Claude Tousignant

(b. 1932)

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(1932– )

Canadian abstract painter, born in Montreal. From 1948 to 1951 he studied at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts School, where he was introduced to geometrical abstraction. In 1952 he went to Paris, but he was not impressed by current French painting and returned to Canada the following year. Tousignant's work is rigorously abstract and concerned primarily with colour: ‘What I wish to do is to make painting objective, to bring it back to its source—where only painting remains, emptied of all extraneous matter—to the point at which painting is pure sensation.’ His most characteristic works of the 1950s employed clear, intense colours, laid on in long, closely packed, asparagus-like forms. In 1959, with three other Montreal painters, he founded the group Nouveaux Plasticiens, whose work tended towards Hard-Edge abstraction. On a visit to New York in 1962 he was impressed by the work of Barnett Newman and in pursuit of his aim ‘to say as much as possible with as few elements as possible’ he adopted large, austere rectangular shapes. This in turn led to concentric ‘target’ images and to the use of circular canvases in 1965. Tousignant has also made sculpture.

Subjects: Art.

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