Biography of Francis Coutellier

Francis Coutellier was born in 1945 in Namur, Belgium. After studying art at Maredsous (1960-1963), he pursued his studies in painting and ceramics at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture et des arts visuels in Brussels (1963-1965, 1966-1967). In 1979, he was granted a Master’s degree in Photography by the State University of New York, in Buffalo. He attended a training workshop in cinema with Robert Frank (1983), an art bindery workshop with Silvia Riennie (1990), an intaglio workshop with Pavel Skalnik (1991) and a Polaroid Transfer workshop at Image Work, in Toronto (1995).

In 1967, he was a professor of visual arts at the Cégep in Matane, Quebec, then from 1969 to 2006, he was a professor in the Visual Arts Department at Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, where he taught ceramics, painting, drawing and photography. He was president of Galerie Sans Nom (Aberdeen Cultural Centre), of the Board of directors of the Aberdeen Cultural Centre and was Head of the Visual Arts Department at Université de Moncton for several years. He is a member of the selection committees for the Commonwealth scholarships and for those awarded by the government of Canada, by foreign governments and by the Organization of American States.

Abiding by his motto that “an exhibition is worth more than any speech” Coutellier participated in nearly 200 exhibitions, including over 30 solo events, starting with his first exhibition at Galerie du Disque Rouge, in Brussels (1964). His works have been shown in several regions in Canada, in the United States, in Belgium, in France, and in Hong Kong.

In the mid-1970s, Coutellier chose a new direction, photography, which proved a turning point of his career. He contributed to publications under the leadership of Serge Morin, a professor in philosophy at Université de Moncton: the book Tropicartica (1981), the exhibitions Philographie (1983) and Blind Pain : une étude philographique sur la douleur (1989), and articles in periodicals. In his 1989 retrospective exhibition Francis Coutellier: Many Modes, organised by Michael Christopher Lawlor for the UNB Arts Centre, in Fredericton, New Brunswick, 65 works showed the multi-faceted creativity of his first 20 years as art maker (from 1969 to 1987), including paintings, prints, ceramics, tapestries, artist’s books, and photographs. Over the next two years, the exhibition travelled to various Canadian art galleries.

In the summer of 1997, Coutellier produced the painting Line at the Galerie d’art de l’Université de Moncton. It was one of three large works in the exhibition À l’ombre d’Évangéline 1, marking 150 years since the publication of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline.

Coutellier has received grants from the Canada Arts Council and the Université de Moncton Research Council. His career is marked with several awards and achievements, and his works are part of numerous private and public collections.

With their ironic treatment of specific events that inspire them, Francis Coutellier’s works are increasingly in the public eye both locally and nationally. Together with the artist’s involvement in his community, they have played a part in the development of contemporary art in Acadie.