Leonard Croteau. Bird Tree.

The featured artist this week is Leonard Croteau. The Carving is a Bird Tree with two pair of Cedar Waxwings. (Jaseur Des Cedres) It is about 19 inches tall and is signed on the base by Leonard Croteau with his mark. The Birds are mounted on painted driftwood with a carved and painted base. Email for more information.                       SOLD

Her are some more images:


Leonard Croteau. St-Etienne-des-Gres, Quebec. Bird Tree.

Leonard Croteau. St-Etienne-des-Gres, Quebec. Bird Tree.


Leonard Croteau. Bird Tree. detail. His Mark.

Leonard Croteau. Bird Tree. detail. His Mark.






Emile Bluteau. His first carving.

I am posting an image in the Sidebar of Emile Bluteau’s first work. It was carved in a chunk of White Birch stove wood that he had put aside to age for sculpting. It is an impressive carving, by one of Quebec’s foremost primitive artists. See the Gallery for more information about Emile and this work as well as  pricing details.


(The Sidebar is the image on the upper right of every page. I will be changing it every few days.)

Quebec Souvenir Art.

Some Notes on Quebec Souvenir Art.

* Shadow Boxes.

Quebec Folk Artists, inspired by the engravings of Massicotte, the Bronzes of Laliberte and  interpretations of them by other artists, reproduced them in their own work. The Bourgault family of artists made many of these, particularly Andre Bourgault, or his studio, and Celine Bourgault, who often signed her name to them. The work was often done by female artists as these images were sometimes very small and required small hands.

They were made in different sizes and they depicted traditional scenes of family and village life. The inside of Blacksmith shops. An interior scene of a Butcher’s shop. A tavern and General store. And family scenes of a kitchen or parlor with furniture and a grandfather clock. Always with people and a dog on the rug. If there was a window or an open doorway in the ‘room’, there would be a painted scene or a tiny piece cut from a local post  card to simlulate the view outside. They were made of Pine and Basswood (Tilleul) and always painted in watercolors.

A Bourgault example:

Bourgault Shadow Box. 'Le Forgeron'.

Bourgault Shadow Box. ‘Le Forgeron’.

I have seen wonderful little shadow boxes with interior scenes and covered by a window frame complete with sash and muntins (as though we, the viewer, were outside looking into the room) and a clear celluloid window pane. And one, in particular, signed in the lower right in ink: Celine Bourgault. It was a living room interior with a window on the opposite wall facing the viewer. Painted in the ‘window’ was a tiny view of the St. Lawrence River. This shadow box by Celine Bourgault was about 5 by 7 inches.

A Laliberte bronze (The Conversation is a popular theme Quebec folk art):

Laliberte. The Conversation.

Laliberte. The Conversation.

Some Background:

* (Ref.  Bronzes d’Alfred Laliberte, Legendes-Coutoumes-metiers de la Nouvelle France.  Librarie Beauchemin Limitee, Montreal. 1934.)

* (Ref: Nos Canadiens D’Autrefois. Edmond-J. Massicotte, Librairie Granger et Freres, Montreal. 1923.)

* (Ref: BOUCHARD, Georges. Vieilles choses, vieilles gens : silhouettes campagnardes. Préface de l’honorable Rodolphe Lemieux ; bois gravés de Edwin H. Holgate. Montréal : Librairie Granger Frères, 1943) Published in English under the title: “Other Days; Other Ways.”


*Relief Carvings. Les Bas reliefs.

Another sculptural form was relief carvings. From simple ones to the very elaborate. There were ones in the ‘flat plane’ carved style from Saint-Jean-Port-Joli; painted in water colors. And there were those more naïve and primitive; often painted in ‘as found’ colors – usually oil-based house paint. Some artists, like Yvonne Bolduc, made their own paints from materials at hand.

They carved and painted simple scenes like a house on a hill in winter and more developed themes like ‘The Doctors Visit’ or ‘The Mardi Gras at New Years’. ‘The Doctor’s Visit’ was carved by Yvonne Bolduc. Probably more than once. And ‘Mado’ Lizotte made fine applied reliefs of these themes several times. Both these artists have their works in Museum and private collections.

The materials used were Pine or Basswood panels and in the case of applied relief carvings ‘as found’ materials could include anything; any sort of material that was available.

(I once had a large and naive (1930’s) mounted shadow box under glass of a Gaspe Shore boat model. It was wonderfully painted and adorned with every kind of nautical element. All along the railing of the model were mounted the round red life preservers of the time. And they were actually real Life Saver candies (the name was on them). They seemed a logical choice in ‘as found’ work. The size was right too.)


A simple Applied Relief carving. Unsigned. (1930’s) A house in winter on the Gaspe shore:

House in winter. Gaspe Shore. Applied Relief.
House in winter. Gaspe Shore. Applied Relief.


A ‘bas relief’ carving by Yvonne Bolduc. “The Doctor’s Visit:

Yvonne Bolduc. The Doctor's Visit. 1950's.
Yvonne Bolduc. The Doctor’s Visit. 1950’s.


The reverse of The Doctor’s Visit. With provenance:

Detail of The Doctor's Visit.
Detail of The Doctor’s Visit.
*Works of Collage using Postage Stamps:
  These were done only by Les Franciscaines Missionaires de Marie; a Missionary group based in Quebec City. Some were signed by the particular artist but most were signed only by the Group. Their works were sold as souvenirs of Quebec to raise funds for the Missions. They were inspired by the same themes as other Quebec artists but their work was always scenes of Quebec; they never included people. See the post in the Biography pages under:
An Example:
Franciscaines Missionnaires de Marie.

Franciscaines Missionnaires de Marie.




Edmond Massicotte and his influence on Quebec Folk Art

Edmond Massicotte (1875-1929) was an engraver and an illustrator. His most important contributions were the studies and illustrations he made of Quebec folklore as well as of  the old  traditions and celebrations. First published under the title “Nos Canadiens D’autrefois” in 1923, it contained the first twelve plates that illustrated these old traditions. Included were commentaries by the ethnologist Marius Barbeau and others. More illustrations of different traditions were added to further editions. One was published posthumously.

These images  reflected the growing  interest  in Quebec culture, its history and the arts. Academy artists and Folk and Outsider artists showed this interest in their own work; from Laliberte to Archelas Poulin. Laliberte in his series of Bronze sculptures commissioned by the Quebec government and Archelas Poulin (and many other Folk Artists) in his automated scenic sculptures of traditional scenes (inspired by and modeled on Massicotte’s images).

Formal Academy artists, working in Baie-Saint-Paul, reflected these images of Massicotte as did the artists across the St. Lawrence River in Saint-Jean-Port-Joli. The Bourgaults made sculptures of many of Massicottes’ scenes. Madelaine Lizotte assembled bas relief carvings of almost every one of them (and signed them ‘Mado”) They could be found in her little gallery alongside the beautiful shore highway at Riviere-Madelaine in Gaspe.

Link to the Massicotte Book “Nos Canadiens D’Autrefois” (1923) Online:


A quote from The Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Online):

“Massicotte’s fame rests primarily on the 12 plates he published in Montreal in 1923 under the title “Nos Canadiens d’autrefois”. Most of them had already appeared in the Almanach du peuple, and they were now supplemented by commentaries from such prominent writers as Albert Ferland, Lionel Groulx, and Marius Barbeau. Five others, intended for a second volume that had not been completed at the time of Massicotte’s death, were added to them. The title of any one of them suffices to evoke a familiar picture, for example La bénédiction du jour de l’An and Le retour de la messe de minuit. ”

I will be posting for sale in the Gallery several  original prints from the first series; framed and under glass (Here is a link to them in the Gallery):



A print from the early series. Le Saint Viatique A La Campagne from 1916:

Edmond Massicotte. "Le Saint Viatique.." 1916.

Edmond Massicotte. “Le Saint Viatique..” 1916.


Edmond Massicotte. "Le Saint Viatique.

Edmond Massicotte. “Le Saint Viatique.



Edmond Massicotte. "Le Saint Viatique.

Edmond Massicotte. “Le Saint Viatique. Detail.


Massicotte’s Mark:

Edmond Massicotte. His Mark.

Edmond Massicotte. His Mark.


Some History of Folk Art and Artists in Quebec and Canada

   Have a look at the Artists Page. It is a list of all the known Folk and Outsider Artists in Canada. I am adding to it almost daily. Some of their work will be available for sale in the Gallery. I will be adding there as well. Use the search engine on the right of the site. All entries under that name will appear.

Here is an example of an Artist post: Les Mlles Blondeau, a little known and important family from Quebec City, active in the 1920’s and ’30’s:

Les Mademoiselles Blondeau. Sculptors. Quebec City area. Active 1920’s-1930’s. They signed with a stamp (Mlles H. Blondeau, Quebec) or wood punch; sometimes the mark was burnt into the wood and sometimes just stamped. And their work was often very good and very colorful. They usually made ‘bas relief’ or relief carvings though I have found one shadow box (unpainted) of a maple sugar scene.

An example; a ‘bas relief’ of two Quebec houses in winter (C. 1930). Stamped in lower left corner under the color:

Les Mademoiselles Blondeau Pair of relief carvings.

Les Mademoiselles Blondeau Pair of relief carvings.