Normand Hudon 1929-1997
Born in Montreal in 1929 at the height of the economic crisis, he began drawing on the walls at an early age for lack of paper. After his scientific course at the Saint-Viateur Graduate School in Outremont, he enrolled in the Montreal School of Fine Arts. With an unbounded imagination, he has a certain taste for decoration and illustration of a humorous nature but it is in his caricatures that reveals the extent of his talent.
His professional career began at the end of the Second World War, in 1945, he offered some of his first paintings to the Journal La Presse, the largest French daily newspaper in America. As for his talent as a cartoonist, he will have the opportunity to practice it at the same time in the journalistic field, notably at the Journal La Patrie as well as at le Petit Journal. While continuing his courses at the School of Fine Arts, the young Normand held his first exhibitions before 1950 and began to make himself known as a painter and cartoonist. Then in 1951, he decided to go to Paris to complete his studies where he met Fernand Léger and Picasso.
The period between 1952 and 1965 was the most brilliant of his career. He makes the front page of a number of newspapers, the journalists follow him. Hudon was one of Quebec's most popular stars. He will also make a name for himself in English-speaking communities and even in the United States. It was at this time that he organized several exhibitions, he made several illustrations of books, he also created posters for cabarets, theatres and he agreed to publish some commercial advertisements and collaborated with a large number of newspapers as a freelance illustratrator.
From the very beginning of television, he participated in several programs in 1952, including Telescope, Tourbillon, Carroussel, the P'tit Café and My Malignant Line. It was mostly a variety program with films, songs, interviews, skits and cartoons. Propelled to the forefront of Montreal's art scene thanks to the popularity of cabarets and television, he is acclaimed everywhere. He made the cover of Time magazine and appeared on Steve Allen's Tonight Show a few times, which propelled his career in New York. He put on a cartoon and improvised drawing show that was a great success.
After several detours during the 1970s, he devoted himself to illustrating many books and collaborating as a cartoonist in several newspapers including the Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir. During the last 20 years of his life, between 1977 and 1997, Normand Hudon produced no less than 25 solo exhibitions in Quebec, Ontario and Alberta. The major recurring themes in his work are winter, hockey, the religious world, childhood, the judicial environment, people of dress such as lawyers, notaries and judges populate his paintings.
He died in 1997 at the age of 68.
"I am a joyful and I want my paintings to make people smile, to make people happy."