

Born in Montreal, Quebec. By the age of ten he was painting landscapes on cardboard cut from cartons obtained from the corner grocery store. By the age of twelve he had decided to become a painter, but his family and friends advised him that if he became a full-time artist he would be impoverished for most of his life. Bellefleur therefore continued his general education and considered teaching to earn a living, so that he would be able to work at his art for over two months of the year. After completing his secondary education he received his teaching certificate from the Jacque Cartier Normal School, Montreal. He then taught in schools of the French Catholic School Commission system for the next twenty-five years (1929-54). Evenings he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts (1929-36). In 1942 he met Alfred Pellan and began to frequent his studio where he met Albert Dumouchel, Jacques de Tonnancour, Louis Archambault, Jean Benoit, Mimi Parent, Jeanne Rhéaume, Goodridge Roberts and others. In 1948 he signed the manifesto of this group of artists drafted by de Tonnancour under the name of Prisme d'Yeux. Meeting Pellan was an important part of his life. He was also interested in Paul-Emile Borduas' group the Automatistes and both of these groups were influenced by the Surrealist movement which included Paul Klee, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dali. He was especially interested in the art of Paul Klee and children's art. In 1947 wrote an article entitled Plaidoyer pour l'Enfant for the magazine Ateliers d'Arts Graphiques. In 1954 he retired from teaching and travelled and lived in France for ten years. There he learned engraving skills under John Friedlander in Paris for etching (1954-55) and was awarded a Canada Council Fellowship to study lithography at the Ateliers Desjaubert (1958-59). During this same period he spent some time in Provence. He returned to Canada with his wife in 1966. He had exhibited his work over the years with many of the groups to which he belonged: CAS (1943-48); SCGA (1955-58); CGP (1955); AANFM (Non-Figurative Artists Association of Montreal) of which he was a found­ing member (1956-). The Toronto art critic Paul Duval in his book Four Decades, (history of the Canadian Group of Painters) noted that while Bellefleur bridged the differences between Pellan and Borduas, he was . . . strong enough to issue from both as very much his own master. He must now be ranked among the foremost Canadian painters of his genera­tion. Ottawa critic, Carl Weiselberger in 1967 described his oil paintings as follows, . . .to enjoy this exhibition, one must study the details, the tex­tural subtleties, the careful, highly artistic method with which Bellefleur has applied his pigments, plastic and yet never heavy, luminous and of that radi­ant 'joie de vivre', which is so characteristic of the French School from Watteau, Renoir to Matisse. Bellefleur's paintings, for all their linear and coloristic exuberance, are impeccably organized, now in strict horizontal and vertical lines, now whirling in round, rhythmic patterns across the can­vas. His solo shows include: MMFA, Mtl. (1950) (1954); Gal. Agnès Lefort, Mtl. (1951) (1955); Galerie L'Actuelle, Mtl. (1955); Gal. Denyse Delrue (1957) (1958) (1960); Gal. Dresdnère, Mtl. (1961) (1962); Gal. Here & Now, Tor. (1961); Gal. du Siècle, Mtl. (1964) (1966); Gal. Connaître, Paris (1965); Roberts Gal., Tor. (1966) (1968) (1971); Gal. l'Atelier, Que. City (1966); Blue Barn Gal., Bell's Corners, Nepean, Ont. (1967); Lond. Art Mus., Ont. (1968); NGC, Ott. (1968); Mus. d'Art Contemporain, Mtl. (1969); Gal. Damkjar, Ham., Ont. (1972) (1975); Upper Street Gal. Lond. (1973); Downstairs Gal., Edn., Alta. (1974); Gal. les Deux B., Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu (1975) (1977); Gal. Intl., Ribe, Denmark (1975); Gal. Walter Klinkhoff, Mtl. (1977) and others. His awards include: Jessie Dow Prize, MMFA Spring Show (1951); Hon. Men. Drawing, 2nd Biennial Ex. Can. Art (1957); 2nd Prize, Commonwealth Exhibition, Van. (1957); Paul Emile Borduas Prize (1977). Represented in the following collections: NGC, Ott.; CCAB, Ott.; AGO, Tor.; HAG, Ham., Ont.; Musée des Beaux-Arts, Mtl.; Musée d'Art Contemp., Mtl.; Musée du Québec, Q. City; Tel-Aviv Museum, Israël, elsewhere, and many private collections.

Colin S. MacDonald


A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker.  National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada.

 

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff - Expert in Canadian art specializing in the purchase  sale of artwork by Leon Bellefleur and other important Canadian artists.

Léon Bellefleur (1910-2007)

"Félines", 1982

Oil on canvas 18" x 14"  (SOLD)

Galerie Eric Klinkhoff - Expert in Canadian art specializing in the purchase  sale of artwork by Leon Bellefleur and other important Canadian artists.

Léon Bellefleur (1910-2007)

"Festival", 1970

Oil on canvas 15" x 13"  (SOLD)