Claude Tousignant, 1991, Etude pour double ecran chromatique #3,
acrylic on aluminum panels on plywood, 32 in. x 40 in.,
signed, titled and dated verso.
Recognized in Canada as a significant influence in the Plasticien movement, Claude Tousignant has been a trailblazer in abstract painting since the 1950’s. Etude pour Double Ecran Chromatique #3, 1991, (reproduced above), is a superb example of Tousignant’s willingness to abandon convention and explore theory, process and the idea of pure experience in painting. As Tousignant once noted, “What I wish to do is make painting objective, to bring it back to its source – where only painting remains, emptied of all extraneous matter – to the point at which painting is pure sensation.”
As early as 1956, for a landmark exhibition at the Galerie L’Actuelle in Montreal, Canadian art historian Roald Nasgaard notes that Tousignant exhibited a series of radical paintings composed of entirely frontalized planes simply divided into two or three colours, One painting titled Oscillation,1956, was a black and red monochrome. Public reaction to the exhibition was one of irony and perplex. One critic who reviewed the 1956 exhibition noted Tousignant’s painting “to have the least care for harmony or composition.” 1 The most knowledgeable art critics in Montreal had difficulty understanding Tousignant’s work at the exhibition. It wasn’t until a few years later that Tousignant himself recognized that it was his monochromatic and bichrome paintings that were the basis of what he was searching for in his work. “I made it as a theoretical gesture, but I came to recognize its import and the sheer multiplicity of its implications for the ongoing development of my work”. 2 It has been these theoretical investigations that Claude Tousignant has explored throughout his career that has earned him a considerable reputation in Canada and abroad as an iconic artist. An artist that introduced the ideas of monochromatic painting, and painting emptied of all extraneous matter that can become an object of pure sensation. 3
James Rottman Fine Art carries a significant inventory of historical artworks by Claude Tousignant. Do not hesitate to contact us with inquiries regarding this artwork or other works by Claude Tousignant.
Roald Nasgaard, Abstract Painting in Canada, Douglas and McIntyre Ltd., pg.’s 185 – 195.
1, 2 & 3 pg. 187