Seafarers' Union, 1954
oil on canvas
166.5 x 196.8 cm
National Gallery of Canada (no. 37593)
© Estate of Marcelle Ferron / SODRAC (2013)
While living in Paris between 1954 and 1966, Ferron bought and ground her own pigments, which she mixed with poppyseed oil, allowing her to paint in particular shades of purple, blue and yellow - distinctive hues for this period. Her contemporaries in Europe were impressed by her large works as they were still painting on a smaller scale and quite often in more sombre tones. Ferron was deeply concerned with social issues, but a title like this is not without humour; in the artist’s mind, it alludes to the armchair militancy of her French neighbours in their well-off neighbourhood of Clamart, contrasting with the social situation back home in Quebec, where union members were jailed for street demonstrations.