Artwork by Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté,  La compagne du vieux pionnier

Marc-Aurèle Suzor-Coté
La compagne du vieux pionnier

bronze sculpture
incised signature, date (1912) and inscription (”Copyrighted - Canada 1914” and “USA”) on the base; stamped “Roman Bronze Works N.Y.” on the reverse side of the base
15.75 x 16.25 x 9.5 ins ( 40 x 41.3 x 24.1 cms ) ( overall )

Sold for $7,080.00
Sale date: May 29th 2018

William Patrick O’Brien, Montreal
Archibald Frederick Bentley, Montreal
By descent to the present Private Collection, Ontario
Pierre L'Allier, Suzor-Coté, L'oeuvre sculpté, Musée du Québec, Quebec City, 1991, pages 48-49
The faithful companion to “Le vieux pionnier canadien”, Pierre L'Allier describes “La compagne du vieux pionnier” as more discrete through her depiction than that of her partner, whose strong personality is imposed by the sculptor. Unlike her husband, “La compagne's” world is defined within the home, Suzor-Coté including clear detail in the quilted texture of the sitter's skirt (suggesting homespun clothing) and the grained design of the floor beneath her chair. Even at her advanced age, she continues to knit, Suzor-Coté showing his preoccupation with the gestures of “La compagne”, paying special attention to his representation of the hands of the old woman, which show clear signs of strength and arthritic wear.

L'Allier notes that “Le vieux pionnier canadien” and “La compagne du vieux pionnier” form a pair of inseparable figures, completing a cycle of existence, the husband and wife symbolizing the tenacity and perseverance of rural life.

Originally owned by W.P. O’Brien of Outremont, Quebec, a partner in the Montréal firm of stockbrokers, O’Brien & Williams, Suzor-Coté’s “Le vieux pionnier canadien” (Lot 7) and “La compagne du vieux pionnier” were likely purchased soon after their casting. Archibald Frederick Bentley worked for the firm and, when visiting the home of W.P. O’Brien, would sit and wait in the living room, the pair of bronzes on prominent display on the mantel of the fireplace. Upon the passing of O’Brien, Bentley acquired the pair of sculptures from the estate, the pair remaining in the family until this offering.

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Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté
(1869 - 1937) RCA

Suzor-Coté was born in 1869 in the village of Arthabaska, Quebec. Although the young Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté excelled in both musical and artistic pursuits, his love of painting won precedence and he travelled to Paris in 1891 for three years of art studies at the École de beaux-arts. He returned to North America briefly, pursuing commission work, before returning to Europe for an extended period between 1897 and 1907.

By 1906 he had left behind the academic realism of his early work, developing instead a bold impressionistic style. Once back in Canada he found his greatest inspiration in the Canadian landscape itself. He painted landscape in a forceful impressionistic style which was unfamiliar to Canadian audiences of the time.

The multi-talented Suzor-Coté was also easily able to make the shift from painting to working in three dimensions. His bronzes were cast in New York at the Roman Bronze Works, and became sought after by collectors in Canada and the United States. Suzor-Coté won the Jessie Dow prize for best painting at the Art Association of Montreal in 1914 and again in 1925. By 1925, he had made a significant contribution to impressionism in Canada, influencing younger artists to paint the Canadian landscape in a new manner.