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Montreal, Quebec, 1924
Switzerland, 2005
Biography synopsis
Mimi Parent was the daughter of renowned Montreal architect Lucien Parent and Florence Courteau. In 1942 Parent enrolled in classes at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal where she studied under Alfred Pellan. While studying at the École des Beaux-Arts, Parent met fellow artist Jean Benoît, whom she would later marry. In 1947 Parent had her first solo exhibition at the Dominion Gallery in Montreal. In the same year Parent was expelled from the École des Beaux-Arts for joining Pellan and several other young artists who formed the group Prisme d’yeux, which called for the liberation of art. With the support of a scholarship from the French government Parent and Benoit moved to Paris in 1948, where they studied ethnography and primitive art at the Musée de L’Homme. Joining the Surrealist group in 1959, Parent designed the poster and catalogue layout for the Exposition inteRnatiOnale du Surréalisme that same year. Mimi Parent’s use of the erotic and macabre, as well as her theatrical three-dimensional tableaux boxes, helped to establish her as a leading figure in the surrealist movement, as well as a formative figure in 20th century Canadian art. Two of Parent's works were shown at the Tate Modern in 2001 as part of the Surrealist retrospective "Desire Unbound".
Media used
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, School of Art and Design, 1942 - 1947 (under Alfred Pellan)
Prisme d'yeux, 1948
File & Archive locations
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts / Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, QC
Vancouver Art Gallery, BC - Library
Library and Archives Canada / Bibliothèque et Archives Canada, ON
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC

Writings about
Mimi Parent. Bochum, Germany: Bochum Museum, 1984.
Mimi Parent. Britannica Book of the Year, 2006. Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 2006
Apostolides, Jean-Marie and André-G. Bourassa. "Mimi Parent." The Canadian Encyclopedia. 2011
Belton, Robert J. The Beribboned Bomb: the Image of Woman in Male Surrealist Art. Calgary, Alberta: University of Calgary Press, 1995.
Benezit, Emmanuel. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs. Paris: Librairie Grund, 1976.
Breton, Andre. Surrealism and Painting. Boston, Massachusetts: MFA Publications, 2002.
Cantin, David. "Trajets identitaires: Au Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec Jusqu'au 24 october 2004." Le Devoir (Montreal) 10 Avril, 2004: E7.
Dagen, Philippe. "Mimi Parent: Artiste surréaliste." Le Monde 18 juin, 2005: 18.
De Billy, Helene. "Le surrealisme est mort: vive Mimi!" L'Actualité 22.15 (1 Oct. 1997): 88.
Durozoi, Gérard. Histoire du mouvement surréaliste. Paris, France: Hazan, 1997.
Ellenwood, Ray. Egregore: A History of The Montreal Automatist Movement. Toronto: Exile Editions, 1992.
Epivent, Jean-Luc. "Mimi Parent: L'Envers du decor, eclaire d'un sourire." Vie des arts 30.119 (June 1985): 52-53.
Girard, Henri. "Le Salon du Printemps." La Revue Moderne (May 1930): 10.
Girard, Henri. "Le Salon du Printemps." La Revue Moderne (May 1929): 10.
Heuer, Elizabeth. Going Postal: Surrealism and the Discourses of Mail Art. Tallahassee, Florida: The Florida State University, 2008.
Jouffroy, A.. "La revolution est femme." XXE Siecle 42.36 (June 1974): 108-16.
Laberge, Albert. "Appreciation de quelques oeuvres du present salon." La Presse (Montreal) 11 Apr. 1927.
Lequeux, Emmanuelle. "L'amour fou, elle non plus." Beaux Arts Magazine 305 (Nov. 2009): 216.
Lord, Danielle. Mimi Parent, Jean Benoît: Surrealists Québec, Québec: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2004.
MacDonald, Colin S. The Dictionary of Canadian Artists. (Volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker) Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 2009.
Mahon, Alyce. Surrealism and the Politics of Eros 1938-1968. New York, New York: Thames & Hudson, Inc., 2005.
Mahon, Alyce. "Mimi Parent: Provocative Artist who kept alive the Spirit of Surrealism" The Guardian (6 Jul. 2005)
Mahone, Alyce. "Mimi Parent, Surrealist 1924-2005" Globe and Mail (Toronto) (13 Jul. 2005): 8.
Mundy, Jennifer (ed). Surrealism: Desire Unbound Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2001.
Peirre, J.. "They Live in Choc: An Attempt at a Spectral Portrait of Jean Benoît and Mimi Parent." Vie des arts 80.20 (1975): 22-7, 89-90.
Prakash, A. K. Independent Spirit: Early Canadian Women's Art. Buffalo, New York: Firefly Books, 2008.
Rolland, R. B.. "Montreal Architects Participate in Show." Daily Commercial News (Toronto) 22 Mar. 1933: 142-143.
Rosemont, Penelope. Surrealist Women: An International Anthology. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1998.
Thorson, Bruce. "Juxtapose this: In a sparse Paris studio, two aging Canadian artists whose avant-garde surrealism helped knock the art world on its ear in the 1950s, await their moment of glory in a Quebec gallery." Ottawa Citizen 6 Oct. 2002: C6.
Villeneuve, Paquerette. "Mimi Parent, Jean Benoît: surréalistes intransigeants." Vie des Arts 195 (2004): 84-87.
Weisberger, Edward. Surrealism, two private eyes: the Nesuhi Ertegun and Daniel Filipacchi Collections New York, New York: Guggenheim Museum, 1999.
Williamson, Marcus. "Mimi Parent: 'Incorrigibly Wild' Surrealist" The Independent (25 Jun. 2005)

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