Lot # 208
Post-War & Contemporary Art Highlights Online auction

Jean Albert McEwen
AANFM RCA 1923 - 1999 Canadian

Poème barbare
oil on canvas
signed, titled and dated 1998 and on verso signed, titled and dated
40 x 40 in  101.6 x 101.6cm

Galerie Lacerte, Quebec City
Private Collection, Quebec City

Jacques-Bernard Roumanes, Jean McEwen: Le roi couleur, Vie des Arts, Vol. 42, No. 173, Winter 1998–1999, page 41

Galerie Lacerte, Quebec City, Poèmes barbares, October - November 1998

This stunning oil on canvas is from McEwen’s final body of work, the Poèmes barbares. It was one of the artist’s most important series, and spanned from 1997 to 1998. Comprised of about thirty works, the series juxtaposed unexpected combinations of saturated colours, inspired by the works of Paul Gauguin and the nabis painters. Poetry was another significant source of inspiration for McEwen; some might even say that before being a painter, he was a poet. The title of the series, Poèmes barbares, is a direct reference to a collection of poems of the same name by Leconte de Lisle, published in 1862. It also comes from an interaction the artist had with a collector. After much hesitation, a client decided not to acquire a piece by McEwen, arguing that his painting technique was “barbarous”. Instead of taking offense, McEwen was quite amused and decided to reuse the term for this refined, complex, and furthest from barbarous, series.

The exhibition Untamed Colour, Celebrating Jean McEwen is currently on view at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from September 17, 2019 to February 2, 2020, and can be viewed by clicking here.


$15,000 ~ $25,000 CAD

Final Bid: $15,000 CAD
Bidding History
Paddle # Date Amount $
8015 26/11/2019 2:36:21 PM $15,000

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

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