“Several aspects of a painting are worthy of interest. The subject, the theme, must always be rendered in a simple, coherent fashion, but still impress the beholder. The viewer must be led – by avoiding unnecessary details – to follow the path the painter intended and behold the sensation which possessed the artist.” – Alfred Sysley.
A freedom-loving farmer’s son, René Gagnon wanted to be a “coureur des bois”. The hazards of life and an irresistible calling towards artistic creation determined otherwise. Definitely for the best! Indeed, some of the greatest visual artists of the time passed on to him their tremendous and tumultuous passion for art. Artists such as René Richard, Cosgrove, Ayotte, Albert Rousseau, Marc-Aurèle Fortin, and many others.
This simply due to the fact that he was the nephew of René Bergeron, an important artists’ manager, who invited his protégés to come and paint on his land in the Saguenay. Thus, self-taught painter René Gagnon was privy to the best lessons in art and life itself through the words of these passionate, freedom loving, masters. In interview, the artist warmly reminisces about these moments, late in the day, when everyone appraised the work of others, often providing constructive criticism. But always delightfully appreciative of how a colleague was able to capture the beauty of the landscape and the fugacious lights of the moment.
Text by Michel Bois
66, chemin de la Pointe à Gagnon, Anse de roche, Sacré-Cœur, QC
Musée René Gagnon, 203, rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Montréal, QC