Crédit Photo : Serge Cantin


Tribute to Louis-Pierre Bougie

July 8 - August 21, 2021

Thursday, July 8, from 5 pm to 7 pm
To register :

It is with great emotion that Atelier Circulaire announces an exhibition dedicated to Louis-Pierre Bougie, from July 8 to August 21, 2021.

The exhibition Noir de Bougie offers a panorama of the engraved work of this major figure of printmaking in Quebec through the eyes of printer Paule Mainguy.

The exhibition revisits several strong elements of his artistic practice: burin engraving and spit bite, the influence of Parisian workshops, poetry from the artists' books, and also the deep attachment to the Atelier Circulaire that he co-founded.

In a tender and sincere tribute, the exhibition Noir de Bougie retraces an exceptional artistic journey through a series of testimonies, archival images and a selection of works, some of which will be shown to the public for the first time. Ce qui résiste, an artist's book produced in collaboration with the poet Martine Audet and printed posthumously, will thus be unveiled.

The vernissage will take place on Thursday, July 8, from 5 to 7 pm. It will be an opportunity to gather Louis-Pierre's friends, members of the Atelier Circulaire and all art lovers who admire his work. A speech will be given at 5:30 pm.


Text by Paule Mainguy

Noir de bougie [lamp black] is the name of a color, of course if we consider that black as a color. Louis-Pierre Bougie loved black and black ink. But not only that, he loved the black stone with which he drew for so many years, black humor, film noir and of course black coffee.

It all started for me in 2001, a decisive and memorable year. I was starting a new job, quite bluntly and sincerely: intaglio printmaker at Atelier Circulaire, founded by Louis-Pierre and a handful of colleagues and friends, now became a promising place against all odds.  Louis-Pierre frequented relentlessly as long as he could. In spite of my inexperience at the beginning, he did not hesitate to trust me: I was not aware that he had worked with grand master printers in Europe and the United States. His roles were distributed, he was not only going to be a client, but also a friend whom I was going to see very often. 

Louis-Pierre was a character. He was atypical, sometimes dark and very often intimidating for those who did not know him. He had a splendid sense of humor and his repartee was at least surprising, sometimes terrifying. An uncompromising artist, a man of few words, he was straight to the point. He was a runner until the end with the breath of a marathoner for his new artist's book. He needed to be that way.

Louis-Pierre loved printmaking. He loved to walk into a studio. He loved studio life: the tools, the copper, the varnishes, the resins, the grain box, the "perchlo", the paper, the inks and technicians and colleagues, his family. Furthermore, he loved working in the big Parisian workshops where his notoriety was not an issue, and he was respected. Above the stove, in a moment of proximity, many things happened; big and small. There were good days and there were not so good days. The wiping of a Louis-Pierre plate was not like the others. You had to pause for a long time to look for the light, the light of the shadow and the absence of groove.

It was also on the stove that these suspended and weightless bodies, a kind of ceaseless self-portrait, gained and regained their gravity, and their humanity. This was where we talked about the latest detective novel, the latest movie, and friends. Caring about my moods and his editions, Louis-Pierre would call me almost daily just to check on me, to tell me that he had bought a package of Arches paper or to find out when he could sign. Signing the prints gave him great moments of pride and satisfaction, like adding the marbles he had won to his bag.

Louis-Pierre practiced a rare and unknown technique. This does not make him any less of an exceptional engraver with the absolute mastery of the burin. Anyone who has held a burin in his hands would know what I mean.  Observing his obstinate sharpening and the unstoppable use of his faithful tools, the extension of his hand and the transmission of his talent was pure poetry. The poetry of the workshop of course is, like the black of his engravings, the noir de Bougie...

To consult Louis Pierre Bougie's portfolio, here's the link on our website

Testimonies of Atelier Circulaire's members

(Click on the image of your choice to discover the testimonies of our members)