Lise Gervais


Lise Gervais (1933-1998) was a renowned Québécois painter, sculptor, and professor. She is also one of the most successful female artists of her generation.

Although she was not a signatory of the Borduas’ Refus Global, Gervais’ style and approach were synonymous with the spontaneity and liberation of Les Automatistes. Aesthetically, Gervais synthesizes the best techniques from both Riopelle and Borduas, creating a language of painting that is distinctly her own and immediately recognizable.   

Gervais’ painting technique involved layering thick, broad applications of paint using a palette knife or spatula, contrasted with minimal blending. As a result, her compositions are composed of bold, true, and undisturbed colors.

“Je dresse le bûcher moral” is a stunning look at Gervais’ weighted, textural aesthetic. In contrast to the density of her application, Gervais juxtaposes the fragmented swathes of color with soft, vast fields of white and patches of black, a remarkable addition that further intensifies her already rich palette. Gervais typically limits the number of colors used on her canvases to a small handful. In this exceptional work, Gervais uses saturated orange, forest green, Yves Klein blue, and cherry red. Color is mostly applied in a thick impasto, or very thinly, almost like a stain, to reveal the texture of the canvas. 

Today Gervais’s work can be found in public collections across the country and beyond including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, New York) to mention a few. 

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

“Je dresse le bûcher moral”

Canada, 1969

Oil on canvas

Signed and dated by artist (bottom right)

48”H 48”W

Detailed condition report by request 

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