The Automatist Years: 1948

January 6

The Automatists prepare to mount an exhibition and publish an accompanying catalogue (Écrits I, p. 36).


Participates in the exhibition/auction held to the benefit the Canadian Appeal for Children Fund. This traveling exhibition will circulate during the winter and spring to eight Canadian cities: Vancouver, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Borduas contibuted Garde-robe chinoise, 1947 (Gagnon, 1978, p. 481) to the charity event.

February 4

First exhibition and manifesto of Prisme d'yeux (Écrits I, p. 36).


Riopelle and Leduc participate in the Salon des Surindépendants in Paris, (Écrits I, p. 36).

February 7 - 29

Participates in the Contemporary Art Society exhibition at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal along with P. Gauvreau, Riopelle and Mousseau (Gagnon, 1978, p. 480; Écrits I, p. 36); two paintings by Borduas are exhibited, including Garde-robe chinoise, 1947, (ANON., "Quelques récents tableaux du pays", La Presse, 28 février 1948, p. 43).

February 9

Controversial election for the presidency of the Contemporary Art Society (Écrits I, p. 37).

February 28

At 75 Sherbrooke Street West, Borduas gives psychology students a lecture entitled L'inconscient en peinture. (Écrits I, p. 37).

April 17 - May 1

The Dix peintures de Borduas exhibition is held in the studio of brothers Guy and Jacques Viau at 425 Saint-Joseph Boulevard West in Outremont (Écrits I, p. 37; Gagnon, 1978, p. 480; 1988, p. 470); eleven recent paintings are shown:

  • Lampadaire du matin, 1948
  • Bombardement sous-marin, 1948
  • Tom-pouce et les chimères, 1948
  • Visite à Venise,1948
  • Fête à la lune, 1948
  • La Mante offusquée, 1948
  • Objet totémique, 1948
  • La Prison des crimes joyeux, 1948
  • La Pâque nouvelle, 1948
  • Nonne et prêtre babyloniens, 1948
  • Cimetière glorieux, 1948
August 9

Publication of Refus global by Mithra-Mythe publishers (Écrits I, p. 37).

September 2

Suspended from his position as teacher at the École du meuble (Écrits I, p. 37).

September 9

In building a file for his defence, Borduas asks for the support of Guy Viau, Robert Élie, Father Régis, etc., (Écrits I, p. 37).

October 30 - November 4

Participates in Toronto in the Paintings and Sculptures for the Purchase Fund Sale exhibition held at the Art Gallery of Toronto (Écrits I, p. 37; Gagnon, 1978, p. 481; 1988, p. 473) Borduas exhibits:

  • Constructions barbares, 1948
  • La Mante offusquée, 1948
  • Objet totémique, 1948
November 18

Official dissolution of the Contemporary Arts Society (Écrits I, p. 37).


Canadian Art dedicates a special edition to the arts in Quebec (vol. 5, no 3); included is an article on Automatism written by Maurice Gagnon. (Boily 1972, p. 320).

End of December - March 15

Participates in two exhibitions from the National Gallery of Canada, held at the Canadian Club in New York and at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (Écrits I, p. 37). Borduas shows La prison des crimes joyeux, 1948, (Gagnon 1978, p. 481).