Our latest offering in our ongoing Artists You Need To Know series is Louis de Niverville (1933 – 2019). Often described as a Canadian Modernist painter, this is only one place to stand when viewing his artworks and legacy. There was a consistent stream of ‘imaginative fantasy’ in his paintings that had as much to do with surrealism as with modernism. A rich reservoir of dreams, memories and stories both personal and more public, informed his imagery. His multi-faceted body of work was often manifest in his many commissions, from book illustrations to murals.
‘Self-taught, Niverville worked from 1957 to 1963 as a graphic designer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto alongside Dennis Burton and Graham Coughtry. The turning point in his work, when he considers he really started to paint, was in 1966-67 with a mural for Expo Theatre in Montréal. After that he developed a formidable technique, particularly with collage, to express an astonishing, visionary world often wrought from childhood memories. Niverville’s work is characterized by fresh and provocative thought. He directs his dreams, orchestrating their curious juxtapositions, strange happenings and colours into his paintings.’ (from the Canadian Encyclopedia)
His work is represented in the collections of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston), the Art Gallery of Hamilton, AGO – Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Canada Council Art Bank / Banque d’art du Conseil des arts du Canada, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington), McIntosh Gallery (London), MAC Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, National Gallery of Canada and The Robert McLaughlin Gallery.
A very insightful and moving testimony to de Niverville can be read here. In this remembrance, Tom Miller comments that ‘Louis’s uncanny talent for using his vivid dreams and memories as the basis for his work made him stand out in the Canadian art world.’