Refus global not only challenged the traditional values of Québec ("To hell with the holy-water-sprinkler and the tuque!") but also fostered an opening-up of Québec society to international thought. The manifesto advocated a strong need for liberation, if not "resplendent anarchy," and anticipated the coming of a "new collective hope."
That was enough to cause the authorities to have Borduas removed from his post at the École du meuble, where he had been teaching since 1937. The Québec press echoed the sentiments of the government and largely censured the manifesto. From the date of Refus global's publication to January 1949, more than 100 hundred newspaper or magazine articles were published condemning the manifesto.
Read the text of the Refus global manifesto.
Author FRANÇOIS-MARC GAGNON
Links to Other Sites
A profile of abstract painter and sculptor Jean-Paul Riopelle. Also includes images of his works of art. From the National Gallery of Canada.
Le Refus global: Revolution in the Arts
A multimedia CBC feature about the impact of "Le Refus global" on Québec society and culture.
View a biography and works of art by painter Fernand Leduc, recipient of the 2007 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
A biography of Paul-Émile Borduas, Groupe Automatiste leader and principal author of the Refus globalmanifesto. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.