Canadian Fine Art Auction

November 20, 2017

LOT 88

Lot 88


Lot 88 Details


oil on canvas
signed and dated ‘62
39.25 ins x 32 ins; 99.7 cms x 81.3 cms

Estimate $20,000-$30,000

Realised: $33,600
Price Includes Buyer's Premium ?

Lot Report

Additional Images

Galerie du siecle Inc., Montreal
Private Collection, Montreal


Guy Robert, Bellefleur: The Fervour of the Quest, Iconia, Montreal, 1988, pages 47 and 85.


In the early 1940s, debate raged between two giants of the Montreal art world: Paul-Émile Borduas and Alfred Pellan. Essentially the debate involved ideological differences around surrealism. Léon Bellefleur (1910-2007)not only had allegiances to both leading figures, but also exhibited with each side as well. This awkward position amid a highly charged intellectual atmosphere served Bellefleur well, however, and as his reading and interest in esoterism grew, his exploration of the mysterious unknown enriched his practice.

Bellefleur’s first major exhibition came in 1950 at a group show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, with paintings inspired by the concept of surrealist automatism, where subconscious dreams are brought out through instinct and improvisation.

By 1957 Bellefleur radically “broke with the nocturnal world to paint a brighter, more luminous diurnal universe” and began experimenting with the faceted style, whereby he used a spatula to build and apply paint, giving his compositions a much more angular appearance than his previous work. His use of the spatula, which was to become his signature mark, signifies a landmark shift. This change allowed him a “more direct way of conveying the impulses of his inspiration”, imbuing his work from 1957 onwards with a new spontaneity.

Painted in 1962, Metamorphose is a synthesis of artistic ideas, and its very title hints at the shifting metamorphosis of spontaneous thought as it evolves on the canvas from concept to physical manifestation. A lyrical outburst of colour and line, the sliding paint in dark shades of purple, blue and black, and sharp agitated angles is offset and illuminated by splattered bright yellows, greens and a splash of vibrant red; it is clear that Bellefleur is revelling in the potential of the spatula to be an extension of his swirling imagination.


For condition information please contact the specialist.

LOT 88

About Condition Ratings

  • 5 Stars: Excellent - No discernable damage, flaws or imperfections
  • 4 Stars: Very Good - Minor flaws or imperfections visible only under close inspection using specialised instruments or black light
  • 3 Stars: Good - Minor flaws visible upon inspection under standard lighting
  • 2 Stars: Fair - Exhibits flaws or damage that may draw the eye under standard lighting
  • 1 Star: Poor - Flaws or damage immediately apparent under standard lighting (examples: missing components, rips, broken glass, damaged surfaces, etc.)

Note: Condition ratings and condition details are the subjective opinions of our specialists and should be used as a guide only. Waddington’s uses due care when preparing condition details, however, our staff are not professional restorers or conservators. Condition details and reports are not warranties and each lot is sold “as is” in accordance with the buyer’s terms and conditions of sale. In all cases the prospective purchaser is responsible for inspecting the property themselves prior to placing a bid.