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Les Automatistes

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A radical group of seven Canadian abstract painters active in Montreal from 1946 to 1951. The oldest of them, mainly responsible for the formation of the group, was Paul-Émile Borduas, and the other outstanding member was Jean-Paul Riopelle. Members of the group were influenced by the Surrealists, from whom they took over their techniques of automatism. Their initial show, in 1946, was the first exhibition by a group of abstract painters to be held in Canada. In 1948 they caused outrage by publishing Refus global (‘Total Refusal’), an anarchistic manifesto attacking various aspects of Canadian life and culture, including the Church.

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