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Clarence Gagnon

Study for a Frontispiece for Maria Chapdelaine


Clarence Gagnon
Montreal 1881 – Montreal 1942


Study for a Frontispiece for Maria Chapdelaine




Gouache over traces of graphite


15.1 x 21.7 cm


Gift of the Fournelle family, inv. 2013.227


Graphic Arts

Gagnon began working on a series of illustrations for the Louis Hémon novel Maria Chapdelaine in 1927, but did not devote himself exclusively to it until 1931. The entire project, which included 54 illustrations, was completed in 1933. Many of the sketches depict people and landscapes from Baie-Saint-Paul rather than Péribonka, the village in which Hémon’s story is set. These idealized scenes show the daily lives and labours of farm folk from one season to another. Unlike Hémon’s book, in which “all spoke of a harsh existence in a stern land,” Gagnon provides us with a vision of a serene, peaceful countryside.

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