Léon Bellefleur

Léon Bellefleur, painter, engraver (b at Montréal 8 Feb 1910; d there 22 Feb 2007). After receiving a teaching diploma in 1929, Léon Bellefleur took evening classes at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal until 1938 and in 1940 met Alfred PELLAN. He discovered the work of Paul Klee and in 1946 mounted an exhibition of paintings inspired by the drawings of his children at the Maison des Compagnons. In 1948 he signed the free art "Prisme d'yeux" manifesto.

Léon Bellefleur was part of the second international Cobra exhibition at Liège, Belgium, in 1951 and in 1953 he joined the AUTOMATISTE movement. He studied engraving in France at Friedlander's and Desjaubert's studios in 1954, and upon his return to Québec in 1957 developed his "facetted" painting style in which his nonfigurative compositions were built up with a spatula. Later, after his return to France in 1958, he drew close to André Breton's surrealist group.

A first retrospective of Léon Bellefleur works was organized in 1968 by the NATIONAL GALLERY OF CANADA, travelling to Ottawa, London (Ontario) and Montréal. Numerous exhibitions of his work have been held in Brazil, Canada, England and Denmark. He was, in 1977, the first winner of the Prix Borduas; he also received the annual prize of the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1985 and an honorary Ph.D. from Concordia University in 1987. Léon Bellefleur was inducted into the ROYAL CANADIAN ACADEMY in 1989.