L’envol des écumes

Marcel Barbeau

As a student at the École du Meuble de Montréal, Marcel Barbeau discovered his artistic vocation through his drawing teacher Paul-Émile Borduas. Between 1944 and 1953, at Borduas’ studio, he was introduced to abstract art, with Jean Paul Riopelle, and continued to create in this genre until the late 1950s. He then took part in the activities of the Automatists and signed the Refus Global manifesto in 1948.

Marcel Barbeau produced monumental drawings, paintings and sculptures as well as numerous public artworks. Initially a painter and sculptor, he was interested in several art forms and constantly sought new means of expression. His pure and expressive work belongs to the universe of the Baroque. During the 1950s, his technique evolved from gestural art to a more constructed art, but retained an intuitive approach, employing irregular shapes and asymmetrical constructions.

Marcel Barbeau’s works are exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe and North Africa.


This work is presented in collaboration with the Marcel Barbeau Foundation.

Factsheet of the work

  • Acrylic on canvas, 140 x 140 cm, signed and dated in black “Barbeau 2006,” lower right corner, and titled, signed and dated on the reverse side of the canvas, Bagnolet, 2006.
  • Collection of Dr. Francis Slomka, Paris.