Ozias Leduc

"Art teaches, informs. It uncovers the soul. No doubt it also has the power to sort the chaos of the unconscious into an orderly cosmos. It leads from disorder, suffering and unbalance to stability, harmony and joy."

(Ozias Leduc, in a letter to Paul-Émile Borduas, 1943)

The Quebec painter Ozias Leduc is known both for his religious and secular works. In his church paintings, he transforms traditional iconography through a Symbolist interpretation. His genre portraits, still lifes, and landscapes are characterized by a warm, intimate quality, sensual lighting, and controlled brushwork. Leduc taught Paul-Émile Borduas and influenced Jean Paul Riopelle.

Leduc began working in 1883 as a statue painter at the T. Carli studio in Montreal. He apprenticed in church mural painting with the Italian artist and set designer Luigi Capello in Montreal and with the painter and sculptor Adolphe Rho in Yamamiche, Quebec. Beginning in 1891, Leduc participated in numerous exhibitions at the Art Association of Montreal, in Ottawa, and in Toronto. After a seven-month stay in Paris in 1897, he developed a growing preoccupation with landscape and with allegorical compositions.

Among Ozias Leduc's 150 church murals are those in his own parish church of Saint-Hilaire (1896-1900), the Chapel of the Bishop's Palace, Sherbrooke (1922), and Notre-Dame-de-la-Présentation, Shawinigan-Sud (1942). He also decorated church interiors in Nova Scotia and the eastern United States. His secular works include Boy with Bread (1892-99) and Green Apples (1914-15).

Collection of the Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada.

Related Content