This portrait was a companion piece to a Portrait of Maurice Gagnon, also from 1941, that no longer exists. Borduas and his wife were close to the Gagnons at the time this painting was made. Mrs. Gagnon, who had studied philosophy, was particularly helpful to Borduas at a point in his life when he was preoccupied with religious and metaphysical questions. Something of the intensity of their discussions can be sensed in this portrait, in which the sitter's broad shoulders seem to symbolize spiritual strength.
© Estate of Paul-Émile Borduas / SOCAN (2020)