Jean Palardy

Born: 1905  |  Died: 1991

A bit of background for anyone interested in sources.

Jean Palardy. Author. Painter. Ethnologist. Montreal, Quebec. Active 20th century.

Jean Palardy was an Academy trained artist (he was a student under Charpentier at l’Ecole des beaux-Arts de Montreal) and is listed here, not for his art, but for his influence in the field of naive, and primitive art and artists in Quebec. This influence began in the late 1920’s. As an ethnologist, his studies, collections  and writings about the early traditions, and the early artists and artisans who reflected them, influenced contemporary artists as well as collectors across Quebec and North America. And still does. (Nettie Sharpe and many others come to mind.)

Perhaps best known for his work:”The Early Furniture of French Canada”, published in 1963; M. Jeam Palardy was also an ethnologist as well as an artist and painter. As an ethnologist (working with Marius Barbeau) he studied and wrote about the early traditions in Quebec society including the folk arts and trades; building and cataloging collections of artifacts, stories and songs. He spent some years between the two World Wars living with his wife and partner Jori Smith in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec (See Reference below) where he collected the work of early naive folk artists and met and worked with the naive artists of the 1930’s as well as  artisans of Charlevoix County. Along with other Academy trained artists he encouraged them with help finding gallery space in larger centers and, in the case of Aurore Benoit and other hooked rug makers, providing subject matter and designs for their ornamental hooked mats.

Jean Palardy was the co-founder of le Societe d’art contemporain and was the first vice-president. His career was many faceted; he was a film maker (producer and cameraman for the NFB) and a Museum consultant for several museums in Canada as well as a designer.

A hooked  example of one of Jean Palardy’s rug designs:

Hooked Silk and Cotton mat from a Jean Palardy design. 500.

Hooked Silk and Cotton mat from a Jean Palardy design.


The label on the reverse:

Palardy design. Detail of the label on the reverse.

Palardy design. Detail of the label on the reverse.


Ref: Smith, Jori. Charlevoix County: 1930. Ottawa: Penumbra Press, 1998. A personal account by Jori Smith of her and Jean Palardy living and boarding with local families out in the country side ‘Rangs’ , or side roads of Charlevoix. Lively and fascinating reading, the book includes illustrations of their own work.


Ref: Website with a biography of Palardy: 

Ref: Along Quebec Highways. Tourist guide. Department of Highways and Mines. Quebec. 1930. Pictures and maps of Quebec at that time. Smith and Palardy certainly had a copy as did tourists wandering the back roads of Charlevoix and the Gaspe Peninsula.