Death of the sculptor and cartoonist Raoul Hunter

Décès du sculpteur et caricaturiste Raoul Hunter

Photo: Denis Hunter
Raoul Hunter working for the realization of the monument to the memory of the sailors of the merchant navy canadian of Quebec, who lost their lives at sea during the Second world War, Quebec city

In 1956, while he is a professor at the École des beaux-arts in Quebec city, Raoul Hunter becomes, against all odds, a cartoonist full-time. “The director of the School of fine arts, Mr. [Jean-Baptiste] Soucy, we had announced that The Sun was looking for a cartoonist. The director had asked us to disseminate this announcement to our students. “That Raoul Hunter is quick to make. But nobody seems interested. Hunter tries the devil and submits its bid. “I have been engaged a fortnight later. This has lasted for 33 years. All of the days. “

Cartoonist, Raoul Hunter has marked the daily life of generations of readers in Quebec. His drawing, at the end of the 1950s, seems at first to be rather wise. The style is not immediately asserted. A clear line, a certain pointillism also, at least by moments, note Peter Skilling, a historian of the caricature.

It begins under the Duplessis regime. But the leader of the national Union, it will not draw virtually no. He will explain to Peter Skilling, on the occasion of an interview : “In time, colonel [Joseph Oscar] Gilbert was the owner of the journal. He aspired to be appointed to the Senate. […] Then, he had made me come in his office and then he had said to me : “Not to caricature against the queen !” I said to him : “I didn’t know that the queen was subscribed to the Sun !” It has defused a small little bomb. […] A little later, as it didn’t work in Ottawa, [Joseph-Oscar Gilbert] was tried on the side of Quebec to be legislative counsel. There, he had said to me : “Not to caricature against Duplessis !” It is for this reason that I have done so little on Duplessis. I think he had one or two at the most. “

With time, his style washes away and takes his ease. In the 1970s and 1980s, he assumed the unique position that gives the work of cartoonist in a newspaper. It does not bend readily with the sentiments prevailing in his environment. In October 1970, during the war measures Act, following the death of minister Pierre Laporte, it is a Charles de Gaulle, who, broken in the momentum of her resounding ” Vive le Québec libre “, which was launched from the balcony of the Montreal city hall, down the arms before the passage of the coffin. This cartoon raises the ire of many of his colleagues.


Born in 1926 in Saint-Cyrille-de-Lessard, in the hinterland of the coast of L’islet-sur-Mer, Raoul Hunter studied at the École des beaux-arts in Quebec city. He specializes in sculpture, while receiving the teachings of Jean-Paul Lemieux and Jean-Philippe Dallaire. A scholarship enabled him to travel to Paris, where he attended the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts. He returned with a degree in art history from the École du Louvre.

Known to the general public as a cartoonist, Raoul Hunter has devoted a significant proportion of its energy to the sculpture. But lack of time to do everything. “It has been a sculptor of command,” says his son Denis Hunter Duty. “It was part of the contest or it was approaching. Thanks to the Sun, my father was in the radio, television. He gave conferences. He was very well known. It helped her for the sculpture. “

Several public buildings bear his mark, beginning with a statue of Samuel de Champlain installed on the façade of the national Assembly of Quebec (1967). In Ottawa, on Parliament hill, there is a William Lyon Mackenzie King (1968) with soft lines and flexible, which is not without making think about the cartoonist, the mexican Miguel Covarrubias.

In Montreal, thousands of people pass every day, at the exit of the metro station Berri-UQAM, in front of its representation of Émilie Gamelin (1999) cast in bronze.

It also, like an ancestor, such as Honoré Daumier, the sculpture in the form of a caricature. Before his press drawings, of which over 8000 have been acquired by the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, Pierre Skilling observes that ” his caricatures are the relief sculptures “.

Other of his sculptures are reminiscent of the work of Henry Moore. Hunter has also made sculptures such as Iris (1967), a high-aluminum structure that evokes a figure organic. The work is installed in The Round, on the occasion of the universal exhibition, mayor’s Flag, in a basin surrounded by shrubs and craggy mountains, before being relocated.


Décès du sculpteur et caricaturiste Raoul Hunter

Photo: Valérian Mazataud The Duty
In Montreal, thousands of people pass every day, at the exit of the metro station Berri-UQAM, in front of its representation of Émilie Gamelin (1999) cast in bronze.

Hunter also carries a smaller size, in its own workshops, to the city and in the countryside sweetheart of its origins on earth. After the death of René Lévesque, he will make a bust of the former prime minister, but will accept, with regret, of the retouch at the insistence of his widow. He explained afterwards : “I did [the head] bronze premier René Lévesque, and not the portrait of the husband of Ms. Côté-Lévesque […] I don’t do portraits improved… I am not trying to make the quintessence, the truth of the matter… That pout that he had very often in public was part of the character. “

Hunter has also designed theatre posters, art, religious, busts, medals, and bas-reliefs. We find his works in various places, in Canada as in the United States, where most of his bronzes were cast.

In 2010, a retrospective exhibition of his career has been presented in Québec city at the Maison Hamel-Bruneau. This year, his son, Denis Hunter, he had dedicated a book, The trait in all its states : sculptures and caricatures by Raoul Hunter. “I often went to see him work when I was a kid,” recalls his son-in-interview at the Duty. “He drew all the time, even if he had not time : he has raised five children in addition to being all day in the Sun. But he never stopped, drawing even in the margins of the magazines that he read in the evening. “

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