Claude VERMETTE R.C.A. (1930-2006)
Claude Vermette, renowned ceramist for his work in the architectural field, is known, in Québec and Canada, as a pioneer of art integrated to the architecture. Throughout his career, he explores different possibilities, as well as when he creates ceramic pieces where he experiments with new shapes, enamels and textures or when he uses other mediums such as: etching, watercolour, sculpture and even more intensely painting. Vermette stands out for his mastering of etching techniques, playing with the material’s relief, in order to associate light effects with it. In his paintings, in addition to his prints and watercolours, the artist pursuits the same process, constantly renewing and expanding colour and light’s possibilities.
This multidisciplinary artist is best known for his ceramic artworks. He creates his own tiles and bricks, in his studio in Sainte-Adèle. The colours’ brightness, the warm tones, the textures and also the way he skilfully composes his work, bring a new dimension, a human one, to architectural spaces that the artist considers to be often dull and gloomy. Vermette collaborated with Canadian architects to create murals and pavements in numerous metro stations (such as Place-des-Arts, Berri-UQÀM, Saint-Laurent and Radisson), in hospitals, schools, courthouses, airports, businesses and private houses. From the warmness of his enamels to those of his inks and oils, his masterpiece, which covers over 6 decades, presents itself as being a strong and vibrant whole.
Married to Mariette Rousseau-Vermette, R.C.A, a renowned painter-weaver, they have been a couple of socially engaged artists and were also pioneers in the field of public art, particularly with works integrated to the architecture. Responsive to the needs of their clients and recognized by their peers, their approach was based on collaboration and interdisciplinary exchange.
Born in Montréal on the 10th of August (1930-2006), Claude Vermette expresses his art through drawing, painting and ceramic. Inspired by the Automatist movement, but even though too young to sign the Refus Global, he initiates himself to paint with Paul-Émile Borduas at 14 years old, at Collège Saint-Laurent. He travels through Europe during the ‘50s, in order to complete his researches on ceramics. In 1952, in Italy, he meets Gio Ponti (architect, editor of Domus magazine and also considered as the father of contemporary Italian design) and Fausto Melotti (ceramist-sculptor). These encounters will encourage him to intensely explore architectural ceramic, which will become his main point of interest in order to develop his talents and his passion. His trip in Finland, in 1957, will give him the opportunity to learn advanced techniques and to meet with the architect and designer Alvar Aalto. Back in Canada, he focused on the materials’ resistance to the harsh climate of the country. Throughout his career he will create murals in hundreds of buildings, public or governmental. Vermette received numerous prizes and international awards; his artwork has been exhibited in Canada and abroad. The five large outdoor murals that can be seen at Pavillon du
Lac-aux-Castors, represent his very last public artwork.