The black silhouettes of three men occupy the foreground of a large horizontal composition. A white building and an orangey sky are in the background. One figure stands at the left while the other two are at the right, leaving the centre empty. 

Jean Paul Lemieux

(Québec City 1904 – Québec City 1990)

 

Charlottetown revisitée

[Charlottetown Revisited]

1964

Oil on canvas

197.2 x 380.4 cm

Commissioned with funds from Samuel and Saidye Bronfman, 1964

Confederation Centre of the Arts, CAG 64.27

© Estate of Jean Paul Lemieux. Photo: Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Museum


From the distance of a century, Jean Paul Lemieux’s Charlottetown revisitée [Charlottetown Revisited] evokes the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that laid the groundwork for the British North America Act. Three unidentifiable figures stand silhouetted against an immense orange-hued sky; between them appears the neoclassical architecture of Province House, where the meeting took place. The severe simplicity of the three tall, black-clad figures is a far cry from the usual group portrait celebrating the birth of a nation.


Although Charlottetown revisitée dates to 1964, it fittingly represents 1864 here. This painting is a reminder that the country’s founding has been portrayed many times, in a wide variety of styles and tones. Jean Paul Lemieux marked the Quebec art scene with his paintings, his teaching at École des beaux-arts de Québec, his art criticism and his illustrations for popular novels including Maria Chapdelaine (1913), by Louis Hémon (1880-1913). The stark landscapes in horizontal compositions that he began producing in the mid-1950s became hallmarks of his art.

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