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.
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.
In the media
Je laissais les rythmes affluer» est un hommage, une fête et une célébration de la puissance de l’art de Françoise Sullivan.
Sarah-Émilie Nault, Le journal de Montréal
ICI Radio-Canada Première, Tout un matin
Credits and curatorial team
An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
The exhibition is curated by Stéphane Aquin, Director of the MMFA, and Florence-Agathe Dubé-Moreau, guest curator.
Françoise Sullivan. Photo Clara Houeix
Françoise Sullivan (born in 1923), Annunciator of the Moons, 2022, acrylic on canvas, 213.3 x 152.4 cm. Collection of the artist. Courtesy Galerie Simon Blais, Montreal. © Françoise Sullivan / CARCC 2023. Photo Guy L’Heureux