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

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An inspired artist

Detail of a historical photograph of two women holding each other by the waist and over the shoulder. They are dressed in a formal way, outside in summer in front of a wooden fence.
Detail of a historical photograph of an elderly bearded man, wearing a hat, in front of the front door of a wooden house.
An inspired artist
An inspired artist
Detail from a historical photograph of a standing woman, wearing a formal dress, posing for the artist.

From left to right: Ozéma Leduc (right) and an unidentified friend, detail of a photograph of Ozias Leduc, taken from a glass negative (BAnQ Vieux-Montréal, photographic colorization: LB) • Antoine Leduc, the artist's father (detail) • Florence Bindoff (detail)

Women's portraits and familiar faces

An artist and his models

Ozias Leduc regularly asks his relatives to pose for his paintings. He started integrating photography into his work in the mid-1890s as a means to free his models from tiresome sessions.

He mainly used his younger sister Ozema as a model. She can be found in the 1894 painting called The Reader in which a teenage girl reads, an open book held in her hands. The sober background and light emanating from the subject's face are reminiscent of Rembrandt. As for the treatment of the subject, Leduc attaches great importance to intellectual activities such as reading, possibly an echo of his own youth.The artist will also ask Ozema to pose as the Virgin Mary in the preparatory stages of The Assumption in the church of Saint-Hilaire.

People also commission portraits from Leduc, either as a visual memory of their youth or for posterity. The artist paints not only important members of the community, such as clergymen and politicians, but also acquaintances and friends.

He made several portraits of friends, including one of Florence and another of Fred Bindoff, whom he was close to during the last thirty-five years of his life. Florence was renowned for her elegance and grace, and this is how Leduc so beautifully captured her.

Many of his female portraits were initiated by Leduc himself, in a less formal style. He knew how to accurately read his era and people from his entourage. Usually a private man, it's through these portraits that he reveals to us a certain intimacy.

What I'm partly looking for is likeness, which seems necessary to me up to a point; but it’s above all the character, my model’s usual ways, that I want to set. - Ozias Leduc

Portraits of women

Portraits of women
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