He was a draftsman, illustrator, painter, but above all a true genius of printmaking. Co-founder of the Circular Workshop, Louis-Pierre Bougie left this world on Sunday, on tiptoes, following pneumonia. Solitary, this ascetic of printmaking will have marked the world of printmaking. The tributes rocketed all day, Wednesday.
“I did not expect the news to spread so quickly,” said Wednesday to Press Geneviève Bougie, niece of Louis-Pierre Bougie.
> Reread “Louis-Pierre Bougie, the genius of intaglio, is no more”
Discreet man, solitary and devoted to his work, the master engraver was admired for his prints which amaze at first sight. Commissioner Claude Morissette, who has organized several exhibitions by Louis-Pierre Bougie – the last of which, at the Claude-Léveillé culture house, in October-November 2019 – is upset.
“I spoke to him earlier this year, everything was fine, even though we knew he was sick,” he says. I was very surprised by the news. It’s sad, he was a great artist and a great creator of artist books. ”
Talent, abnegation, humanity, these qualities of Louis-Pierre Bougie had been put to good use for the founding of the Circular Workshop in 1983 in Montreal. An artists’ center in printed arts that has become a hub for printmaking. A creation that stemmed in part from the trips that Louis-Pierre Bougie had made in Europe, at Lacourière-Frélaut, the Parisian engraving workshop now almost a hundred years old, and other workshops. To learn the mastery of lithography, intaglio and etching.
There he had met the printer François-Xavier Marange, who had worked with great artists such as Johnny Friedlaender, Wifredo Lam, Miró, Tàpies or Zao Wou-Ki and who eventually settled in Quebec in 1982 for, in a first, supervise the construction of the large circular presses.
This period is the beginning of post-modernity. Louis-Pierre is a pioneer of post-modern post-figuration, a new aesthetic language, a much more humanist current.
Commissioner Claude Morissette
Louis-Pierre Bougie did not hesitate to get involved, to support actions, as he did until his death with the organization Les Impatients. Already, in 1995, he had gone to demonstrate in front of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) with a hundred artists, including Charles Daudelin, Edmund Alleyn and René Derouin. The artists felt that the MMFA was not fulfilling its role as a museum of fine arts and were protesting against a car show, Mobile beauty: a century of automotive masterpieces, initiated by the director Pierre Théberge.
“They called the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, the‟ museum of fine tanks ”, recalls Bernard Lévy, former director of the magazine. Life of the arts. Louis-Pierre supported printmaking and engravers all the time, especially when printmaking was floundering. His commitment was to defend the widow and the orphan while promoting printmaking, rigorous engraving, because before the Circular Workshop, printmaking was the poor child of the visual arts. ”
Louis-Pierre Bougie was also very close to his collaborators. The printer Paule Mainguy worked for nearly 20 years with him at the Circular Workshop. Demanding, he appreciated his work.
It’s a shock to me, because I haven’t seen him since March. He was surprising and atypical, a true artist, free, without concessions, living simply to continue doing his work as an artist.
The printer Paule Mainguy
In 2017, Louis-Pierre Bougie had stepped out of his comfort zone. He had exhibited steel sculptures at the Éric Devlin gallery. Sculptures representing heads perched on scaffolding, which evoked the staging of African masks in anthropology museums.
“It’s a big loss for Quebec art,” says Éric Devlin, who supported the work of Louis-Pierre Bougie for years. He dedicated his artistic life to the human body. He was very athletic. He ran, cycled, loved tennis, boxing, and worshiped the human body because of his own life. ”
The artist François Vincent had known Louis-Pierre Bougie since his youth.
We lost someone who had an extraordinary personality.
The artist François Vincent
“We see it in the beautiful documentary by Bruno Baillargeon [L’œuvre des jours]. He was real, original, orderly, rigorous. I was very appreciative of his work and his consistency, ”continues Mr. Vincent.
The philosopher Georges Leroux was “devastated” Wednesday. “I had known him since the 1970s,” he says. He was a very close friend. I am devastated, because in the field of engraving and intaglio, he was the greatest. Albert Dumouchel’s equal. It has been recognized here and abroad. He was an admirable man and a true genius. ”
With Michaël La Chance, Georges Leroux paid tribute to their mutual friend in the catalog of the exhibition presented at the 1700 La Poste art center, in 2013.
Louis-Pierre was an ascetic, he had no desire for material goods. He lived, concentrated, in solitude, in his art to represent us. He was an artist of existence.
“He lived in his own world, a poetic world,” adds Isabelle de Melvius, director and founder of 1700 La Poste. He worked every day. We felt an inner peace in him. He was in agreement with himself. His departure is very sad. ”
Louis-Pierre Bougie will have produced around ten artist’s books, in particular The prince without laughing, in 1983, which included 12 etchings and a poem by Michael La Chance, also a great friend of Louis-Pierre Bougie.
“He belonged to a milieu of exceptional artists around the world, thanks to engraving,” says Michaël La Chance. By example, he enriched us, helped us to understand our existence and to be in the world. He loved to show his work to educate us in the gaze, in the silence. ”
On Tuesday, a friend of François Vincent and Paule Mainguy came to their door and showed them the greeting card that Louis-Pierre Bougie had sent her recently. “We immediately recognized the engraver, the strength of the line,” says François Vincent. There was something embodied, it’s true, a real authenticity. It will be necessary to pay him a tribute to the height of the man and the exceptional artist that he was. ”
Some links to reviews of his exhibitions
> (Re) read “Louis-Pierre Bougie: the thrilling expression of life”
> (Re) read “Unmissable Louis-Pierre Bougie”
> (Re) read “Louis-Pierre Bougie: the engraver of gravity”