1948: Launching of Le Refus global
On Aug. 9, 1948, a handsome young group of artists and intellectuals gathered at a Montreal bookstore to launch an anti-religious and anti-establishment manifesto. Le Refus global (Total Refusal) was signed by 16 artists including such giants as Jean-Paul Riopelle and Paul-Emile Borduas. It would become one of the most important and controversial artistic and social documents in modern Quebec society.
They had come to launch an anti-religious and anti-establishment manifesto called Le Refus global (Total Refusal).
It was signed by 16 artists including painter Pierre Gauvreau, who recalled how he helped print copies of the original document in this clip.
The controversial booklet contained a number of essays, two short plays, drawings as well as photographs by different contributors but at its heart was the main text penned by painter and mentor Paul-Emile Borduas.
In Le Refus global, Borduas called for a total rejection of all conventional thinking and advocated a freedom of ideas.
It would become one of the most influential artistic and social documents in modern Quebec society.
• All 400 copies of le Refus global quickly sold out.
• The Automatists were inspired by their mentor Borduas, and influenced by French poet André Breton's stream-of-consciousness (automatic) style. They extolled the creative force of the subconscious.
• Pierre Gauvreau, who was 26 when he signed le Refus global in 1948, said the main message of the manifesto is that "God does not exist."
Also on August 9:
• 1988: Wayne Gretzky is traded to the Los Angeles Kings along with two other players. Gretzky played 10 seasons with the Edmonton Oilers and helped the team win four Stanley Cups.
Broadcast Date: Oct. 21, 1998
Guest(s): Pierre Gauvreau
Host: Lister Sinclair
Reporter: Alan Conter
Last updated: February 2, 2012
Page consulted on March 21, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
Artists who sign le Refus global manifesto also come under attack.
Paul-Emile Borduas pays a heavy price for his views.
The Automatists spearhead an exciting and uniquely Canadian art moveme...
Le Refus global is hailed as the founding document of modern Quebec so...
Quebec society is under the repressive thumb of the Catholic Church an...
Fellow signatories of le Refus global refuse to attend his funeral bec...
On Aug. 9, 1948, a handsome young group of artists and intellectuals g...
Le Refus global (Total Refusal), one of the most influential artistic ...