Albert Edward Cloutier
1902 - 1965
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Canadian war artist Albert Edward Cloutier was born in Leominster, Massachusetts in 1902. His Canadian parents returned to Montreal when he was still a child. As a young man growing up in Montreal, Cloutier studied under several well-known teachers, including A.Y. Jackson and Edwin H. Holgate.
Cloutier supported himself as a freelance artist for ten years, then took on the position of supervisor of war poster production for the federal government from 1940 to 1944. In March 1944, he enlisted and was appointed as an official war artist for the Royal Canadian Air Force. Cloutier, who rose to the rank of flight lieutenant, was one of only a few war artists who had established himself as a successful artist and designer prior to war service.
After an initial posting at Kingston, Ontario, Cloutier was sent to Newfoundland where he painted and sketched various detachments throughout the Eastern Air Command. It was at Brig Harbour Island on the coast of Labrador where he was most prolific as a war artist. He arrived at the desolate radar base in April 1945 and within a few days, the grim weather closed in. For the next two months, Cloutier put his talents to good use. He immersed himself in the lives of the servicemen stationed at the base and painted with abandon.
The artist had a loose and breezy style that worked beautifully for his wartime subject matter. With a few bright washes of colour and clean sweeping pencil strokes, Cloutier draws the viewer into the world of aviators.