1933 - 1998
Lise Gervais was born in St. Césaire, Rouville, Quebec in 1933. She was studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal from 1953 to 1954, where she counted among her teachers Jacques de Tonnancour, Stanley Cosgrove and Louis Archambault. She traveled to Spain in 1958 and became especially interested in the work of Francisco Goya. She participated in group shows in her home province upon her return, and in 1961 had her first solo show at the Galerie Denyse Delrue in Montreal. She would go on to show with Gallery Moos in 1962. Gervais returned to teach at the École des beaux-arts and would also teach at Concordia University and L’Université de Québec in Montreal.
Gervais was training during the time that the Automatists wrote their famous manifesto, but while she was steeped in their ideas and approach to art, she was not a signatory. She was interested in the possibilities inherit in paint, and used the palette knife to apply broad swathes of colour to her canvases. Choosing pure, brilliant colours, she allowed very little blending to occur in her work, thus her colours are incredibly pure and rich. She also worked in pencil and other media. She was inextricably linked to the Automatists in her approach and ideals, so much so that Jean-Paul Riopelle collected her work.
Gervais’s work can be found in the collection of the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada, the Albright-Knox Museum in Buffalo, New York, the Musée d’art Contemporain de Montréal, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown and Hart House at the University of Toronto, as well as the galleries of Concordia, Queens, Montreal and York Universities. Her work is also found in many prestigious private collections, including that of Charles and Helen Band, and the Samuel Bronfman Collection.
Gervais was a member of the Quebec Modern Group and served as president of the Conseil des Artistes-Peintres du Québec in 1983 and 1984. She was the winner of many awards, including first prize in drawing and sculpture in 1953 at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, first prize at the 1961 Spring Show of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and in the same year, the Jessie Dow Prize. She died in 1998 at the age of 65.