After her studies at the École des beaux-arts de Québec (1941-1942) under the guidance of Jean Paul Lemieux, Marcelle Ferron stood out among the other young artists in Montreal working toward a new form of expression. She met Paul-Émile Borduas in 1945, and was an active participant in the demonstrations and exhibitions of the Automatiste group from 1946 to 1953. Throughout her demanding but consistent career, Marcelle Ferron, a cosignatory of the Refus global, remained faithful to the esthetic principles that underlie the Automatiste theory, namely a deep consideration of gesture as an essential constituent of a work’s authentic character. Ferron spent several years in Paris, from 1953 to 1965, where she became familiar with the practitioners of lyrical abstraction. Her abstract paintings, characterized by energetic bursts, expressive movements and contrasting colours, gradually gave way to the play of colour and light as revealed by, and through her use of very pure whites. On her return to Québec in 1966, Ferron, a politically active artist, became involved in various democratic, trade union, and separatist causes. Fascinated by the many properties and potential of antique glass, she began to visit glass factories where she researched the material’s methods of fabrication. After she mastered the art, Ferron proposed several pieces in stained glass, many of which have integrated architecture or are displayed as public art.

Portait of Marcelle Ferron.
Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay (1988)