Canadian artist and filmmaker, 1902-1981
"Surrounding me are partly dried thistles and granite rocks. Overlooking the west I see the horizon —a sea of trees.
I see more trees at this moment than at any other in my life. Can you imagine hills upon hills of countless trees
stretching over nearly the whole horizon and receding in various states of greys to an invisible distance?"
- Letter from Narcisse
Narcisse Joseph Pelletier (1902-1981)
Joseph Narcisse Albert Pelletier (1902-1981) was a French Canadian Photographer & Artist.
He was born in Penetaguishene, Simcoe County, Ontario and resided in Toronto, Ontario. He attended the Ontario College of Art in Toronto and was instructed by members of the Group of Seven. His correspondence with them, as well as sketches, film and photography from home visits with C.W. Jefferys, Franz Johnston and Frank Carmichael are preserved at the Library & Archives Canada.
The Library & Archives also holds sketches from his service in WWII when he served as a photographer in the RAF. The McMichael Canadian Art Collection holds 17 of his works and a portrait of him painted by Frederick Varley.
Narcisse had a long career employed with the Canadian Kodak company. Among his many passion projects was film-making with the Toronto Amateur Movie Club where he participated by directing, acting and writing. His broad artistic skills included crafting jewelry and incorporating gemstones gathered in rural locations, such as Bancroft, Ontario and the Georgian Bay region.
He was a patriarchal figure, known to his many nieces and nephews as a true Renaissance man.
Elizabeth Wyn Wood
In the 1929, Canadian sculptor Elizabeth Wyn Wood created a large bust of Narcisse Pelletier. The image on the left shows her looking into the eyes of the sculpture. The bust is part of the permanent collection of the Art Gallery Of Ontario.
A famous portrait of Narcisse by Group of Seven member Frederick H. Varley. Considered to be Canada's most important portrait artist. Varley completed two portraits of Narcisse during the session.
The Drawing on the right is part of the McMichael CanadianArt Collection.
Narcisse Pelletier was a member of the Toronto Amateur Movie Club and the Editor for their bulletin "Shots and Angles".
Narcisse created many short films including "Among Flowers" and "The Picnic" which are both inspired by nature and the rhythms of the season. He wrote, directed and starred in his own film called "The Tired Traveller" and was part of the ensemble to create the first film adaptation of "The Highwayman" from the famous Alfred Noyes Poem.
Books from Narcisse Pelletier's personal book collection share a linocut print of the tree of knowledge which adorns the inside jacket cover This particular book "The Habitant" contains a delicate drawing of the Narcissus or Daffodil flower.
A new book from McMichael profiles the work of Canadian women artists and includes a large profile on Elizabeth Wyn Wood.
Photographs from the Port Hope Summer School, family photographs and landscapes