Lot 505
Alfred Laliberté (Canadian, 1878-1953)

MAQUETTE GROUP OF MARIE ROLLET AND HER CHILDREN, painted plaster, signed, height 13.0" — 33.0cm

Est. $1000/1500
Realised: $10800
Auction Date: 06/27/2017

Note: Known as much for his monumental memorial sculptures as his smaller pieces depicting Quebecois life, legends and culture, the sculptor Alfred Laliberté is one of Canada’s most prolific and celebrated artists. After winning first prize for his bust of Sir Wilfrid Laurier at a Provincial Exhibition in Quebec City, Laliberté enrolled in sculpting classes at the Council of Arts and Manufactures in Montreal. In 1902 the institution sponsored his studies at the Ecole des beaux-arts in Paris, where he met and was influenced by the allegorical aesthetic techniques of Auguste Rodin. Laliberté returned to Canada in 1907 to considerable acclaim and his first solo show in Montreal. This maquette is a preliminary study for one of the bronzes on the monument to Marie Rollet and her husband Louis Hébert now standing in Parc Montmorency in Quebec City. It is an excellent example of the artist’s works portraying day to day Quebecois life, and his use of allegory. Depicting Rollet and her children in the classic Madonna and child manner, Laliberté symbolizes her as the first mother of New France, as she and her husband Louis Hebert are considered the first European family to cultivate land in Canada. Married in Paris in 1601, Hebert travelled to New France three times before 1617, when he signed a contract with the Canada Company to become the apothecary of Quebec. He was joined by his wife and children in that same year and given ten acres of land, which they steadfastly began to plow and farm. Their eldest daughter, Anne, became the first French bride to be married by a priest in New France, cementing the family’s position as early ancestors of modern Quebecois life and culture. Marie Rollet is remembered not only for her agricultural accomplishments, but also as one of the first nurses in the new colony and for teaching and housing many Indigenous children in the area. Their home became a meeting place for colonists and First Nations alike, and despite Hebert’s death in 1627, English conquest and return to French rule, Rollet remained in Quebec and housed many young and orphaned Aboriginal girls taught by Jesuits at the time; she is now regarded as the godmother of an entire genealogy of Métis peoples.

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