LÉON BELLEFLEUR, R.C.A.
Private Collection, Toronto
Soon after Léon Bellefleur (1910-2007) retired from his position as a primary school teacher in 1954, he and his wife left for France where the couple would live until the mid-1960s. The work he made prior to this date was clearly influenced by Surrealism with its automatic techniques, and the art of the children he taught. In Paris, he knew André Breton, and incorporated the latter’s ideas of the unconscious into his artistic practice. The works he executed in Paris became increasingly suggestive and open to interpretation, as Bellefleur gradually dispensed with visual clues to their meaning.
This multi-media work, inscribed “Paris 1955,” executed early on in his sojourn abroad, may have begun as a monoprint (or automatic painting), which Bellefleur then interpreted by drawing and painting over it. The work also demonstrates the artist’s interest in texture and the quality of paint, which may have been an effect of the printmaking techniques (etching and lithography) he was leaning toward at the time.