Jacques Godefroy de Tonnancour, painter, photographer (b at Montréal 3 Jan 1917, d there 13 Jan 2005). His early influences ranged from the GROUP OF SEVEN
and Goodridge ROBERTS
in his landscapes to Picasso in figure painting. Seventeen months (1945-46) in Brazil produced a formal brilliance and truthfulness in his landscapes. Back in Canada he temporarily abandoned landscapes (1946-50), and, influenced by Picasso, Matisse and PELLAN
, created his most accomplished still life and figurative paintings. He was a member of the 1948-49 Prisme d'yeux group, which opposed the AUTOMATISTES
. By 1960, Tonnancour had produced his best-known simplified landscapes, as in Paysage de juin
. The early 1960s saw a further simplification and abstraction of his landscapes as well as a subsequent experimentation with collage and foreign material, resulting in work which approaches pure abstraction. Tonnancour's L'Invisible dans le visible
(1986) illustrated his interest in tropical and semitropical forests.
Tonnancour taught at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal and the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1969 to 1982. He became an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA in 1979 and was made an Officer of the NATIONAL ORDER OF QUÉBEC in 1993. Jacques de Tonnancour has received honorary degrees from McGill and Concordia universities.
Entomology was a life-long interest for Tonnancour and in 1982, he abandoned painting and teaching in order to devote his energies to collecting and photographing insects.
ERIK J. PETERS