In Memory of Claude A. Simard (1943-2014)
« Long before we can write, we make up images that tell our stories, half truth, half invention. As children do, we tell about people we love, places where we live and we travel to. Moments of joy and moments of sorrow. We tell about hope and expectations. Life! So fragile. So short. »
– Claude A. Simard
Born July 9, 1943, in Québec City, Claude Alphonse Simard was a painter known for his colourful representation of garden scenes, landscapes, still lifes and the human figure.
After his classical studies at Petit Séminaire de Québec and Académie de Québec, he graduated in 1966 from Toronto’s Ontario College of Art in visual communications. “I received instructions from masters such as Franklin Arbuckle, Alan Colier and Gray Mills. They helped us look at subject matter and feel the emotion it brought. They demanded honesty and passion in the most simple of sketches,” wrote Simard in Inspiration, a book describing his creative process.
After apprenticing with the design group at the British Motor Corporation in Birmingham, England, Simard began his career in 1966, when he was hired as head of advertising and store design by Maison Simons, a Québec City fashion retailer. He worked there until 1973 and developed the Simons brand image, as it is known today across Québec and Canada.
That same year, he founded Groupe Communikart, a graphic design firm that he would direct until 1984. During that time he won several prizes, including two in Milan for logos designed for Mobilier International (1973) and Scierie des Outardes (1977).
As a founding member of the Quebec Graphic Designers Society, created in 1974, he wrote the code of ethics governing the practice of Society members.
In 1981 Simard was received by the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.He went on to teach at Laval University’s School of Visual Arts from 1982 to 2002. Simard also served as Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Planning, Architecture, Art and Design in 1988–89.
In addition to his activities in graphic design, business and teaching, Simard had always painted, creating a substantial legacy of works.
His paintings were shown in numerous solo exhibits, including a retrospective at Musée du Québec in 1975. In 1991, he was asked to participate in an exhibit showcasing Québec painters in Paris at Château de Bagatelle. His work can also be found in galleries across Canada, including the Masters Gallery in Calgary, the West End Gallery in Edmonton and Victoria, the Roberts Gallery in Toronto, Galerie Alan Klinkhoff in Montréal, Galerie Perreault in Québec City, Galerie L’Harmattan in Baie-St-Paul and Galerie Richard Hevey in Ste-Adele.
Simard’s body of work includes five historical murals completed in 1982 and 1983 for Parks Canada as part of the integrated interpretation concept at Fort-Chambly, Québec. He designed eight stamps for Canada Post, including two Christmas stamps (1983 and 1987) and one commemorative stamp, Blue Poppy, issued in 1997.
Simard published several books on his two passions, painting and gardening, including his most recent, Inspiration, which he dedicated to his four grandchildren, “so that they might remember all the pleasure we have had together, at this old easel, a faithful companion to our many loves.”
Claude A. Simard was not only a painter and a gardener, he was a great admirer of his family. His loving wife Huguette, his daughters Roseline and Rose-Mélanie, his son-in-law Dominic and his grandchildren Emma, Clara-Ève, Charlotte and Thomas-Claude were his day-to-day inspiration. That is why “even more so than beauty, Claude A. Simard succeeded in painting joy and delight.”