Nova Scotia

Painter Jacques Hurtubise remembered as inspiration

Nova Scotia-based painter Jacques Hurtubise died on Saturday at age 75 at his home near Inverness, in Cape Breton.

Hurtubise, known for his abstract acrylic paintings, died Saturday

Painter Jacques Hurtubise died on Saturday. He was 75. (Radio-Canada)

Nova Scotia-based painter Jacques Hurtubise died on Saturday at age 75 at his home near Inverness, in Cape Breton.

Hurtubise was born in Montreal, but lived and worked in Nova Scotia for more than 30 years.

"We really claim him as one of our own," said Sarah Fillmore, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s chief curator.

"He certainly leaves a strong mark on ... the painting community, on the art world in Canada," said Fillmore, who curated a national exhibition of Hurtubise’s work in 2012.

"It was interesting to see how his work kind of fed a new generation of painters," she said. "A whole generation of young painters were coming to me and saying how their own work was being influenced [by Hurtubise]."

Hurtubise, known for his abstract, brightly coloured acrylic paintings, had his first major show at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts when he was in his 20s. Fillmore, who studied the artist’s paintings and later worked alongside him, said Hurtubise maintained consistency in his work throughout his decades of painting.

"One of the most important things that Hurtubise should be remembered for is his ability to maintain a very clear focus and clear imagery that was his own throughout his considerable career."

One of those images, said Fillmore, was a splash of black paint which he recreated in various works.

Hurtubise was still working up until his death.

"As recently as this summer I visited him and ... he was making some really interesting new work," said Fillmore.

Before Hurtubise’s death, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia had planned a small exhibit in February 2015 to showcase the gallery’s recent acquisitions of his paintings.

Now "we'll be working to dedicate that show to him in a slightly different way," said Fillmore.

"I hope people will continue to find really meaningful things in his work."