René Richard, RCA (1895–1982)
René Richard is remembered as a remarkable and charming man who followed his passions. He spent the first half of his life in search of himself, surviving in the wilderness in harsh conditions. Richard’s father had emigrated from Switzerland to settle in Alberta, but Richard chose a nomadic existence among the Cree and Inuit in Canada’s North. All alone in these wide empty spaces, Richard became an artist. In 1927, he decided to study painting in Paris, where he met Canadian painter Clarence Gagnon.
Upon his return to Canada in 1930, he again took up trapping, this time in Manitoba, before finally settling in Baie-Saint-Paul where he spent the rest of his life, painting the luminous, brightly-coloured landscapes of the Charlevoix region in a style halfway between traditional figurative painting and the emerging Quebec expressionism of the 1950s.
Richard’s work shines a light on many aspects of Canada’s natural landscape and social history and represents a major contribution to Canadian art.