Jacques Cartier Market, Montreal, Early 1900s
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A Dog Cart in Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)
Much of Quebec has long had a rural character. As shown in these vintage postcards, the province’s resourceful people would routinely enlist their animals — even dogs! — in the daily chores.
Ox Cart in Rural Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)
Sleigh in Winter in Montreal (postmarked Apr. 3, 1911) — Note on card reads in part: “Dear Father, This is what they are doing way up here in April. It thaws very little even yet. . . . With love, H.K.I.”
Another Ox Cart in Rural Quebec (late 1940s/early 1950s)
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Lovely watercolor effect, simple signage and lines, very retro!
From the 1920s to the early 1960s, the automobile led the way to leisurely road trips and the chance for a quick getaway down newly paved highways across Canada and the U.S. The cozy roadside motel filled the need for an affordable, convenient place for the weary driver and family to kick back and relax in relative luxury with then modern conveniences (such as showers in each room, radio, TV and Hi-Fi!), as these vintage postcards attest.
While thumbing through a large group of vintage Canadian postcards at a local antique shop a half-dozen or so among the thousand-plus cards stood out because each featured a highly stylized moonlight view of their subjects, giving each card a dark and moody feel. Most were from about 1906 to 1908, with one as late as 1919, and all but one were marked as being printed by Valentine & Sons, a noted Scottish postcard publisher of the time with offices in Toronto and Montreal. A little online research revealed that the cards were collotype photographs taken in daylight with a full moon, clouds and lighting effects layered on top, after which the images were hand-tinted.
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Quebec Month / Installment 15
Even to a casual observer of Quebec culture, the predominance of the Catholic church, at least historically, in the province is evident in many ways, not the least of which is the prominence in many towns of a centrally located Catholic church and the widespread naming of streets and other places for saints. The Notre-Dame Basilica de Montreal, an impressive gothic structure situated in the Vieux-Montreal area of that city, is perhaps the crown jewel of all these. My lovely wife took these two images of the intricately ornate interior of the Basilica.
Quebec Month / Installment 12
Driving a couple of hours north of Quebec City in the beautiful Charlevoix region, we came across this bright red tractor along a scenic stretch of the St. Lawrence coast. Farm tractors are rarely situated this close to a shore line, so its rustic charm beckoned the camera.
This year marks the 5th Manif D’Art Biennale (actually the Manifestation internationale d’art de Quebec), a contemporary arts convocation hosted in Quebec City, Quebec. The Manif’s program consists of a series of exhibitions throughout May and into June throughout Quebec City of major national and international artists. That is a splendid time of the year to be in Quebec City (well, pretty much anytime is a good time of the year to be there). More on the Manif can be found at this link: http://manifdart.org/en.
A pleasant surprise is seeing several Atlanta connections to this major arts event. The first is the appointment of Sylvie Fortin, the Editor-in-Chief of Atlanta-based Art Papers magazine, as the curator for this biennale. This seems to me a brilliant choice, given the prominence of Art Papers and the direction that Fortin has taken it during her tenure over the past five years or so.
In the late 1990s, I did a good bit of art-related writing for a wonderfully quirky local publication called bluemilk. This was partly as a sort of hobby and outlet for my creative writing interests and also part of an effort to educate myself better about the artistic process at a time when I was teaching myself to paint (but only at best as a so-called “Sunday painter”). The dozen or so of us bluemilk-ers had a great deal of enthusiasm, creativity and chutzpah, but we were all candid about the fact that, while we had respectable foundations in art history and art technique, none of us had a strong grounding in the deeper dialogues and debates among the cognoscenti of the contemporary arts scene. We mainly knew what we liked and went with that. But what we also knew was that the folks over at Art Papers were definitely in the know about the underpinnings driving the direction of contemporary arts and we respected them greatly for that knowledge. So, Fortin’s appointment as curator validates that respect.
Fortin will be curating the Manif with the theme of “Catastrophe? Quelle Catastrophe!” The initial group of artists announced for the Manif hale from Quebec, Toronto, Vancouver, London, Copenhagen, New York, Miami and Atlanta, among other places. The two announced Atlanta artists are Katherine Taylor, noted for her haunting painted images of decay and devastation (represented by Marcia Wood Gallery: http://www.marciawoodgallery.com/artist/taylor_katherine/intro.html), and Sarah Emerson, remarkable for her colorful and whimsical abstracted landscapes (represented by Whitespace Gallery: http://www.whitespace814.com/artist_emerson.html).