From a very young age, René DESPRÉS displayed entrepreneurship and independence, bordering on rebellion. Born in Montreal (Quebec), into a deeply religious French-Canadian family of very limited means, he is fascinated very early on by the paintings of the Old Masters, but resists any form of structured artistic education.
It is along the self-taught path that he undertakes at age sixteen, his own pictorial explorations. Attracted by the art of the Renaissance as well as the audacious approach of a Picasso or a Dali, he tries his hand at chiaroscuro, surrealism and abstraction as well as several new approaches to figurative art, until, in 1981, he comes up with his own signature style, Extrarealism, which offers a feast of shape and colour in its original use of strong gestures and a subtle technique which melds oils and inks.
Some have seen in the style echoes of the fantasy of a Chagall, the flow of words of a Picasso and the breath of a Pollock. In his modesty, Després sees Després!
Since the dynamism of his painting is rooted in the dark forces and phantasmagoric visions that lie within all of us, each and everyone of us can read his own ever changing cues and stimuli into it.
The painter also pursues his own plastic explorations, on the border between abstract and figurative art, intent on demystifying abstraction and show its new, fresh, personal sides.
Between 1980 and 1999, his paintings have been shown some twenty times in Canada, the United States and Europe, and many of them are now part of American and European collections, hanging next to Renoir and Kandinsky, Picasso and Pollock, Borduas and Riopelle.
Awarded the 1999 gold medal of the Gutenberg Grand Prize. The highest distinction assigned for the excellence and greatest quality of printing for the art book DESPRÉS.
Available at The Despres Book by Guy Robert
His artistic expression is now mature and he feels ready to show his creations to the world. He sums up his deepest conviction as follows:
«We are only passing through this life. The only way we can lend it meaning is through our effort to leave to the human race the very best in us.»