Le Printemps and Its Perils

« It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! » — Mark Twain

André Montpetit (1943-2012) was a prodigiously talented québécois cartoonist and illustrator who, after wowing the public and his peers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, essentially turned on his heels and walked away from it all. Was it fear of success, fear of failure, self-loathing, self-respect or something else that prompted his slow fade? Hard to tell.

In the meantime, here’s a seasonally sardonic piece he produced in 1971. It saw print in the March 20, 1971 issue of Perspectives, a supplement bundled with each Saturday edition of Québec’s Le Soleil daily newspaper from 1959 to 1982.

MontpetitPrintemps01A
The sun appears… the birds return… the flowers grow back… the beasts awaken… the city has an air of joy… it’s the season of love. « Let us go contemplate the marvels of nature! »
MontpetitPrintemps02A
« Oh, the beautiful pigeon! » « Oh, such a pretty flower! » « Oh! A small, limpid puddle! » « I’ve had enough! I’m going home!!! »  « You’re right. It’s going to rain! » IN GENERAL, PEOPLE WATCH THE SPRING ON TELEVISION. IT’S LESS DANGEROUS.

In recent years, writer-director Saël Lacroix endeavoured to put together a documentary to assemble and organize the known facts and to fill in some of the blanks of Montpetit’s troubled career and existence. The result, Sur les traces d’Arthur (aka Tracing Arthur) was released in 2016. Watch the trailer here.

-RG

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