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Still-life with Onions, 1902, by Suzor-Coté (Photo credit: the National Gallery of Art, Ottawa, Canada)

Still-life with Onions by Suzor-Coté, 1902 (Photo credit: the National Gallery of Art, Ottawa, Canada)


Many posts ago, I featured an artist by the name of Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté (April 6, 1869 – January 29, 1937).  Suzor-Coté was a friend of my grandfather’s family in Arthabaska, now Victoriaville, Quebec. I posted a painting of Suzor-Coté’s Pont Bourbeau,  showing a bridge on my grandfather’s family farm. I may also have shown the Rivière Bourbeau. In short, the Bourbeaus were friends of Suzor-Coté and, in all likelihood, my grandfather met my grandmother at the home of Suzor-Coté. My grandmother was an artist who worked as an assistant to a well-known artist. The artist had to be Suzor-Coté. Moreover, she treasured a certain painting she had placed above a large couch.

Many posts ago, I also wrote about French-Canadians in the United States, and that post was read by a WordPress author Jon Verville. The Vervilles and the Bourbeaus are relatives. Verville is a Bourbeau name. Jon is a descendant of Élie Bourbeau who is also my ancestor. I thought Pierre and Simon were the only Bourbeaus to come to North-America, but my sister tells me there was a third Bourbeau named Élie.

So one of the benefits of blogging is that one may meet a fine relative.

Le Père Verville, by Suzor-Coté, 1911 (Photo credit: Musée national des beaux-arts

Le Père Verville by Suzor-Coté, 1911 (Photo credit: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec)

Edict of Nantes of Revocation (1598 – 1685)

The Bourbeaus were Huguenots, French Calvinist protestants. On 13 April 1598, during the reign of Henri IV, king of France and Navarre, an edict of tolerance was promulgated: the Edict of Nantes. Under the terms of the Edict of Nantes, certain cities became a safe haven for Huguenots. However, the Siege of La Rochelle (1627-1628) proved that tolerance could not last. After the assassination of Henri IV (13 December 1553 – 14 May 1610), a former Huguenot, France was ruled by Cardinal Richelieu, the main architect of absolute monarchy. It was the Cardinal’s conviction that the French were to have one religion, one language, and one king. Given such a programme, the Huguenots had to be eliminated.

The Siege of La Rochelle was indeed a ruthless resurgence of hostility towards Huguenots. It was led by a pitiless Richelieu and lasted one year. At La Rochelle, approximately twenty thousand Huguenots died of starvation, but some five thousand survived, including at least one Bourbeau. He fled to the Anglo-Norman Islands and then left for New France. Many Huguenots had sought refuge in Nouvelle-France where several were merchants rather than farmers. Most Bourbeaus of Nouvelle-France left for the United States when the Edict of Nantes was revoked, in 1685.

Pierre Du Gua de Monts and Samuel de Champlain

Huguenots played a significant role in the founding of New France. Both Pierre Du Gua de Monts (c. 1564 – 1628), the founder of Acadie, and Samuel de Champlain (before 13 August 1574 – 25 December 1635), the founder of Canada and the official father of New France, were Huguenots. Champlain, however, concealed his religious preferences. Du Gua de Monts didn’t. Consequently, Champlain has long been considered the father of Acadie, which is not altogether the case. Champlain had travelled to Acadie with Pierre Dugua, Sieur de Monts or Pierre Du Gua de Monts, but as cartographer, rather than the organizer of an expedition. The expedition had been organized by Du Gua de Monts.

Marc-Aurèle de Foy Suzor-Coté

As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the Bourbeau family of Arthabaska were friends of artist Suzor-Coté who made at least two paintings of land owned by the Bourbeaus: the “River Bourbeau” (La Rivière Bourbeau) and the “Bourbeau Bridge under the Snow” (Le Pont Bourbeau sous la neige). We also owe Suzor-Coté a magnificent drawing of Le Père Verville, in sanguine.

I am therefore posting a few artworks by Suzor-Coté, including Le Père Verville and the above-mentioned Bourbeau paintings, to celebrate an extraordinary coincidence: meeting a relative blogging.

Moaning.2Evening Harmony 1917

Rivière Bourbeau, by Suzor-Coté




Moanings of the Wind, 1917 (Photo credit: Art Gallery of Canada)
Evening Harmony (study), 1917 (Photo credit: Art Gallery of Canada)
The Bourbeau River (source lost, now called Gosselin River)
Still-life with Daisies
Pont Bourbeau sous la neige (at the bottom of this post)

I have lost information concerning the provenance of two of my Suzor-Coté pictures: the Bourbeau River and the Bourbeau Bridge under the Snow. The Bourbeau Bridge sold at an auction in 2007. Prints of Suzor-Coté’s Still-life with Daisies are available commercially. The Galerie Walter Klinkhoff sells Suzor-Coté paintings, but many works are in private collections.

Giacomo Meyerbeer (5 September 1791 – 2 May 1864) 
Les Huguenots
“O beau pays”
Joan Sutherland, coloratura soprano (7 November 1926 – 10 October 2010)
suzor-cote-marc-aurele-de-foy-pont-bourbeau-sous-la-neige-1955410Micheline Walker
2 June 2013