Updated: Jul 10
Marc-Aurèle Fortin was born in 1888 in the small village of Ste-Rose, just north of Montreal. Throughout his career his birthplace was often the subject of his paintings, and he became known for his portrayals of the simple and familiar scenes of rural Quebec life.
Fortin lived in Montreal from 1912 to 1920, but during this time he made frequent painting trips to Ste-Rose, the Laurentians and Piedmont with his painting gear strapped to his ramshackle bicycle.
In 1920, Fortin returned to live in Ste-Rose, immersing himself in the beauty of its countryside. His early work showed influences of the Barbizon School, however he eventually found his own unique style that incorporated the influences of the Group of Seven and Fauvism.
In addition to exhibiting in numerous Canadian museums, Fortin also achieved international recognition. His work was included in the exhibition at the Tate Gallery in London entitled A Century of Canadian Art held in 1938, and the following year he was awarded the bronze medal at the New York World’s Fair. In 1945 he participated in the exhibition Canadian Art held in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and by this time his work had garnered such acclaim that in 1944 a retrospective show of his work was held at the Musée du Québec in Quebec City.
Also a testament to his importance to the history of Quebec, an electoral district that included the neighbourhoods of Auteuil and Ste-Rose was named in his honour in 2004.