I have no pre-conceived idea. Facing the blank paper with my mind empty of any literary ideas, I obey whatever impulse comes first. If I have the idea of applying the charcoal in the middle of the paper or at one of the sides, I do so without hesitation, and so I go on.

PAUL - ÉMILE BORDUAS (1905-1960), the leader of the avant-garde Automatiste movement and the principal author of the Refus global manifesto of 1948, had a profound influence on the development of the arts and of thought, both in the Province of Quebec and in Canada. Born in 1905 in the village of Saint-Hilarie, Borduas apprenticed with the painter Ozias Leduc before studying art in Montreal and Paris. After the publication of Refus global, he lost his teaching position in Montreal and within a few years left Quebec for New York and then Paris.


Borduas' move to New York in 1953 was of great importance to his artistic development, as he saw the work from the New York School of Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko.


He achieved some measure of international recognition in his final years in Paris, where he died in 1960.


Paul - Émile Borduas has been subject to countless international exhibitions, both during his lifetime and posthumously, and lends his name to the Prix Paul - Émile Borduas awarded each year to a distinguished Quebec visual artist.