65-9-10 | La Dispersion des Acadiens
La Dispersion des Acadiens
Oil on canvas
238 x 355 cm
Gift of l'Université Saint-Joseph
This artefact belongs to : © Musée acadien of the Université de Moncton
Keys to History
Longfellow's poem also inspired French-Canadian artists. In 1900 Henri Beau (1863-1949) produced a large painting titled La dispersion des Acadiens, or The Dispersion of the Acadians. Evangeline is the central figure.
The work was presented at the Universal Exposition held in Paris in 1900 and the artist was awarded a bronze medal.
The large canvas caught the attention of the members of the St. Jean Baptiste Society who visited the exposition. They wanted the painting to remain with the Acadians. The Society offered to pay half the purchase price, and the Acadians, for their part, organized a fund-raising campaign to cover the remainder.
The following year, 1901, the painting was unveiled at St. Joseph's College, in Memramcook, NB.
Some of the painting's details are not historically or geographically realistic, in particular the Acadian costume and the landscape of Grand Pré.
The painting hung for a long time in the Monument Lefebvre theatre in Memramcook, NB. It was seen as a symbol unifying the Acadian people.
The artist painted the picture in 1900 in his Paris studio. He wanted to illustrate the tragic, moving dimension of the event.
Henri Beau (1863-1949) was recognized primarily for his impressionist landscapes and far less for his historical canvases.