Chapleau, Profession: Cartoonist - Exhibition at McCord Museum

Temporary exhibition

From June 23, 2020, to January 9, 2022

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Chapleau, Profession: Cartoonist

Explore the world of Serge Chapleau in the first major retrospective devoted to the creative work of this icon of cartooning. With his incisive pen and devilishly sharp strokes, Chapleau shows us the hilarious side of Quebec society. Politicians, celebrities and other public figures—everyone is fair game for the Montreal cartoonist’s scathing humour.

50 Years of  Popular Culture in Cartoons

The exhibition, which features over 150 original cartoons, sketches and illustrations, reveals unknown facets of this multidisciplinary artist. The cartoons, the real stars of the show, have been selected to document the main topics, including the follies of his youth, his sources of graphic inspiration, his irreverent portraits, how his drawing technique has evolved as seen through the lens of his editorial cartoons and, of course, the various incarnations of his iconic character, Gérard D. Laflaque.

With the focus inevitably on satire, the exhibition looks back at 50 years of Quebec popular culture and current affairs.

  • S. Chapleau, <i>Franken Jackson?</i>, 1991. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M996.10.237 © McCord Museum
  • S. Chapleau, <i>Justin Trudeau</i>, 2007. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2009.52.423.1 © McCord Museum
  • S. Chapleau, <i>Céline Dion</i>, 2003. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2005.166.152.2 © McCord Museum
  • S. Chapleau, <i>Kim Jong‐Un and Donald Trump</i>, 2018. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.48.293 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Gérard D. Laflaque</i>, about 1985. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.24 © McCord Museum

Serge Chapleau

Born in Montreal in 1945, Serge was the youngest in a family of seven – all boys. Chapleau often jokes that on the day he made his appearance, six years after his youngest brother, his father left the hospital a disappointed man. Raised in the working-class neighbourhood that would later be dubbed La Petite‐Patrie, he has often compared his childhood to the one portrayed in Jean-Claude Lauzon’s film Léolo, but minus the poetry. Drawing nevertheless occupied a major place in the modest family home on Drolet Street, and it was there that Serge learned the rudiments of what would become his profession.

After studies at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal and subsequent work experience in graphic art, he began making his name as a cartoonist, working for a wide range of publications and eventually becoming, in 1996, cartoonist for La Presse.

  • <i>Serge Chapleau</i>, 1946. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.1 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Serge Chapleau and family, Prévost, QC</i>, 1946. Serge Chapleau Collection
  • <i>Serge Chapleau ans his brother Bernard, Drolet Street, Montreal</i>, 1946. Serge Chapleau Fonds, P344 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Serge Chapleau at de La Mennais school, Beaubien Street, Montreal</i>, 1953. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.12 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Serge Chapleau at the École des Beaux-Arts de Montréal</i>, 1965-1966. UQAM Archives École des beaux-arts de Montréal Fonds, 5P-510/6 T15
  • <i>Louis Forest and Serge Chapleau at the Salon des métiers d’art du Québec, Place Bonaventure</i>, 1976. Gift of  Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.52 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Serge Chapleau and Robert LaPalme (1908-1997), the father of modern caricature in Quebec</i>, 1995. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.33 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher during a promotional photo session for the Aislin & Chapleau – Caricatures exhibition, McCord Museum</i>, 1997. Serge Chapleau Fonds, P344 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Jean-Guy Moreau (1943-2012), spokesperson for the Aislin & Chapleau – Caricatures exhibition, Serge Chapleau and Terry Mosher at the McCord Museum</i>, 1997. Gift of Serge Chapleau, M2019.127.2.102 © McCord Museum
  • <i>Five of the most prominent cartoonists in Quebec: Serge Chapleau, Yannick Lemay (alias Ygreck), Guy Badeaux (alias Bado), André-Philippe Côté et Michel Garneau (alias Garnotte) at the 1001 Visages de la caricature Festival, Val-David</i>, 2018. Private Collection

Follow Serge Chapleau behind the scenes of his creative work as a cartoonist!


Virtual opening of the exhibition with Serge Chapleau, Suzanne Sauvage, President of the McCord Museum and Christian Vachon, Curator, Documentary Art at the McCord Museum. Broadcast live on June 23, 2020 and hosted by Véronique Lauzon, journalist, La Presse.

Not to be missed!

What people are saying about it

« I invite everyone to come and see this beautiful exhibition! » Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal
« The exhibition highlights the versatility, talent and technical mastery of Chapleau... » Éric Clément, La Presse
« A must see! » Eugénie Lépine-Blondeau, Radio-Canada
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