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Ozias Leduc, an artist between Heaven and Earth
Digital Museums Canada

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The wise man of the mountain

Detail of an apple blossom in the spring with clear skies in the background.
Black and white photograph of Ozias Leduc, waist up, aged 70 to 75. He wears a hat, turns his head to the right and has a beard. He has his left hand in his trouser pocket.
Photo showing a small wooden house, with a fireplace on one side and a staircase leading to the front door on the other.
Interior view of the birthplace with spinning wheel, table and furniture.
The wise man of the mountain
The wise man of the mountain
Detail of a church decoration where we see painted canvas juxtaposed with a decorative wall motif.
Detail of a period photo showing the faces of Ozias Leduc and a friend.
Image showing Ozias Leduc, seated and seen from behind, painting a religious scene.
Photo of burning votive candles inside a darkened church.

From left to right: Apple tree in bloom • Ozias Leduc • Top-left: Family house • Top-right: Interior of Leduc's family house • Bottom-left: Detail of a church decoration • Bottom-right: Ozias Leduc (at right) and a friend (detail) • Ozias Leduc in his studio • Votive candles inside a church

Presentation

Ozias Leduc (1864 - 1955)

Ozias Leduc is a major figure of 20th century Canadian art. He was born in Saint-Hilaire on October 8, 1864 and lived there all his life. He tirelessly seeked an ideal of beauty. A native of Montérégie, he was surrounded by abundant and lush nature.

Son of a carpenter and apple grower, he starts learning drawing and basic artistic skills at the age of sixteen, encouraged by his teacher Jean-Baptiste-Nectaire Galipeau. Over the years, his attachment to St-Hilaire's mountain, its orchards and surrounding countryside continues to grow. From a very young age, this peaceful environment marks his life and profoundly influences his work.

Ozias Leduc is first and foremost a church decorator. He trains with painters such as Luigi Capello (an italian artist, born in Turin in 1843) and Adolphe Rho (painter and sculptor from Quebec, born in 1839). He then pursues his apprenticeship by copying etchings and various art reproductions. During his career, Leduc painted numerous murals in many churches of the province of Quebec, the Maritimes and New England. The decoration of the church of Saint-Hilaire is one of his most important masterpieces.

For Ozias Leduc, art is imbued with certain laws that govern humanity and the universe that surrounds it. His contemporaries recognized the quality of his portraits, his landscapes and his still lifes. An indefatigable artist, he died in 1955 in Saint-Hyacinthe at the age of ninety, just before completing one of his last works, the decoration of the Notre-Dame-de-la-Presentation church in Shawinigan.

Virtual exhibition's main sections

Here is a description of this website's main themes:

We'll explore in this section how his sisters, friends or even "Mountain Fairies" become at one time or another an inspiration or reference for his work. We'll also see in which way qualities and precepts of European Masters are integrated in his art.

An important church decorator, Leduc worked on 31 projects in Quebec, the Maritimes and New England. This section shows his spiritual sensitivity as well as his pragmatism in the creation of these projects, where inspiration and discipline live in perfect harmony.

The village of Saint-Hilaire, the artist's birthplace, is the starting point that shows the importance of his living environment. A visit to the places of his life allows us to better understand his unique journey, combining rurality and spirituality.

The life and work of Ozias Leduc is marked by important milestones. From his youth to his greatest achievements, we'll witness the various stages of the artist's journey.

As an artist who is both educated and profoundly attached to nature, Ozias Leduc draws his inspiration from his loved ones, his environment and his faith. We'll discover in this section his techniques, artistic approaches and various contexts of creation.

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