Hommage à Marguerite Bourgeoys
Presentation of the artworkThis fountain sculpture is installed in Place Marguerite-Bourgeoys, facing 85 Rue Notre-Dame Est. To create a more direct link between the sculptural grouping and viewers, the sculptor designed the three figures life size, and they stand in the centre of the basin.
The portrayal of Marguerite Bourgeoys is particularly unusual. The nun, a vertical figure, extends her left hand to two teenagers. Their body language creates a dynamic that enlivens the static presentation usually reserved for religious monuments. The artwork constitutes an invitation to know more about this generous, dynamic woman and to let oneself be guided by her. When he made this likeness, the artist was inspired by the posthumous painted portrait of Marguerite Bourgeoys, as well as by the habit and cross of the congregation that she had created. Lasalle has said about Marguerite Bourgeoys, “A woman of courage and energy, a woman of action, she did not fear the movement imposed on her by the secular nature of her work. It is in this attitude that I chose to represent her, in a motion of walking forward.”
Associated eventsBorn in 1620 in Troyes, France, Marguerite Bourgeoys joined Jeanne Mance and Paul de Chomedey, sieur de Maisonneuve, in Ville-Marie in 1653. Engaged in the promotion of education in New France, she founded a number of schools; the first, opened in 1658, was situated in a secondary building at the Hôtel-Dieu hospital. Bourgeoys also oversaw the establishment of the Filles du Roy, and she founded the Notre-Dame congregation in 1670; she took her vows in 1698. She died in Montréal in 1700. On 31 October 1982, she was canonized by Pope John Paul II.
Sculptor and modeller Jules Lasalle lives and works in Montréal, where he directs the studio Attitude enr. In 1979, he completed a bachelor’s degree in visual arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal. From 1981 to 1983, he undertook a number of sculpture internships in Paris at establishments such as the École nationale supérieure des arts appliqués, Les Ateliers Hervé Cappelli, and the Ministère de la Culture. He has produced a number of other works of public art in Montréal, including Hommage à Marguerite Bourgeoys (1988), on Rue Notre-Dame East, and Monument à Maurice Richard (1997), at the entrance to the eponymous arena.