Paul Émile Borduas: Periods of Infinity

Paul Émile Borduas was a precursor of the avant-garde Automatiste movement, he radicalized Quebecian and global artists through his 1948 Refus Global manifesto.

Paul Emile Borduas was an apprentice to the church painter and decorator, Ozias Leduc. He imbibed basic artistic training and the knowledge of scripture - never deviating from them. He made paintings of figures he found around him, i.e., the oil on canvas painting, ‘Reverend Father Carmel Brouillard’ (1937).

Representational Era

Les Automatise Era

While teaching at l'École du Meuble, he was influenced by surrealism. He experimented with gouaches, producing ‘Composition’ (1942), and ‘Leeward of the Island or 1.47’ (1947). At this time, he grew closer to a particular group of artists - ‘Les Automatistes’. He authored ‘Total Refusal’, resulting in his suspension and thus a move to New York.

New York Era

His paintings reflected his move to Abstract Expressionism. He looked up to Jackson Pollock’s drip technique, producing ‘Graffiti’ (1945). He was also inspired by Franz Kline as is evidenced in his 1954 creation, Eagle with White Family (L’aigle à la blanche famille).

Kline’s black-and-white obsession travelled with him to Paris. He used the impasto technique, using plain contrasting colours. His work was now geometrical as is the case with ‘The Black Star (L’étoile noire)’ (1957).

Paris Era