Corno at the Perreault Gallery: memories
“For me, she was the Celine Dion of the visual arts!” Roch-André Perreault can’t help but describe Corno by comparing the icon of painting to the world-renowned music diva. The owner of the Perreault Gallery remembers with emotion the exhibition organized with the painter in 2014: “She would come in our gallery like anybody else would have done. She was incredibly down-to-earth and easy to talk to!” Despite her international reputation, she stayed very humble.
After 22 years in New York, Corno wanted to go back to Quebec and she chose the Perreault Gallery to hold the exhibition. It’s interesting to note that there are more than 100,000 painters listed in the Big Apple, creating a fierce competition in the visual arts. The artist born in Chicoutimi always had the province of Quebec in her thoughts; according to Roch-André Perreault, she liked “to come back to her roots, to her people”.
It’s not surprising then to learn that Johanne Corneau, her real name, had insisted on not being behind a desk, but instead wanted to mingle and move among the guests present at the art opening. She enthusiastically would sign pictures and take photos with people. “Being in touch with her fans was a source of nourishment for her, whereas when she created, she was alone in her studio” says Mr Perreault. More than 300 people attended the event, with an substancial line in the street of people patiently waiting their turn to enter the Perreault Gallery. “It was impressive!” Alas, very few of the lucky ones who were already inside the Gallery got out before the artist left!
Not only was the exhibition popular with art lovers; it was also a commercial success, with 18 paintings out of the 23 presented purchased that same evening! The paintings were still shown in the gallery throughout the exhibition however, from August 16 to 30, 2014, for the greatest pleasure of art fans. Indeed, many curious people stopped at the Perreault Gallery to have the chance to look at the painter’s work.
Given such success, we can easily understand the artist’s desire to return quickly to Quebec City. Discussions had begun in early 2016 for an exhibition in the fall of the same year. Corno wanted, among other things, to offer acrylic works on paper, in order to make her art even more accessible.
Unfortunately, the health of the painter made it impossible for these projects to come to fruition. It is with great sadness that the Perreault Gallery’s family learned of Corno’s passing on December 21, 2016. She will remain in the heart of our team and many art lovers as an artist and a warm, humble but incredibly talented person. It is an honor to be able to offer her paintings.
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