The Murals of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Murals
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Displaying Locations 505-509 of 732


165 Boulevard Provencher    Location Map

This vacant building was beautified with Ren Lanthier's skillful and faithful reproductions of three French Masters l-r: 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' by Pierre-August Renoir (1881); 'Dance at Bougival', also by Renoir (1883); and 'A Sunday on La Grande Jatte' by Georges Seurat (1886) Sadly, this building is slated for demolition in January, 2006 (the good news though is that it's to make room for an exciting new development). Obviously we hope that these wonderful pieces will be saved from the wrecking ball.

Location: N side, just west of St. Joseph; South Face

Occupant: Step 'N Out

District: St. Boniface

Neighbourhood: North St. Boniface

Artist(s): René J. Lanthier, Annia Mulaire

Year: 2005

Sponsors: Entreprises Riel, Inc.


Rene Lanthier: "I was approached by Norm Gousseau of Enterprises Riel to do something on those windows as a summer beautifying project. On that part of Provencher there are some cafes, restaurants and boutiques with more opening up that summer. That particular building was supposed to make way for a future development but that got pushed back a little. It was the only boarded up building along there, and it needed to be made to look good. They had already boarded up the windows with this chipboard. This was not meant to be a major budget project since it (the Mural) was just to be there for the summer until the building was torn down and redeveloped."

"Due to the size of the budget, I knew that I didn't have a lot of time to pour into an original design; plus they wanted it done ASAP. Plus I knew it wouldn't be there very long. Had that not been the case, I could have come up with something personal of my own design. But I really felt that the area needed something visually exciting. I thought that instead of taking a few days designing something simple but original, playing with colours- why don't I do something that I like doing- something full colour, illustrative and something that people can relate with. This really was along the lines of what the client wanted: attracting more people to the area; an area where people could walk around, sit in a cafe and visit boutiques. The river and the Esplanade Riel are right there also and add to the attractiveness of the area. The whole notions of cafes and leisure time were very much in my mind when I set out to do this. The ideas of attracting people, the water, cafes, restaurants, the leisurely pace of a Sunday afternoon, relaxing, walking around. And, also very importantly, something that people could relate to as being something French; so I thought right away of the French Impressionists whom I've long admired; and who are often symbolic of French lifestyle. A lot of the artists would hang together, sit in cafes, sitting around tables and drawing people. So I thought right away 'if you're looking through a window it's like you're looking into a scene right in the restaurant that they WANT there'."

"So with that in mind I went looking. Renoir was an artist I'd seen often in the past whose work I admired greatly and who represented that image exactly that I had in my head. That scene, Luncheon of the Boating Party (Photo 2) popped into my head right away. I looked at several paintings in books and I kept going back to that one because it so defined what they were trying to do with Provencher Boulevard. Also in the background you can see the water and a little bit of foliage. That pane said everything I wanted to say; and I was hoping that people would recognize the French Impressionists and help give the idea that it's the French Quarter."

"It was only meant as a week project but I actually put in two weeks or maybe even longer. I was looking for visuals for the next window, which ended up being the Seurat painting (Photo 4). Again, with the new Esplanade Riel Bridge, the area would attract people to the water. The Seurat scene shows a lot of people relaxing near the water and enjoying the weather; again the perfect image for this purpose. There's a little bit more colour and scenery in this painting. The painting itself is popular, and one I knew most people might recognize. They might in fact doubly enjoy it- both from a distance and the separate experience close up that it is pointillism, which becomes evident when viewed up close by pedestrians. I thought that would be fun for people walking by- that it has something extra to offer. And I knew it would be a challenge because there are so many dots of paint in there. Since my time was limited I thought a few times of NOT doing that one! But being from this community, I wanted to give something back to it- I didn't just want to do something quick. The response has been very good."

"While looking at a bunch of Renoir paintings, I found this one (Photo 3) with roughly the same proportions of the doorway; and it had the vibrant colours and seemed to flow together with the other two. They are dancing, a leisure activity, and the dress is swirling around. It conveys fun, and the dress is reminiscent of Paris, music and romance. The colours and flow of the lines were very attractive, added a bit of fun and the human aspect, and it fit the doorway!"

"I used a grid system to scale up to the wall and do an outline drawing (Photo 5); and made a few slight adjustments to the Seurat painting to make it fit my 'canvas'. Fortunately the wood hadn't been there that long so really hadn't weathered yet. Chipboard is more porous than plywood and the surface is somewhat rough, so I put down a coat of primer first. It was fairly hot weather, so the wood got good and dry so that it accepted the primer. I primed it once, but there were so many gaps in the wood I didn't want rain getting in, so I gave it a second coat. Preparation is always number one!"

"Annia, my daughter, is nine; and was a great help. I would mix up a colour and she actually underpainted several areas for me, and did an incredible job, actually. It's fun working with your family and it gives you extra time together."