||July 6, 2007
Clermont Duval Mattawa’s Magical
I have wanted to write about and recognize some of the many
outstanding regional artists in our area for a long time to add to my stories on
the late Gordon Dufoe and T.C. Cummings. One of the problems is that there are
so many good artists that it is hard to choose. A good place to start is with a
couple of artists I know and admire like Clermont Duval from Mattawa and Jack
Lockhart from Corbeil. Both are highly productive artists who have their own
galleries and sell their paintings, prints and associated framing. Today I will
look at the work of Clermont Duval.
||Clermont Duval in his Gallery on Main Street,
Mattawa with his paintings in background. D. Mackey photo.
I have know Clermont since 1989 when I was curator of the
Mattawa Museum and sponsored an exhibition of 35 of his early works at the
Museum for a month 18 years ago this month. The show was a part of the then
recently formed Mattawa and District Arts Council. In those days Clermont
painted in his spare time while working with his brother Gaetan in their
jewellery store on Main Street Mattawa. His interest in art goes back to his
childhood and continued when he came to Mattawa from Quebec with his family in
1959 when his father set up a saw mill on Snake Creek and on Hwy 17 W.
In 1973 he suffered severe burns on 50% of his body
including his hands and his art seemed in jeopardy. Within a year he was
combining his passion for writing and art in graphic books he illustrated like
comic books. His best known book was his 6th, about Marie
Chapdelaine, Louis Hemon’s heroine. Three hundred of his drawings are in the
Hemon Museum in Quebec.
Shortly after his Mattawa show he began to create paintings
based on imaginative stories he wrote and to start to produce prints of these
paintings. Along the way the completely self-taught artist took courses from
Bruce St. Clair and Robert Bateman. By 1994 a section of the jewellery store
became an art gallery and his business has grown and prospered. He now paints
every day and works in the gallery part time. His work has sold widely and some
of his limited edition numbered prints are sold out. Articles on his work have
appeared in several American art magazines. For information on his work log on
to his website
www.clermontduvalartgallery.com or drop in afternoons at the gallery and
talk to him personally. The gallery also offers framing and a full fine art
printing service on archival paper and canvas.
As mentioned there are stories behind some of his paintings
a summary of which appears below each such painting on the frame. Samples are
available on his website. In 2005 author Rod Kelly took some of Clermont’s
stories and expanded on them and added eleven of Clermont’s beautiful coloured
prints of the paintings to produce a fascinating book, Children in the
Wilderness. Copies are available in the Gallery.
I enjoyed a talk by Clermont at a North Bay Arts Council
event a couple of years ago where he talked about his art and about another of
his remarkable creative explorations. His interest in illusion and fantasy,
shown elsewhere in his work was expressed in a couple of paintings with a
brilliant and unique twist. The painting with its story was expanded upon when
a light was projected from behind adding additional startling images to the
painting animating it powerfully. Ask for a demonstration at the gallery.
||Clermont Duval (rt) and brother Gaetan
presenting painting of Anahareo at Anahareo’s 100th birthday in
Mattawa in 2006. D. Mackey photo.
I should also mention that Clermont did a painting of
Mattawa’s Gertrude Bernard, Grey Owl’s Anahareo, whose 100th birthday
was celebrated in Mattawa in June 2006. The painting remains in the Mattawa
Museum as a part of the Anahareo display. Prints are available. Dr. Kristin
Gleeson who is writing a book on Anahareo was in Mattawa recently and was
presented with a print of the painting. Ask to see a copy if you visit the
I should also mention that Clermont’s son Costel is
developing as an artist and has his paintings available at the gallery. The
only non Duval work available is an occasional Gordon Dufoe painting that
Clermont sells when available. If looking for a Clermont Duval painting (or a
Gordon Dufoe) bring your chequebook and get a remarkable original or print for
your home (and a good investment for the future). In Mattawa you will see
Experience Mattawa signs encouraging a tour of the town including the Museum on
Explorers’ Point overlooking the Ottawa River. The Gallery at 313 Main Street
is open 9:30-5:30 Monday to Thursday, Friday 9:30-8pm, Sunday 12-4.
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