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October 31, 2023 – February 18, 2024

Françoise Sullivan

The year 2023 will mark the 100th year in the life of Françoise Sullivan, a figurehead of modern art and a pioneer of Quebec dance. For the occasion, the MMFA is devoting an exhibition to her that will give the public the chance to discover the artist’s recent paintings, in which she continues to explore the timeless themes of movement and light.

A key figure in the history of Quebec and Canadian art

Born in Montreal in 1923, Françoise Sullivan has had a major influence on the history of art through her contribution to Canadian modern dance and her signing of the manifesto Refus global in 1948 as a founding member of the Automatistes, alongside Paul-Émile Borduas, Jean Paul Riopelle and Marcelle Ferron. She was also a pioneer in Quebec for her exceptional ability to switch from one discipline to another, be it from painting to performance, or from sculpture to photography. This penchant for daring and exploring continues to manifest today in her unwavering production in studio: every day, the nearly 100-year-old artist shows up in front of her canvases, curious to see where the gestures, rhythms, colours and forms will lead her.

Françoise Sullivan. © Françoise Sullivan / SOCAN (2022). Photo Éric Lajeunesse

Mastery of colour and expressive abstract approach

To mark the artist’s 100th birthday, the MMFA is presenting a selection of recent paintings from a body of work begun in 2022. These artworks are a continuation of the monochromatic paintings she produced at the turn of the 21st century. They also bear formal references to her secondary workshop, located on the shores of the Rivière rouge in the Laurentians. The anchor point of the exhibition is the masterpiece Hommage à Paterson [Homage to Paterson] (2003), a monumental diptych that is emblematic of Sullivan’s painting, which was unveiled to the public at the MMFA’s retrospective of the artist in 2003. The exhibition also draws attention to the important representation of Sullivan’s work – close to fifty artworks – in the Museum’s collection.

Credits and curatorial team

An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
It is curated by Stéphane Aquin, Director of the MMFA, in collaboration with guest curator Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau.

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Françoise Sullivan. © Françoise Sullivan / SOCAN (2022). Photo Éric Lajeunesse

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