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Robert Roussil

The Family


Robert Roussil
Montreal 1925 – Tourrettes-sur-Loup, France, 2013


The Family




Spruce, red wax coating


318 x 74 x 66 cm


Gift of Bernard Janelle, inv. 1990.37


Quebec and Canadian Art

Few Canadian works have as tumultuous a past as Montreal sculptor Robert Roussil's The Family. In 1949, it was impounded by the Montreal police for violating a law prohibiting public nudity following a complaint by a local resident. Intending to include it in an exhibition of work by students and teachers of the Museum's art school, where he taught, Roussil had left it on the sidewalk overnight. Photographs showing the sculpture being carted away in a “paddy wagon” appeared in newspapers around the country.

The Family is carved from a single tree divided into two trunks near its base. A modern emphasis on the intrinsic quality of the material both associates this sculpture with “primitive” art and echoes the revolutionary anti-academic spirit that propelled Montreal's post-war art scene.

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