Claude Tousignant is one of those very few artists whose lives have been dedicated exclusively to their art. At school, the only classes that interested him were drawing and geometry. In 1948, he entered the School of Art and Design at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Of all his teachers, Gordon Webber (himself a former student of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy) was the most influential in guiding his career, as he introduced him to avant-garde art and modern art theories, particularly those of the Bauhaus. A great many exhibitions have been devoted to Tousignant’s work. Among the most important are his first exhibition at the café L’Échourie, in 1955; the show at the Galerie l’Actuelle in 1956; and The Responsive Eye, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1965. He represented Canada at the 8th Bienal de São Paulo in 1965. In the following years, the retrospective Claude Tousignant opened at the National Gallery of Canada in 1973, then travelled to galleries including the Musée d’art contemporain, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris; Claude Tousignant: Sculptures was held at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1982; and Claude Tousignant: monochromes, 1978-1993 was presented at the Musée du Québec in 1994. In addition to the 1973 retrospective, the Musée d’art contemporain devoted an exhibition to him, titled Dyptiques 1978-1980, in 1980. A number of major museums have Tousignant works in their collections; among those that have kindly agreed to lend them to us for the duration of the exhibition are the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the Musée d’art de Joliette, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery of Concordia University, the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, the Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery. Over the course of his career, Claude Tousignant has won the prestigious Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (presented by the Canada Council for the Arts for outstanding achievement by mid-career artists), in 1974, and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas (the highest visual-arts distinction awarded by the Québec government), in 1989. He was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976.
b. 1932, Montreal, QC.