The painter Kittie Bruneau died on April 6 at the age of 92. In a free spirit, she will have crossed the last century by creating far from the schools and the mainstream. Her organic work is rooted in her experiences, both in Gaspé, where she spent her summers, and in the many countries of the world where she has lived.
« She has always been a woman on the fringes, ”says gallery owner Éric Devlin, who organized an exhibition of Kittie Bruneau in Montreal in 2017, but also a tribute exhibition at the Le Chafaud museum in Percé, in Gaspésie, in 2019.“ She was not a plastic artist from Molinari’s group. She has always done a very independent and very free painting. It was a free atom. “
Trained at the School of Fine Arts in the late 1940s, Kittie Bruneau then lived in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, where she met the Cobra group. “These are artists who came out of the aesthetic canons and the very formalist thought that prevailed in the 1970s,” continues Mr. Devlin.
“Kittie Bruneau defined herself as a surrealist artist who loved life,” he says, adding that his “joyful” paintings, often very colorful, are also often “politically engaged”.
He specifies that the Prime Minister Francois Legault chose a painting by Kittie Bruneau to decorate his official apartment in Quebec.
Kittie Bruneau’s work had been presented to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 1962 and to the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1966.
“In the summer of 1961, she settled on Bonaventure Island, across from Percé. At the time, about 160 people lived on the island before it was transformed into a national park and wildlife refuge by the government of Quebec in the early 1970s. This new environment quickly left its mark on Kittie Bruneau’s paintings. ‘she presented in Montreal in the 1960s. This colorful painting, joyful, sometimes grotesque, but deceptively naive and imbued with poetry, would become her trademark, ”writes Éric Devlin.
“My painting reads like a newspaper,” said Kittie Bruneau.
A great traveler, Kittie Bruneau has also collected influences in India, China, Haiti, Guatemala, Peru and Europe.
For Éric Devlin, she is one of the rare artists to have taken an interest in Native American cultures from here and elsewhere.