MARC-AURÈLE FORTIN, A.R.C.A.
Gerard Gorce Fine Arts Inc., Montreal
Gallery Gills Saint-Pierre
Roberts Gallery Limited, Toronto
Private Collection, Ontario
Michèle Grandbois (ed.), Marc-Aurèle Fortin, The Experience of Colour, Musée national des beaux-arts du Quèbec, Quèbec, 2011, page 33, 102.
Musée Marc-Aurèle Fortin, Montreal, 23 Janvier 1985 au 19 Mai 1985, no. P.198.
At one point early in his career, Marc-Aurèle Fortin abandoned the use of watercolour out of pure frustration. Nonetheless, by the mid-twenties he had taken it up again having "finally achieved mastery of the extremely temperamental medium." Eventually, Fortin would describe his great passion for watercolor as a "mania".
In this composition, Fortin relies on a trusted arrangement of trees to the left, a repoussoir device that encourages the viewer onto a path dappled with sunlight that has pierced the trees' leafy boughs. Once on that path, we join several small figures in the distance. The mid-ground is a fertile valley dotted with fields sewn with various crops at different stages of development, delineated by the split-rail fence and the rolling hills beyond. It seems like a simple enough scene but unlike other watercolours by Fortin which sometimes rely on retouching with charcoal and pastel, this work is an entirely "pure", luminous watercolour. The result is dazzling.