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Honorary degree citation - Léon Bellefleur*

By: Pat Landsley, June 1987

Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Leon Bellefleur, distinguished painter, watercolourist, draftsman and printmaker.

In honouring Léon Bellefleur today, Concordia University pays tribute to an artist whose active professional career spans 37 years of dedicated and creative endeavour, exhibiting nationally and internationally in a long series of group and one-man exhibitions.

He began his formal art studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal as an evening student in 1929, and continued for nine years... until 1938.

In 1954 he journeyed to Paris and studied at the renowned Atelier Friedlander, returning again to Paris in 1959 to study at the Atelier Desjaubert.

He was awarded the esteemed Jessie Dow Prize for painting in the annual Spring Show of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1951, the Drawing Prize at the National Gallery of Canada's 2nd Biennial of Canadian Art in 1957 as well as winning the second prize for painting at the Commonwealth Exhibition in Vancouver also in 1957. He has also received Canada Council Grants in 1958 and again in 1969.

In 1977 he was the first recipient of the prestigious Paule Emile Borduas Prize awarded by the Province of Quebec to outstanding Quebec painters who have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of the province. Leon Bellefleur's work may be found in a number of important collections, public and private, both national and international.

Successively influenced by the Surrealism of Pellan and the "tachiste" painting of Borduas, he soon found himself in the dynamic framework of that important Quebec movement of painting known as ... "Les Automatistes".

Bellefleur went on to develop his own highly personal style of lyrical, poetic and intimate abstractions, neither angelic nor demonic inspired, but rather by his own disciplined sense of creativity.

He has been likened to a painter who preserves in his work a child-like innocence contemplating a world of fantasy... this with a vision that transcends mere subjectivity and draws the mind of the viewer toward things known.., and toward knowing more.., and so induces dream in us.

Léon Bellefleur is considered an eminent figure in Canadian Art. He has been particularly an active force in the development of Quebec painting.

Through his prolific production over the years of a continuous series of oils, gouaches, watercolours, drawings and prints, he has received praise from both his peers and critics alike. There is no question that his status is assured in any History of Canadian Art as one of Canada's foremost painters.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, I present to you Léon Bellefleur, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased

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