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Art Public

Ville de Montréal

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Armand Vaillancourt

La force

Presentation of the artwork
La force is a cast-iron sculpture installed in Mount Royal Park near Beaver Lake. The ramifications of this massive piece imitate the shape of crushed rocks, and the surface, treated with different finishes applied to the cast during fabrication, offers a stunning variety of textures and colours. Sometimes smooth, sometimes textured or rough, rusted in places, La force lets the expressive potential of the material shine through. The fused metal, fixed in a shape at a specific moment, and the steel frame, visible in some places, show off the fabrication method. Ultimately, this mass of material shows nature in all its strength.

The sculpture was executed with a technique that Vaillancourt developed: iron casting from a Styrofoam mould. This technique, awkwardly midway between sculptural tradition and the new avenues of modernity, helps to give the work the look of raw mineral.
Associated events
Vaillancourt’s artwork was executed for the International Sculpture Symposium in Montréal (1964), the first time a symposium was held in North America. The goals of this concept, created a few years earlier in Europe, were to have artists create monumental sculptures in a context of encounters with the public and to provide public spaces with international-calibre artworks. Instigated by sculptor Robert Roussil, this symposium gathered 11 sculptors from nine countries and attracted more than 40,000 visitors. It was seen as one of the events that brought Québec into artistic and cultural modernity.
Armand Vaillancourt
Born in Black Lake, this Québec artist was trained at the University of Ottawa and the École des beaux-arts de Montréal in the 1950s and is known for having upset well-established traditions in Québec, notably through his political engagement and his sculptural work.

Vaillancourt’s long and prolific career has featured by large-scale projects in the public space, including L'humain, a sculpture commissioned by the École des arts et métiers d’Asbestos (1963); Québec libre!, a fountain sculpture for San Francisco’s Embarcadero (1971); and Justice!, an anti-apartheid artwork executed for the Palais de justice de Québec (1983).
Awards and honours
  • Chevalier, Ordre national du Québec, 2004
  • Artiste pour la Paix, Artistes pour la Paix, 1994
  • prix Paul-Émile-Borduas, 1993
  • 1961-1963, premier prix, Salon du Printemps, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 1961
  • prix de la jeune sculpture canadienne, 1959
  • premier prix, Hadassah, Montréal (aussi en 1959, 1962, 1966), 1958
Variation of title
La force (SISM-64) Non titrée (SISM-64)
Fine Arts
Collection name
Public art
Date completed
Mode of acquisition
Accession date
March 23, 1966
Cast; moulded
Cast iron
General dimensions
244 x 533 x 275 cm
  • Fonderie Montmagny
La force
Parc du Mont-Royal