Andre Bourgault,

Born: 1898  |  Died: 1957

Andre Bourgault. Sculptor. Painter. Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec. Active mid-20th Century.

Andre Bourgault worked in his youth as a sailor, lumberjack and  woodworker. He began carving in 1929 and in 1932 was invited by his older brother Medard to join the studio that he had established in the village of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. By 1935 Andre  had his own workshop. Working with Andre were the two nephews Alphonse and Leon Toussaint. As his brothers, Medard and Jean-Julien became focused on religous themes and studio work, Andre Bourgault became the only one of the three brothers working in “l’art strictement paysan” (‘strictly folk art’).  Eventually, Andre Bourgault taught flat plane carving in his own studio workshops and there were many carvers over the years producing their own wood carvings under the studio imprint. There can be some confusion over which artist actually made a work with the stamp: ‘l’atelier Andre Bourgault’.

Andre Bourgault signed all of his his own work. He signed with a chisel on the larger pieces, and often used a pen to sign the smaller painted carvings (look for the signature on the back of the base of the carving, behind the heels of the figure). Those works stamped on the base: “Atelier Andre Bourgault” were never made by him; but by a student worker. Here is an example. “Eleve” is the french word for student:

The 'Eleve' mark on the base of a Bourgault carving.

The ‘Eleve’ mark on the base of a Bourgault carving.

 

All three Bourgault brothers seemed to carve their figures from life. The faces of the people that they carved were always different, and the expressions were always recognizable. They could be very haunting; something not easy to achieve in a carving perhaps two or three inches tall.

Andre Bourgault also painted. Seen: a ‘Massicotte’ scene of a farm worker plowing with a team of oxen. Oil on board in ‘as found’ colors (see photo below).

An image from the Gauvreau Book (Artisans du Quebec, les Editions du Bien Public, 1940): Andre, Jean-Julien and Medard Bourgault at their studio in St-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec in the late 1930’s:

Medard Andre Jean-Julien Bourgault from the Gauvreault Book

Medard Andre Jean-Julien Bourgault from the Gauvreault Book

 

Here is an example of his mid-career work. In Basswood, about 11 inches long and signed with a chisel. c. 1940:

 

Checker Players by Andre Bourgault.

Checker Players by Andre Bourgault.

 

An example of his earlier work. The head of a woman; a very fine wood sculpture.:

Andre Bourgault Head of a Woman

Andre Bourgault: Head of a Woman

 

Plowing with oxen. Andre Bourgault. Oil on Panel. ( 1930’s):

Andre Bourgault. Oil on panel. 1930's.

Andre Bourgault. Oil on panel. 1930’s.

Carving of a Women. 1930’s. With his mark.:

Carving of a Woman. 1930's. Andre Bourgault. Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec.

Carving of a Woman. 1930’s. Andre Bourgault. Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, Quebec. Private collection.

The mark on the base in script:

Andre Bourgault mark in script.

Andre Bourgault mark in script.

A very fine example by Andre Bourgault. C. 1950:

Showing his range of expression.

Detail of a Woman Dancing by Andre Bourgault. c.1950

Detail of a Woman Dancing by Andre Bourgault. c.1950

Andre Bourgault working alone on a carving of The Stump Pulling:

Andre Bourgault. At work on The Stump Pulling.

Andre Bourgault. At work on The Stump Pulling.

 

 

A Pair of Quebec Figures by Andre Bourgault. (McCord Museum Website):

http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/scripts/search_results.php?Lang=2&artist=00026