Nigog, Le

Le Nigog was an arts magazine founded 1918 in Montréal by architect Fernand Préfontaine, writer Robert de Roquebrune and musician Léo-Pol MORIN. It was the brainchild of Préfontaine, who held a salon for cultivated friends at his WESTMOUNT home. Some of them, like Préfontaine himself, had been so impressed by their experience of Parisian artistic life that they came home determined to do something about a Québec which they found intellectually behind the times. The resulting review, Le Nigog (named for an instrument used by Indians to spear salmon), sought to educate French Canadians about contemporary art and literature and attracted some 30 collaborators, including 5 Anglophones, to its team. The editors won themselves immediate enemies when they proclaimed the primacy of form over subject matter as the condition of a universal art. Regionalists were horrified: the formalist claim destroyed the serenity with which they had supported the thinking of the establishment. The torture, however, lasted only one year and 12 issues (408 pages). The venture, which had opened up new horizons to Québec youth, gave early expression in French Canada to the views of the French modernists.