CC QMG RCA
1904 - 1990
La course de chiens / The Dog Race
oil on canvas
signed and dated 1957 and on verso titled on the gallery label
12 1/8 x 57 3/8 in, 30.8 x 145.7 cm
Estimate: $125,000 - $175,000
Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal
Canadian Fine Arts, Toronto
Private Collection, Montreal
John Porter and Pierre Théberge, Homage to Jean Paul Lemieux, National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2004, reproduced pages 18 - 19 and listed page 117
Fine Arts Gallery of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Jean Paul Lemieux: One-Man Show, June 23 - July 18, 1958
Galerie Denyse Delrue, Montreal, Jean Paul Lemieux, March 17 - 29, 1959
National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Homage to Jean Paul Lemieux, October 22, 2004 - January 2, 2005, traveling to the Musée national des beaux arts du Québec, Quebec City, February 3 - April 24, 2005, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, June 4 - September 5, 2005, catalogue #18
The Canadian winter inspired Jean Paul Lemieux to create his most stripped-down landscapes. Someone looking at this work without knowing its title would first see in it a surface suggesting two long horizontal fields, the larger and lighter of which is crossed by three thin, dark tracks. On closer observation, one would succeed in making out a likeness. At the rightmost edge of each track, in a hint of line and colour, emerges a tiny figure with upraised arm - it is the musher driving his team of dogs.
In 1957, a year after Lemieux’s style underwent the great reductionist turning point that would define his mature body of work, when the artist pushed his exploration of representation to its very limits. La course de chiens is a good example of this, in which the artist emphasized the tones, luminosities and textures of winter on a canvas with a long horizontal format. The qualities of the surface are charged with the “space-time” dimension that preoccupied the painter. Thus, the passage of the speeding dogsled from right to left across the pictorial field reinforces the image of the vastness of the country’s snowy plains. In the eyes of the viewer who scans the surface offered by the painter, the race of the dogs is also the race of time.
La course de chiens was included in Lemieux’s first two individual exhibitions outside of Quebec City, in Vancouver and Montreal, in 1958 and 1959. The work did not make a public reappearance until 2004, at the time of the exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Canada and Musée national des beaux arts du Québec on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth.
We thank Michèle Grandbois, author of Jean Paul Lemieux au Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, for contributing the above essay. This work will be included in Grandbois’s forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work.
All prices are in Canadian Dollars
Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business.