Exhibition & Sale
From April 10 to 24, 2012
1490 Sherbrooke West, Montreal
About the exhibition:
In the Fall 2011, Galerie Valentin was approached by a Montreal collector who over the years had amassed a
number of sketches, mostly on paper, by the artist John Lyman. The gallery purchased the entire collection with the
idea of making a show around these works.
It is not common to come across a body of work like this one.
Many of these sketches are related to well known paintings that now hang in major collections and museums
across the country.
The art critic René Viau, who is currently working on a book about John Lyman, mentions the influence of the artist
on the Canadian artistic scene upon his return to Montreal in 1932, which « marked the beginnings of a new era as,
contrary to the Group of Seven, advocated internationalism. He thus declared opposition to "the regionalists who
only produced banal clichés". As an art critic and director of the Socitété d'Art Contemporain, this grand agent of
the modernist ideas of the École de Paris attempted to "deprovincialize" Quebec and Canadian art.
About the artist:
" The real adventure takes place in the sensibility and imagination of the individual" (John Lyman, May 1932).
John Lyman played a key role in the development of modern art in Canada, not only as an artist, but also as a
theorist, professor and as the founder in 1939 of the Contemporary Arts Society.
Apart from trips to Canada in 1913 and 1927, Lyman spent the years 1907-31 in Europe. He attended the
Académie Julian in Paris, and met the Canadian artist James Wilson Morrice. In 1909, he attended the Académie
Matisse. The contacts with both Morrice and Matisse were crucial to John Lyman's art. Their devotion to a pure art
of colour, line, and form, an art devoid of all anecdotal details or 'non-artistic' concepts, remained with Lyman
throughout his life.
Lyman returned to Montreal permanently in September 1931 and tried to improve the artistic conditions in Canada.
From 1936 to 1940, he was an author for the monthly art column in The Montrealer, where he commented on the
Canadian art scene, promoted international trends, and offered some of the most intelligent writing on art in
Canada. He co-founded the short-lived Atelier and introduced the students to French art. He was opposed to what
he felt to be the xenophobic nationalism of Canadian art. To those who feared the taint of foreign art, Lyman
replied, " The talk of the Canadian scene has gone sour. The real Canadian scene is in the consciousness of
Canadian painters, whatever the object of their thought." The Montrealer, 1 February, 1938.
In 1939 Lyman established the Contemporary Arts Society in Montreal. In 1949, Lyman became an art professor at
McGill University in Montréal and, three years later, was appointed director of the Fine Arts Department.
Text: Library and Archives, National Gallery of Canada
For more information: Galerie Valentin, (514) 939-0500 email@example.com
Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm
Thursday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Saturday from10:00 am to 5:00 pm