Roberts Gallery Blog
Roberts Gallery Blog

Featured Work: “En novembre” Clarence Gagnon

Title: ‘En novembre’

Plate size: 13.7 x 20.9 cm

1904 – 1905

15 impressions located: 1 dated 1904, 3 dated 1905, 9 dated 1906, 1 dated 1906 – 1907, and 1 undated

Collections: Library of Congress, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Montreal Museum of Fine Art, Musée national des beaux-arts du Quebec, National Gallery of Canada

Image Reproduced:

  • “A New Class of Art – The Artist’s Print in Canadian Art 1877-1920” Rosemarie L. Tovell – National Gallery of Canada, 1996 (Cover)
  • “Clarence Gagnon: Dreaming the Landscape” Hélène Sicotte & Michèle Grandbois with collaboration of Rosemarie L. Tovell – Musée national des beaux-arts du Quebec, 2006 (cat. raisonne 6)

“From his stay in Pont-de-L’Arche, Gagnon brought back the material that served him in executing ‘En novembre‘. Transposed to a small gold-coloured plate, the composition portrays the cold, rainy weather mentioned by the artist in a letter to his dealer, (James) Morgan.”

“Gagnon finely traced the bare branches of the trees that bend in the wind and blend with the mass of cloud soon to darken the entire sky. The long poplar trunks, adorned with balls of mistletoe, strain against the squall, which does not spare the flight of birds. The movement of the wind that sweeps the upper part of the composition right to left contrasts with the immobility of the shepherd, his dog and flock that have taken refuge in the solid haystacks, densely represented in a multitude of tight strokes. On the ground, time is suspended: it is the calm before the storm.”

“To create En novembre, Gagnon not only relied on etching but also explored the effects of aquatint and the roulette, visible in the textures of the ground. He made sparing use of a fine dry-point to inscribe some final strokes in the sky, as he did in subsequent prints. En novembre, which foreshadows the movement-filled landscapes with windmills, begins to show the expressive and dramatic vocabulary Gagnon drew from Rembrandt and assimilated through MacLaughlan. The Canadian would always remain attached to this plate, which he exhibited in the majority of the public presentations of his etchings.”

Excerpts from ‘Clarence Gagnon – Dreaming the Landscape” – Hélène Sicotte & Michèle Grandbois