Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back
Currently shown
Paul-Émile Borduas

Composition 69

Artist

Paul-Émile Borduas
Saint-Hilaire, Quebec, 1905 – Paris 1960

Title

Composition 69

Date

1960

Materials

Oil on canvas

Dimensions

61.5 x 50 cm

Credits

Purchase, inv. 1994.3

Collection

Quebec and Canadian Art

This painting is usually considered to be Borduas' last, since it was found on his easel when he died. The poet Jean-Paul Filion, who visited Borduas' studio on February 26, 1960, on the day of the artist's funeral, brought back this gripping image: “The painting, still fresh, that I see attached to the easel, seems to me to be the pure and simple representation of mourning. Let me describe it: one immense black mass covering almost the entire surface of the canvas. At the top, a thin white horizon, with a hint of limpid green, in which the painter has jabbed two small rectangular black shapes, thus creating a fascinating space-bound perspective. What is the purpose of these two blocks, these two masks, these two ghosts, like pieces of shroud, which take up all the room in a limited space of inaccessible light, all placed as an epigraph at the top of a high wall of glistening coal? I am led to see in this last work the illustration of a sort of despair lived at the limits of the cosmos. Am I wrong in imagining this?”

© Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SOCAN (2020)

Add a touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation