Claude Roussel, born in Edmundston in 1930, began his journey into art by sculpting wood at the tender age of ten. By 17, he was already showcasing his work in exhibitions. Between 1950 and 1956, he honed his craft at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, receiving accolades in sculpture and art education. In 1961, thanks to a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, he embarked on a European expedition, exploring architectural decoration across England, France, and Italy.
Upon his return, Claude ventured into teaching art education in Edmundston’s francophone schools – a pioneering initiative for New Brunswick’s public education. Between 1959 and 1961, he served as Assistant Curator at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Fredericton and crafted his seminal work, “Les deux castors” in 1959. This piece was gifted to Lord Beaverbrook by New Brunswick for his 80th birthday. By 1963, he was pivotal in establishing the Visual Arts Department at Université de Moncton, leading it till 1992 and overseeing it during multiple tenures.
Claude’s impact on art in Acadie and the Université de Moncton was profound. He played a crucial role in establishing a university art gallery and curated landmark exhibitions spotlighting Acadian artists. He held prestigious roles in various art foundations and chaired the Louise Reuben Cohen Purchase Fund till 1991.
An artist with boundless energy, Claude graced over 200 exhibitions, presenting more than 30 large-scale sculptures. His creations adorn public spaces in South Korea, New Brunswick, and Quebec, celebrating milestones, figures, and events. His accolades include medals from the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Canadian Centennial, the Order of Canada, and many others. He was also spotlighted in the book “Claude Roussel, sculpteur” in 1987.
Post-retirement, Claude remained immersed in artistry, with his work celebrated in exhibitions like “Roussel en Relief” in 1993 and “Sélection 1997” that marked 30 years since Sélection 67.
Claude Roussel is not just an artist; he is a beacon in Acadie’s visual arts scene, nurturing it through his art, teachings, and literature, leaving an indelible legacy.
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