Clarence Gagnon R.C.A.

Street in Granada, 1904

oil on board
8x14 in.
$18,000 Cdn.

Watson Art Galleries, Montreal
Private collection

In 1904, with the support of wealthy Montreal patron James Morgan, Clarence Gagnon travelled to Paris from Montreal to study at the Academie Julian. The twenty four year old Gagnon had just begun to find footing in his burdgeoning career, and was paid by Morgan, who owned Morgan’s Department store, a monthly fee to produce twelve paintings per year. The financial stability was welcome, and allowed Gagnon to devote himself to his work in Europe.

In April of that year, Gagnon and fellow artist Edward Boyd took a short trip from Paris to Spain. The two were classmates at the Academie Julian, and would remain close for the remainder of their lives. The pair visited a number of cities, including Toledo, Madrid and Seville, along with the subject of our painting, Granada. A picturesque city in Southern Spain, Granada’s sunny skies and whitewashed buildings are illustrated beautifully in this fluid sketch. Gagnon would do several sketches and more detailed etchings of the streets here, capturing the Spanish archictecure dotted with people going about their daily lives.

Clarence Gagnon is best known for his rural Quebec landscape paintings and the illustrations for Louise Hémon’s novel Maria Chapdelaine. Gagnon was also an award winning printmaker, a passionate outdoorsman, and an active promoter of Quebec handicrafts. Clarence Gagnon was born in a small village in rural Quebec. Although he…