Marcel Barbeau (1925-2016) studied painting and sculpture at the Ecole du Meuble in Montreal under Paul-Emile Borduas. In the early 1940s, Barbeau joined Borduas, classmate Jean Paul Riopelle and seven other young intellectuals and artists as a member of Les Automatistes. In 1948, this group of artistic dissidents published the celebrated manifesto Les refus global.
Influenced by the French Surrealists, Barbeau produced artwork in a variety of media. Through his career, he received many awards including the Lynch-Staunton Foundation Grant by Canada Council. In 1985, he was awarded the sculpture purchase award of the McDonald Canada Art Competition. In 1995, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
Barbeau’s artworks are in collections across Canada, in the United States and in Europe at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the British Museum, the Chrysler Art Gallery, the Lyon Museum of Fine Arts, the National Gallery of Canada, the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art, Quebec National Fine Arts Museum, the Rose Art Museum and the Stedelijk Museum.
In 2018, the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec honored Marcel Barbeau with a major retrospective of his works entitled Marcel Barbeau: En mouvement.