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Artist in Montreal

Artist in Montreal

| 30 min
On the Spot
On the Spot
1950 20 films

The first NFB series made specifically for television, On the Spot consisted of 15-minute documentary reports (which later ran 30 minutes) on different aspects of life in Canada.


This short film introduces us to the "automatistes," followers of an abstract art form that developed in Montreal. The movement, initiated by Paul-Émile Borduas, is explained by the artists themselves when narrator Bruce Ruddick drops in at their cooperative studio. The film also captures painter Paterson Ewen at his home and joins the crowd at L'Échouerie, the artists' rendezvous spot. Dr. Robert Hubbard, chief curator of the National Gallery of Canada, comments on non-objective art in general and automatism in particular.

  • director
    Jean Palardy
  • script
    Jean Palardy
  • executive producer
    Robert Anderson
  • photography
    Walter A. Sutton
  • sound
    E.C.H. Muir
    John Locke
  • editing
    David Mayerovitch
    Gwen Barnhill
  • narrator
    Bruce Ruddick
  • producer
    Robert Anderson
  • cast
    Robert Anderson
    Bruce Ruddick


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Ages 15 to 17

Arts Education - Visual Arts
Geography - Territory: Urban
History - Canada 1946-1991

What is automatism? Provide examples of Riopelle and Borduas’s work for the students to study and create a definition based on the similarities. Provide materials for them to experiment in the same style. How does this style of art reflect the times or Montreal at that time? Examine contemporary art styles and analyze according to the social/political/cultural climate in which they were created.

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