Corbeil Project

Curators : Denise Bouchard and Julie Alary Lavallée

From September 30 2023 to January 14 2024

About —

This fall, the Musée d’art de Joliette (MAJ) has invited the people of Lanaudière to take part in The Corbeil Project by lending artworks by Wilfrid Corbeil (1893–1979) from their personal collections to the Musée. This community exhibition is an opportunity to bring the eclectic universe of this prolific artist under one roof, chart its path, and broaden its scope.

A member of the Clerics of St. Viator (c.s.v.), Wilfrid Corbeil devoted his life to the advancement of art, culture, and heritage. He was a leading figure in the Lanaudière region, a man of faith and kindness who was equally persistent and determined. Corbeil worked as a decorator, a passionate teacher, painter, and great collector, and he successfully rallied widespread public support for the foundation and construction of the MAJ, for which he designed the plans. Wilfrid Corbeil left behind an abundant array of artworks, estimated to number over a thousand works and drafts. Among these are drawings, oil paintings, and gouaches depicting local and faraway landscapes, portraits, and religious-themed pieces.

The project has a dual mandate: to understand the breadth of his practice and to allow the community to take part in the museological processes involved in borrowing works of art. The goal of our Collections staff was to give lenders a behind-the-scenes look at the rigorous steps that are taken when art is loaned to the Musée, such as detailed cataloguing and the preparation of condition reports.

This fun and historical community project offers an unparalleled opportunity to understand the links between Corbeil’s artworks and their owners, the provenance of each piece, and the journey that led them here today. Our annual exhibitions of Wilfred Corbeil’s work have always been popular. But what has become of his other pieces sold over the years? Part of that answer can be found on these walls.

This exhibition showcases works owned by numerous individuals and those from the Musée’s collection, the most remarkable of which are on view in the permanent collection gallery. It is the result of a rich, collaborative effort between the two custodians of the Wilfred Corbeil archival fonds: the Société d’histoire de Joliette-De Lanaudière and the Musée d’art de Joliette.

We would like to thank the local community, Father Jacques Houle (c.s.v.), and the Clerics of St. Viator for their invaluable assistance.

Wall labels and plan (in French)

Biographies —

Wilfrid Corbeil (Saint-Lin-Laurentides, 1893 – Montréal, 1979) joined the Clerics of St. Viator (C.S.V.) in 1912 and went on to study humanities at the Sorbonne and the Institut Catholique de Paris. Upon his return from France in 1931, and until 1951, Corbeil worked at the Joliette seminary where he founded a drawing studio, edited the newspaper L’Estudiant, led classes in literature, and organized art exhibitions. Father Corbeil, an artist himself, was active in the cultural milieu and produced a large body of work as both a painter and an architect. In 1946, together with French artist André Lecoutey, he founded Le Retable, an association of artists and artisans that participated in the renewal of sacred art in Québec. He was a notable figure behind the establishment of the Musée d’art de Joliette, which he directed from 1967 to 1976. His works are part of the collections of the MAJ and of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

Denise Bouchard has always been passionate about art and history. Always learning, she is actively involved in the arts and cultural scene in the Lanaudière region. She has been a volunteer guide at the Musée d’art de Joliette for many years, and shares her experience as a member of several committees. She is also President of the Société d’histoire de Joliette – de Lanaudière, combining her two main interests.

This exhibition is produced by the Musée d’art de Joliette, in collaboration with the Société d’histoire de Joliette – De Lanaudière, and presented by the Ville de Joliette.

Images in the banner:

Views from the Fall Opening at the Musée d’art de Joliette, 2023. Photo: Ysabelle Latendresse

Wilfrid Corbeil, c.s.v., L’Avenue Beaudry, 1935. Courtesy of the Clerics of St. Viator. Photo © Musée d’art de Joliette