Adèle Fortier, 1834
oil on canvas
75.5 x 65 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 30239)
Executed in 1834, "Adèle Fortier" is one of the key works from the first decade of Plamondon's career as a painter, following his return from Paris. The modelling of the face and hair shows great subtlety, and for the first time the artist has lingered over the costume, which has been rendered with enormous care. The portraitist has also introduced a light source behind the figure, which creates a space around the model and enhances our sense of her as an individual. A vigorously painted green drapery forms the background. It is the masterly handling of these combined elements - the face, the clothing, the ground - that allows the personality of the sitter to emerge so powerfully.