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LOT 412

1905 - 1960

Refus global and Projections libérantes
limited edition books
8 5/8 x 7 3/8 in, 21.9 x 18.7 cm

a ) Refus global

editioned 76/400
8 5/8 x 7 3/8 in, 21.9 x 18.7 cm

b ) Projections libérantes

initialed and inscribed "à mon vieil ami Bernard, pour sa tête dure et son tendre cœur!"
7 1/2 x 5 1/4 in, 19.1 x 13.3 cm

Estimate: $10,000 - $12,000 CAD

Sold for: $8,800

Preview at: Heffel Montreal

A Gift from the Artist to Bernard A. Bernard, Montreal
By descent to the present Private Collection, Montreal

The year 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the Refus global manifesto, published on August 9, 1948, by Éditions Mithra-Mythe and released at Librairie Tranquille in Montreal. Written by Paul-Émile Borduas, Refus global—which translates into English as “total refusal”—is a landmark text in Quebec’s history, signalling an important cultural shift in the province that culminated with the Quiet Revolution. The text challenged the establishment and traditional values in Quebec; it was, in Roald Nasgaard’s words, “a passionate attack on all the repressive social, political, historical and religious forces that had shaped the Quebecois people…” [1] In addition to being the driving force behind the Automatist movement, it is now regarded as a milestone in the modernization of “la belle province,” exposing it to the cosmopolitan ideas of the post-war era.

The book was printed in an edition of 400 copies and includes the eponymous manifesto, two essays on language and Surrealism by Borduas, three short plays by Claude Gauvreau, an essay on dance by Françoise Sullivan, Bruno Cormier’s text on pictorial art, a poem by Fernand Leduc and photographs by Maurice Perron. The book was co-signed by 15 other artists: Madeleine Arbour (designer), Marcel Barbeau, Bruno Cormier (psychiatrist), Marcelle Ferron, Claude Gauvreau, Pierre Gauvreau, Muriel Guilbault (actor), Fernand Leduc, Jean-Paul Mousseau, Maurice Perron (photographer), Louise Renaud (lighting designer), Thérèse Renaud (poet), Françoise Riopelle (dancer and choreographer), Jean Paul Riopelle—who painted the cover art—and Françoise Sullivan.

Projections libérantes, dated 1949, was written by Borduas and published by Mithra-Mythe. It was published in an edition of 1000 copies on Velin paper. This is a rare occasion to acquire two limited-edition books of major cultural significance in the history of Quebec.

1. Roald Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada (Halifax: Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, in assoc. With Douglas & McIntyre, 2007), 83.

All prices are in Canadian Dollars

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