Julien Hébert (1917 - 1994)
Metal sculpture comprising 51 triangular plates, scaling two levels of the NAC. A skylight provides natural lighting. Water pools in each plate and in a hexagonal pool at the base.
© Justin Wonnacott
ArtistJulien Hébert (1917 - 1994)
Nationality Canadian
Medium Bronze and acrylic plastic
Dimensions 2.0m x 5.5m
Acquisition Commission
Date 1969

Commissioned by the National Arts Centre to create the decorative ceiling in Southam Hall and the Fountain in the Theatre Foyer, Julien Hébert’s (1917 – 1994) genius for making architecturally integrated art is evident in both works. Like William Martin, the artist worked closely with the building’s architect, Fred Lebensold, to create a sculpture whose form and function fit seamlessly into the Centre. The Fountain is a metal structure with 51 triangular glass plates set on 12 levels. Water drips down from the top, reaching each of the plates below before falling in three streams into the pool below, creating the sound of a running brook.

Born in Rigaud, Quebec, Hébert studied sculpture at Montreal’s École des Beaux Arts and philosophy at l’Université de Montréal. Between 1945 and 1948 he studied art in the United States and then in Paris, under Ossip Zadkine, the artist who created another NAC sculpture, The Three Graces. As his interest in the functional arts grew, he became increasingly involved in industrial design. In his long career, Hébert has designed a great variety of applied arts: stamps, corporate logos, exhibits, and murals to name only a few. He designed the well-known logo for Expo ’67 in Montreal and part of the Canadian pavilion for Expo ’70 in Osaka. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern industrial design in Quebec.

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