Frost Garden, 1956
oil on canvas
137.1 x 99.5 cm
Gift of Cécile and Gérard Baillargeon, Montreal, 1972
National Gallery of Canada (no. 17089)
© Indra McEwen
Jean McEwen pursued his love of painting while studying to become a pharmacist. After encouragement by fellow Quebec artist Paul-Émile Borduas, McEwen quit his studies and moved to Paris, where he formed associations with Canadian artist Jean-Paul Riopelle and American artist Sam Francis. Despite a favourable review for his solo exhibition at Galerie Agnès Lefort in 1954, McEwen felt that his style was too similar to that of Borduas, and he abandoned the palette knife and began applying his white paint by hand directly to the surface of his canvas. This monochromatic work is from his "White Monochromes" series of the mid-1950s. In 1956 McEwen became a member of the newly-formed Non-Figurative Artists’ Association of Montreal.