An Homage to Fernand Leduc - 13 February 2014 at the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault

Artist emeritus Fernand Leduc who passed away on February 3rd, 2014 at age 97, was honored last February 13th. Many who were present spoke of the great man’s personality, his art and his original and significant artistic accomplishments. 

The evening was presided by John Porter, former Director of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.  Each taking their turn at the lectern were Maka Kotto, Minister, Culture et Communications at the Québec government, Line Ouellet, General director of the Musée nationale des beaux-arts de Québec, Anne-Marie Ninacs, art critique and professor, Gilles Lapointe, professor of art history, Diane Dufresne, singer and artist, Jeanne Renaud, choreographer, Fernand Leduc’s sister-in-law, René Viau, art critique, Fernand Leduc’s son-in-law, Isabelle Leduc, artist, daughter of Fernand Leduc and Luka Leduc-Viau, Fernand Leduc’s grandson. 

More than 200 people participated in this event.


An homage to Fernand Leduc

I had the pleasure of meeting Fernand Leduc on numerous occasions both as a friend and as a contemporary art curator. I was literally taken aback by the Microchromies exhibited at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal in 1980 and by the Rétrospective of his works organized at the Chartres Musée des beaux-arts and presented by the CIAC in 1990. At every meeting Fernand Leduc never failed to shine and his conversations were precise and intense. He was a demanding man, a role model. 

Throughout his artistic journey, Leduc remained autonomous with regards to his art, independent of the ups and downs of the market, independent of the aesthetic trends ‘of the day’.  Yet, he was also open to others, curious as to their successes, generous in his sharing. He was figuratively a tall oak with deep roots. 

His works, while currently deemed exceptional, can only mature with time. We will remember his will to translate matter and with it, the efforts of surrealists who hoped to bear witness to the strength of individual subconscious and imagination. Leduc will have shed light on an independent Quebecois surrealist position vis-à vis the French surrealism of the 1940’s as argued by Breton. Leduc succeeded in promoting a more instinctive position of the subconscious without referring to the dreamlike surrealism.  .

This position will have cost him ; Leduc spent his whole life wondering about non-representation in art. He developed an objective approach to forms and color, letting these two components astonish us and give life to a personal visual experience. Leduc was preoccupied by the optic and visual games light plays when colors are applied to paper or canvas.  Light is present in the matter, but it also comes from the outside and is reflected on matter. This is demanding work on many fronts. Leduc’s work is still to be discovered and will remain the object of research. One has to adopt it. 

One must visit the Musée national des beaux arts du Québec to enjoy the works of Fernand Leduc to fully understand the aesthetic exploits of this unique Quebecois artist .

Claude Gosselin

General and Artistic Director,

Centre international d’art contemporain de Montréal (CIAC)