Joseph Légaré


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(1795–1855). An ‘artiste engagé’, Légaré was much involved in the political life of his troubled times. Known as a Patriote, he was imprisoned in Quebec in 1837 but released shortly thereafter. In 1849 he joined Papineau's Annexation Party, which proposed union with the United States, but he ended his life as a legislative councillor in Quebec. Légaré was self-taught as an artist, learning his craft by copying the paintings of the Desjardins Collection, a group of religious paintings imported from France after the revolution. In his paintings he documented the main events in the life of the people in Quebec: Cholera Plague in Quebec (1832), The Fire at St Roch (1845), Scene near Château Richer (1849). He painted many landscapes; his Landscape with Wolfe Monument (c. 1840) at the Musée du Québec is probably his best-known painting. Lord Elgin, George III, and Queen Victoria were also his subjects. His own collection of paintings and engravings, which he declared in 1833 ‘the richest ever known in Canada’, is now part of the Quebec Seminary Collection.

From The Oxford Companion to Canadian History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History of the Americas.

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