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André Jasmin, who studied under Borduas from 1942 to 1944 and was a regular guest at Alfred Pellan's studio, played a major role in the birth of Modernism in Québec. As an artist whose work was showed at the 1943 "Sagittaires" exhibition, a defining moment of modern painting, he could have taken part in the 1948 quarrel between Borduas and Pellan, which profoundly divided the group of young exhibitors. His reflection and art could have taken the path of Automatism and the Refus Global manifesto, or he could have embraced the tenets set out in Prisme d'yeux, published under Pellan's direction. However, Jasmin refused labels and coteries because they interfered with his freedom as an artist and limited the fields of his exploration. His polymorphous esthetic endeavor, which was recognized as early as 1955 when he won the prestigious Painting Award at the Concours du Québec, gave way to the lyrical abstraction that he went on to refine. André Jasmin, who was described by the poet and writer Fernand Ouellette as a "painter of the inner life", became an architect of shapes.

Jasmin was highly influenced by Braque and Rouault; he soon turned away from figurative painting and chose abstraction as the privileged vehicle for his visual expression. His paintings, from 1950 to 1960, explored several esthetic avenues, spanning from vertical lines, to urban landscapes, and the softness of curves and oval shapes. The versatile artist however chose to look beyond painting and studied several pictorial techniques. He designed theatrical sets and costumes for companies such as Compagnons de Saint-Laurent, Compagnie des Masques and Ballets Ruth Sorel (1945-1950). He also discovered silk screening with much enthusiasm. Charcoal was his medium of choice; it held a major part in his art and allowed him to stage a creative dialogue with his evolving painting. From the very onset of his career in 1947, the art world and amateurs expressed a strong interest for his paintings, especially with his growing number of solo exhibitions. The Agnes Lefort and Denise Delrue galleries, the Galerie Libre de Montréal and the Collector's Gallery in New York - to name a few - opened their doors to the unique work of this talented young artist.

Jasmin did not confine himself to his studio or to the ascetic discipline of his artistic research. He was an active member of his community. He worked for several years as a private teacher and in 1958, he was hired at the Montreal School of Fine Arts. It was the beginning of a long career as a professor and art critic. He often spoke publicly. In 1966, he gave a conference at the National Gallery of Canada. Jasmin wanted for all to learn how to see, for all to access and appreciate art, and he had the necessary critical expertise to understand great masters. He presented the work of Cezanne, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Chagall, Bonnard, Pellan and Borduas to his avid audience. He also regularly collaborated with the CBC. Towards the end of the 1960's, he wrote and hosted eleven television programs on the history of sculpture and also directed special programs on Van Gogh, Borduas and Pellan.

Jasmin joined the faculty of the newly opened Université du Québec à Montréal in 1969, shortly as director of the Visual Arts Department and then as associate dean. However, his creative urge lead him to a new and fiery artistic period. In the early 1970's, he rediscovered the living model and he reconnected with the world of shape. His visual universe was transformed: under the influence of Bonnard, he explored the infinite possibilities of color, through curves and triangular compositions, imbued with a unique energy and movement.

The painter's creation has not faded. A rich yet unexplored work of art stemmed from the life of this enigmatic and fascinating individual. The Musée d'Art Contemporain de Montréal, Musée d'art de Joliette, Museum of London, Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, National Gallery of Canada and several private collectors acquired his art, which demonstrates the quality of his work and its universal appeal. His personal experience and environment created a sinuous path for his painting and charcoal but he faithfully remained generous. He believed it was the foundation of great art, as he wrote in 1948:

The artist is called to share his being, to give as much of his life to others, to ask others to give as much of theirs, to create a magnificent and obscure unity and thus reach harmony, which becomes further intoxicated with the presence of others. The artist, to whom men give so much, returns everything he has taken from them.

Martine Hardy