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ARBOUR, Madeleine

Granby, Quebec, 1923
Biography synopsis
Madeleine Arbour has been an active and celebrated member of Quebec culture. She has worked in a variety of fields including television (both as reporter and set designer), teaching, and interior, stage and costume design. Arbour has created tapestries, murals and furniture. Working alongside Jean-Paul Riopelle, Paul-Emile Borduas, Pierre Gauvreau and Marcelle Ferron in the 1940’s, Arbour became associated with the Automatistes, and was a signatory of the “Refus global” manifesto in 1948. Arbour taught from 1962 to 1982, working at both the Institute of Applied Arts in Montreal and College du Vieux-Montreal. In 1965 Arbour established her own interior design company. Arbour is credited with exceptional achievement for her interior design work. Some of her most notable work includes an interior for the Jean-Riopelle house and the Governer General’s Official Residence as well as designs for Via Rail Canada’s transcontinental coaches and the décor and layout for Air Canada aircraft. Among some of her notable designs for set and costume are those completed for the Théatre du Rideau Vert and Compagnie Jean Duceppe. In 1984 Arbour was given special mention by the Conseil national du design for exceptional contribution to the development of Canadian design. She became a member of the Order of Canada in 1986, received the Prix Condorcet in 1998, and became a Chevalier de l' Ordre national du Québec in 1999. In 2000, le Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec dedicated an exhibition to her entitled "Madeleine Arbour: espace de bonheur."
Media used
Costume design
Mural painting and decoration
Theatre design
Order of Canada, 1986
File & Archive locations
Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Documentation Centre, QC
University of British Columbia - Fine Arts Library
National Gallery of Canada, ON - Library and Archives
Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, QC - Media Centre
Toronto Reference Library, ON
Art Gallery of Ontario - Edward P. Taylor Research Library and Archives
Artexte Information Centre, QC - Documentation Centre
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Centre d'histoire La Presqu'ile, QC
CBC Digital Archives

Writings about
"Designers in Spotlight: Elements of the Design." Gazette (Montreal) 17 May 2003: F.3.
"Fashion Academy is Set for Montreal." Gazette (Montreal) 3 Mar. 1987: D.6.
"Madeleine Arbour." Bilan du siecle. Universite de Sherbrooke, 2009.
"Madeleine Arbour: un parti-pris pour les artistes canadiens." Les Affaires 72.21 (20/26 May 2000): insert.
Aarsteinsen, Barbara. "Designers Injecting Flair into Old, Mundane Items." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 27 Jun. 1987: B.1.
Baele, Nancy. "Quebec Artists' Call to Arms." Ottawa Citizen 18 Apr. 1996: C.1.
Baillargeon, Christiane. "Femmes artistes connaitre l'art autre." Vie des Arts 215 (Summer 2009): 40-43.
Belanger, Fernand. Via Borduas [video recording]. Montreal?: Cinéfilms, 1969.
Beringer, Hubert. "La grange a Estrel, auberge et ermitage." Parcours 3.1 (Spring 1997): 32-33.
Beringer, Hubert. "Madeleine Arbour: A Portrait in Space at the Musee de Quebec." Azure 16.132 (Nov./Dec. 2000): 21.
Brownstein, Bill. "Rolling Museum Will Train Passengers to Appreciate Canadian Art." Gazette (Montreal) 21 Sep. 1990: C.1.
Cantin, David. "Madeleine Arbour: Espaces de bonheur, inventer l'art de vivre." Vie des Arts 44.181(Winter 2000/2001): 31-4.
Charest, Nicole. "Madeleine Arbour chez elle." Décomag 299 (Mar. 2001): 61-66.
Charest, Nicole. "Madeleine Arbour: la dame du bonheur." Madame au foyer 35.8 (Nov. 2000): 98.
Charest, Nicole. "Que dire de Madeleine Arbour." Decoration chez-soi 220 (Sep. 1998): 42-46.
Desmarais, Marie-Jose. "La vie commence a 40 ans." Chatelaine (French edition) 35.2 (Feb. 1994): 35-42.
Gagnon, Myriam. "Madeleine Arbour : la grande dame du design québécois." Elle (Quebec) 159 (Nov. 2002): 206-208.
Gagnon, Myriam. "Un dimanche a la campagne." Décomag 160 (Apr. 1987): 11-19.
Galerie Bernard Desroches. Les fenêtres de ton hiver. Montréal: Galerie Bernard Desroches, 1977.
Gauthier, Ninon. "Des oeuvres d'art dans l'environnement quotidien." Décomag 116 (Jan. 1983): 15-16.
Gauthier, Ninon. "Les jardins secrets de Madeleine Arbour." Parcours 1.3 (Summer 1995): 56-58.
Gillon, M.. "Madeleine Arbour: Art and Life." Vie des Arts 20.78 (Spring 1975): 24.
Godfrey, Stephen. "'The Occident Express on Track' Via Rail has Spent $200-million Refurbishing Canadian Pacific's Classic Stainless Steel Railway Cars of the Fifties." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 22 Sep. 1990: C.1.
Greenaway, Kathryn. "Les Impatients Bring Art Therapy to Mentally Ill." Gazette (Montreal) 10 Feb. 2007: E.13.
Greenaway, Kathryn. "New Name, New Look." Gazette (Montreal) 5 Apr. 2003: G.1.
Howell, Peter. "VIA's Hopes Riding on Reborn Canadian." Toronto Star 3 Oct. 1990: A.1.
Institute of Design Montreal. "Madeleine Arbour." Infodesigncanada Canadian Heritage, 2001-2006.
King, Annabelle. "Designer Offers Advice on Redecorating a Room." Gazette (Montreal) 17 May 2003: F.3.
Labrèche-Larouche, Michelle. "Jouez le jeu! (La Demeure de Madeleine Arbour)." Chatelaine (French edition) 34.6 (Jun.1993): 86-88.
Leclerc, Denise. Prélude à l'automatisme. Ottawa: Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, 1994.
Leclerc, Denise. Towards Automatism. Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1994.
Millot, Pascale. "Design d'interieur: le bonheur selon Madeleine Arbour." Chatelaine (French edition) 41.11 (Nov. 2000): 24.
Mitchell, Beverly. "The Old Quarter - A Neighborhood Poised to Come Alive Series: Neighborhoods in Transition." Gazette (Montreal) 9 May 1987: I.2.
Monahan, Iona. "Designer, Teacher, Person - 'She's Real.'" Gazette (Montreal) 29 May 2001: F.3.
Monahan, Iona. "Take One Beret, Add a Little Vision..." Gazette (Montreal) 8 Sep. 1992: D.6.
Monahan, Iona. "Women of Honour." Gazette (Montreal) 28 Sep. 1993: D.1.
Monet-Chartrand, Simonne. "Madeleine Arbour." Pionnieres Quebecoises et regroupements de femmes d'hier a aujourd'hui Montreal: Les Editions du remue-menage, 1990.
Morley, Marilyn. "Montreal Snapshots Hats off and Heads-a-popping." Globe and Mail (Toronto) 15 Dec. 1994: D.3.
Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. Paul-Émile Borduas Montréal: Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, 1988.
Musée du Québec. Madeleine Arbour: Espaces de bonheur. Québec: Musée du Québec, 2000.
Office national du film. Les enfants de Refus global Montréal: Office national du film, 1998.
Pohl, John. "Art is also Women's Work: Exhibitions in Joliette and Quebec City Chronicle the Struggles of Female Artists." Gazette (Montreal) 19 Jun. 2010: E.11.
Robert, Guy. L'Art au Québec depuis 1940. Montreal: La Presse, 1973.
Rodger, Nelda. "Interior Realities." Azure 9.85 (Nov. 1992): 20-21, 23.
Scott, Marian. "Art's Healing Power: At Les impatients, Brushes and Paint Help Mentally Ill People Rebuild their Self-esteem and Confidence." Gazette (Montreal) 1 Feb. 2009: A.18.
Serrazin, Catherine. "Psychology Researcher Wins Medal." Gazette (Montreal) 20 May 2002: A.4.
Simard, Cyril. Artisanat Quebecois. Montreal: Les Editions de l'Homme, 1975.
Smart, Patricia. Les Femmes du Refus global. Montreal: Boreal, 1998.
Société Radio-Canada. Jean-Paul Riopelle, peintre Montréal: Société Radio-Canada, 1994.
Therrien, Jean. "Madeleine Arbour : sur un parcours singulier comme de la menthe fraîche à l'heure du thé..." ARQ 146 (Feb. 2009): 30.
Thibault, Michele. "Air deco." EnRoute Apr. 1990: 68-72,76.
Thibault, Michele. "Passionate pursuits." EnRoute Apr. 1990: 68-72,76.
Vieira, Emmanuelle. Design d'exposition: Dix mises en espace d'expositions au Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec. Québec: Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, 2004.

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