Quebec in the 1940s was a different place than the one we know today.

The absolute political power of the Union Nationale of Maurice Duplessis was totally subservient to the will of the clergy who, out of a desire for domination, kept the people under a religious yoke which the fervent Catholic prime minister jealously guarded.

It was under his auspices that Normand Hudon began his career as an artist.

In fact, he passed the entrance examination at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal in 1947, where he was directly admitted to second year. He remained there for two years to learn drawing with Jean Simard, decoration with René Chicoine and Maurice Raymond, advertising with Henry Eveleigh.

He began working as a caricaturist in 1948 but left for Paris the following year where he studied painting and drawing for five months at the Academy of Montmartre, under the direction of Fernand Léger. There he also met Pablo Picasso.

His time spent in Europe, where the atmosphere is definitely more free and creative than in Quebec, had an influence on the very very way of thinkingof Hudon who begins to use his position as a cartoonist to denounce the stranglehold of the Church and an authoritarian government on the life of the Quebec people. He spent the late 1950s and early 1960s as a polemicist both in “Le Devoir” and “La Presse” until 1963.

This iconoclastic attitude of a shameless commentator was also reflected in his work in the various media, where he had a prominent place until the early 1970s.

It is then that the caricaturist Hudon leaves his place to Hudon the “serious” painter. His use of oil, from the 1970s, has political significance in the Quebec context. It must be understood as another critical and satirical manifestation of society.

He then represents the archetypes of a society that changes at a blazing speed and he sets his sights on some of the quirks of the same society. Judge lawyers and clergy, all suffer Hudon’s good-natured criticism.  He is now praised as one of Canada’s leading cartoonists and recognized as having directly contributed to the Quiet Revolution in Quebec.

 

Available paintings by the artist : 

Normand Hudon - religieuses - nuns

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Normand Hudon - religieuses - nuns