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The catalogue raisonné’s first objective is to present, in a chronological order as precise as possible, all the authenticated production of an artist. More than a simple inventory, this major research project aims to first identify the title, or the titles, of each of the works. Normally, each entry is accompanied with a reproduction of the work in question, followed by a technical data sheet, specifying the nature of the medium, the support used, the dimensions of the work and stipulating if the work is signed and dated. Also, any mention found on the canvas, affixed by the artist or not, must be recorded. Furthermore it is important for each of the registered works to establish the argument of origin. It is then a question of determining as completely as possible the path travelled by a work from the artist’s studio to its current owner. Finally, each notice has to state bibliographical references in relation to the registered work, as well as present a compilation of the exhibitions in which it took part.
Once realized, the catalogue raisonné increases the existing knowledge about an artist and his/her work. More than a simple inventory it is a scientific tool of authentication of the works of an artist, once registered in the catalogue raisonné they are protected from forgeries and false attributions. It thus constitutes an invaluable instrument for research, serving the academic community, art dealers, connoisseurs and the collectors as a document of consultation and impeccable reference.
The catalogue raisonné of the work of Paul-ÉmileBorduas, while respecting the characteristics of this type of publication, distances itself by the fact that it will remain perfectible. Thanks to the flexibility of the electronic medium, revisions and corrections can be made in a timely manner if need be. Offered in the form of a data base with a search engine, the on-line catalogue allows the user to find and consult the notice of one or several works in different ways: by title, medium, and year of production or the collection it is in. The complete notice becomes accessible by clicking on the square icon located in the upper right corner of the result. At the present stage of the Borduas Project, the catalogue raisonné does not include reproductions of the works. However, the bibliographical references of every notice mention where the work is illustrated.
Note that any mention followed by a "T" classification mark makes reference to the documents of the Borduas Archives. This collection of archives composed of the personal papers and the correspondence of the artist, kindly entrusted to the State by Mrs. Gabrielle Borduas, was classified and indexed in 1971-1972 by Pierre Théberge, then curator of Canadian art at the National Gallery of Canada. A copy on microfiche is available at the Gail and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Institute for Studies in Canadian Art of Concordia University, as well as in the libraries of the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, and in the UQÀM Archives.
Some surprises concerning the wording of the titles of Borduas’ catalogue raisonné. See the article analyzing the process of titling signed by Louise Dupont-Tanguay: titles (pdf).