Blossoming, c. 1950, Alfred Pellan
Date of Issue
April 21, 1995
Masterpieces of Canadian Art
Series Time Span
1988 - 2002
Perforation or Dimension
13 x 13.5
Canadian Bank Note Company, Limited.
Designed by Pierre-Yves Pelletier.
Alfred Pellan, "Blossoming", circa 1950 National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
The eight stamp dedicated to the Masterpieces of Canadian Art series highlights a reproduction of the colorful "Floraison" (Blossoming), an oil on canvas by celebrated painter Alfred Pellan. Although "Floraison" was completed circa 1950, it became an individual painting only in 1956. Originally, "Floraison" was part of a larger work called "Scherzo" which was last exhibited at the "Musée national d'art moderne" in Paris in 1955. After that exhibit, Pellan decided to split the painting in two. Scherzo became "Fabrique de fleurs magiques" and "Floraison". This type of painting is known as diptych. "Floraison" was acquired by the National Gallery of Canada in 1960. Alfred Pellan was born in Quebec in 1906. At the age of 17 he had already sold his first painting to an important gallery while studying at the Quebec School of Fine Arts. The piece was "Corner of Old Quebec". The purchaser: the National Gallery of Canada. A few years later, at the age of 20, he received the first fine arts scholarship awarded by the province of Quebec. Like many other Canada artists had done before him, Pellan decided to go to Paris. The Europeans were trend leaders with the two popular tendancies being cubism and surrealism. During his stay in the city of lights between 1926 and 1940, Pellan's palette became more intense, his lines more fluid and his images more abstract. In 1935, he won the first prize at the Salon de l'art mural de Paris. In 1940, while the Second World War was ravaging Europe, Pellan decided to return to Montreal to exhibit his work. Considered a prolific and avant-garde artist, Pellan became the toast of the town. A turning point in Pellan's career was accepting a teaching job at Montreal's École des beaux-arts. He taught from 1943 to 1952. The director, Charles Maillard, and Pelland did not see eye-to-eye academically. When Maillard resigned in 1945 and was replaced by director Marcel Parizeau, Pellan was able to teach the art the way he thought it should by taught: free of any particular ideology. Convinced that artists should be allowed to express themselves and be free of political ties, trends or moods and other constraints, Pellan founded Prisme d'yeux in 1948, a short-lived organization including himself and 14 other Quebec artists with a common philosophy: freedom of expression. The mandate of Prisme d'yeux was similar to the manifesto expressed by the Canadian Group of Painters a decade or so earlier. They too believed in the importance of a more broadminded approach to painting. The Canadian Group of Painters launched the careers of many famous Canadian artists. It hosted exhibits for Canadian painters and was instrumental in launching the careers of artists like Emily Carr (1933), David Milne (1937), Goodridge Roberts (1939), and Paul-Emile Borduas (1942), to name only a few. Alfred Pellan's turn came in 1942. He gained exposure and fame through exhibits in Toronto, Quebec City, Boston, New York and Rio de Janeiro. One of the most recent and sought after exhibits about Pellan was held in Montreal during the summer of 1993 at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. The travelling exhibit closed on December 31, 1994. Art critics were unanimous... Pellan was finally receiving his due. Pellan's paintings shared the halls and walls of famous museums - a feast for the eyes! Pellan died in 1988.
Canada Post Corporation. Canada's Stamps Details, Vol. 4, No. 2, 1995, p. 5-7.
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