This abstract painting shows rectangular blocks of different sizes assembled together. The large forms are painted in dark, predominantly blue-green tones, while the small ones create a contrast in lighter shades of orange and pink.

Fernand Leduc

(Montréal 1916 – Montréal 2014)


Porte d’Orient

[Gate to the Orient]


Oil on canvas

75 x 91.2 cm

Purchased in 1979

Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, A 79 24 P 1

© Estate of Fernand Leduc / SODRAC (2018)

Photo: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal

Porte d’orient [Gate to the Orient] is composed of juxtaposed rectangular areas of flat colour. The brushstrokes echo the tensions between the verticals and horizontals that lend the work dynamic energy. The colour contrasts and imprecise treatment of outlines make the compositional elements seem to vibrate and give the painting a certain depth. As the viewer’s gaze moves around the canvas, the forms advance and recede. This work represents a turning point for Fernand Leduc and for Quebec painting in general, marking the transition from gestural abstraction toward a geometric treatment.

Fernand Leduc was a Quebec painter whose prolific career spanned several abstract painting movements. While his early works are marked by the expressive gestures typical of the Automatistes, his explorations of geometric forms from the mid-1950s place him among the Plasticiens. The Plasticiens’ orderly compositions and sharply defined simplified forms constituted a break from Automatisme and significantly influenced contemporary painting not only in Quebec but across Canada. Leduc explored light throughout his career, from the early gestural experiments to the large monochrome canvases of his later years.


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Claude Tousignant is one of the foremost practitioners of abstract painting in Canada. He and Guido Molinari led the second wave of Plasticiens, whose radical works from the 1960s generated powerful sensory experiences through the use of pure colours and strict geometry. Tousignant’s famous circular paintings, which brought him international acclaim, use circles within circles to explore the dynamic effect of colour. In Transformateur chromatique [Chromatic Transformer], he creates an optical illusion of motion by juxtaposing different-coloured concentric rings. For the viewer, the visual vibration of the rings on the canvas produces a hypnotic effect.  

Claude Tousignant

(b. Montréal 1932)


Transformateur chromatique

[Chromatic Transformer]


Liquitex on canvas

260 cm of diameter

Purchased in memory of Mr. Pearce L. S. Lettner with the assistance of the Canada Council of the Arts, 1978

Art Gallery of Windsor, 1978.003

© Claude Tousignant