April 17, 2011

Canadian Painters - Ozias Leduc

The Young Student, Ozias Leduc, 1894
Ozias Leduc (1864-1955) was born the son of an apple grower in the small Quebec village of St. Hilaire, about 40 kilometres from Montreal. Leduc lived there all his life. He built his own studio by hand and dedicated his life to painting and poetry. Apart from managing his father’s orchard, he painted church murals for his income and his easel work for his own personal pleasure. He chose simple everyday objects around him and people who were close to him. An aura of calm surrounds his subjects as does a feeling of dignity.

Leduc received many church commissions. Of the thirty churches he decorated , he is best known for his murals at the Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation church in Shawinigan South, a project which took him thirteen years to complete.

Ozias Leduc learned his craft under an Italian artist, Luigi Capello was married to Leduc's cousin, and an artist from Bécancour, Adolphe Rho. Capello, who had studied at the Turin Academy, introduced Leduc to the great European works. Rho, an inventor and an artist helped him develop his technical and manual skills.

Leduc worked slowly and meticulously, with intense concentration. He was a man who was  intellectually curious. He read many art journals, American, British, French, as well as those from Canada and Quebec. He had a large library and brought the world to his tiny village through his reading. He tried to surround himself with people who could stimulate him intellectually.

Boy With Bread, Ozias Leduc c.1892

Leduc made one trip to Paris in 1897 and although spending eight months there, he continued to paint according to his own personal vision upon his return to Quebec.

Portrait of Gertrude Leduc, Ozias Leduc 1940


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

What a very interesting artist and one about whom we knew very little previously. There is, as you remark, something of an 'intense concentration' about his work which can suggest, at a superficial level, a beguiling simplicity but which on a closer inspection conceals something very much more profound.

A delightful post.

Hels said...

The first two portraits are gorgeous - rich, intense, painterly and no distracting background. Yet I don't know the name Leduc.

Why do you think he is not as well known on the international stage as other Canadian artists eg The Group of Seven? Or is he, and am I simply reflecting my own lack of knowledge?

The Clever Pup said...

Hels, they are SO lovely and calm. I tried to find more examples of his portraiture but he definitely was a more prolific muralist. I'm researching a topic for school - the question is " Is there a distinctive Canadian Art, OTHER than the Group of Seven. Leduc does pop up in every text. There is a solitude to Canadian art.

Kate Hanley said...

Thanks for sharing that. I have never heard of Leduc but really like his style.