Montreal Museum of Fine Arts | The printed art of Albert Dumouchel

At the suggestion of art historian Peggy Davis, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) presents, in its graphic office, an exhibition of prints by the father of modern printmaking in Quebec, Albert Dumouchel (1916 -1971). Works mainly from the MMFA collection, which has just acquired, by donation, a dozen works by the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield master engraver.


As talented as he is alert, Albert Dumouchel was a companion of Alfred Pellan, Jacques de Tonnancour and Léon Bellefleur, with whom he signed the manifesto in 1948. eye prisma few months before the release of blanket denial, whose radicalism he did not share. This tradition-bound and later open-minded master engraver shaped or inspired many late-modern and early-contemporary Quebec artists, including Richard Lacroix, Roland Giguère, Henry Saxony, Yves Gaucher, Pierre Ayot and Gerard Tremblay.


PHOTO MARCO CAMPANOZZI, THE PRESS

View of the exhibition of prints by Albert Dumouchel at the MMFA

“He trained the first three generations of modern engravers in Quebec, particularly at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, which became the University of Quebec in Montreal,” says Peggy Davis, professor of art history at UQAM and curator, with MMFA Curator of Modern Art Anne Grace, of the exhibition.

Self-taught, a fabric designer at Montreal Cotton during World War II, he was trained during this period by the English engraver James Lowe. He dabbled in the classic and monochrome techniques of engraving, he rubbed shoulders with figuratism, expressionism and surrealism, and ended up approaching color, screen printing, xylography and lithography.

  • Pietà, 1942, Albert Dumouchel, drypoint.  MMFA Collection.

    PHOTO JEAN-FRANÇOIS BRIÈRE, PROVIDED BY THE MMFA

    Piety, 1942, Albert Dumouchel, drypoint. MMFA Collection.

  • Banners at Night, 1958, Albert Dumouchel, etching.  MMFA Collection.

    PHOTO JEAN-FRANÇOIS BRIÈRE, PROVIDED BY THE MMFA

    banners at night, 1958, Albert Dumouchel, etching. MMFA Collection.

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The exhibition gives a good idea of ​​the breadth of his graphic vocabulary and his taste for experimentation. Excavated, neat, it covers the entire period of his production, from the 1940s to the 1970s, illustrating the evolution of his style, according to his learning, especially during his travels in Europe. We find his references to textiles, his attraction to the effects of textures, that marked work on matrices that allowed him to create rich works, with varied reliefs and prints. And the pictures of him from the last years of his life, more erotic, inspired by Adam and Eve and the new sexual liberation.

With 5 exceptions, the 40 exhibited works belong to the MMFA. There are also many Dumouchel prints in the Quebec collections, including those of Loto-Québec, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Musée d’art de Joliette, or the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec. The museum could have expanded this look at Dumouchel’s graphic work with a larger-scale exhibition, since opportunities to shine in the print arts are rare in Quebec, except during the Trois-Rivières International Biennale of Contemporary Prints. But also because this artist has not been entitled to an exhibition at the MMFA for 61 years. The last exhibition of his recorded work dates from 1974, at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.


PHOTO JEAN-FRANÇOIS BRIÈRE, PROVIDED BY THE MMFA

the fall of icarus, 1963, Albert Dumouchel, etching, 7/15. MMFA Collection.

Anne Grace says that the option of a large exhibition was not accepted. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts now wants to foster “a connection between the public and [sa] collection”. “Why look elsewhere when we have such a large collection of Dumouchel’s works? “says mme Grace. “It’s already very good like this, adds Peggy Davis. It is a concise exposition, but extremely rich. It will not prevent other projects in the future. »

  • La belle Hélène, 1970, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, 1/5.  MMFA Collection.

    PHOTO JEAN-FRANÇOIS BRIÈRE, PROVIDED BY THE MMFA

    the beautiful helena, 1970, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, 1/5. MMFA Collection.

  • The Horrible Snow Cat, 1969, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, 6/10.  MMFA Collection.

    PHOTO ANNIE FAFARD, PROVIDED BY MMFA

    The horrible snow cat, 1969, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, 6/10. MMFA Collection.

  • Chez Dolores, 1968, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, artist proof.  MMFA Collection.

    PHOTO ANNIE FAFARD, PROVIDED BY MMFA

    Chez Dolores, 1968, Albert Dumouchel, woodcut, artist proof. MMFA Collection.

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From February 8 to April 8, two other parts of the exhibition will be presented. One on Dumouchel matrices at the UQAM Design Center, another on books, archives and artifacts, at the UQAM Center for Rare Books and Special Collections. “There will also be a symposium on engraving, from February 16 to 18, at the UQAM and the Atelier Cirque, which will bring together artists and historians, which will be a good brainstorming around the issue of engraving today,” he says. Peggy Davis.

Interesting additions to this admirable, representative and informative exhibition thanks to generous informative labels. Let us hope, however, that one day a museum in Quebec will dedicate a great retrospective to the measure of this genius of printmaking, who also expressed himself through painting, photography and publishing.

Revelations: Albert Dumouchel Prints in the MMFA Collectionuntil March 26, at the MMFA.

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