Contrefeux signed and dated 'BELLEFLEUR 1961'(lower right) signed with initials, titled, dated and inscribed 'Paris/ Coll. Rita Bellefleur' on the reverse oil on canvas 81.3 x 64.8cm (32 x 25 1/2in).
Provenance: Collection of the Artist Collection of Rita Bellefleur Private Collection, Montreal, Quebec
Exhibited: Léon Bellefleur Retrospective, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, touring #42, 1968.
Literature: Guy Robert, Bellefleur, Iconia, Montreal, 1988, illustrated page 86.
1961 was a busy year for Bellefleur with two one man shows at Galerie Dresdnere in Montreal and at the Here and Now Gallery in Toronto as well as taking part in the 4th Biennial of Canadian Art. This year also saw his return to Paris, where Contrefeux (Backfires) was created. Bellefleur would spend the next ten years travelling and painting in Europe before returning permanently to Canada in 1966.
An important transitional piece from the early 60's, Contrefeux is the beginning of the artist's experiments with a process generally used in printmaking. The technique of monotype has been transferred to canvas; in his monograph on the artist, Guy Robert writes "In other pieces...such as the 1961 "Backfires", the monotype technique is combined with the brush and spatula, and the composition is often finished with a few squirts of white or other colours."
In 1968 The National Gallery of Canada organized and circulated the first retrospective exhibition of the artist in which both Contrefeux and Nid D'Aube were included.