Pauline Boutal

 Pauline Boutal née Le Goff, painter, fashion illustrator, costume and set designer, theatre director (b Lanhouarneau, Brittany 8 Sept 1894; d St. Boniface Man., 30 April 1992).

Boutal emigrated with her family from Brittany to Manitoba in 1907. She studied art at the Winnipeg Art Club from 1911 to 1914 and, following a brief stay in France, returned to work as a women's fashion illustrator for the Eaton's catalogue at the graphic art firm Brigdens of Winnipeg Ltd. She attended the Winnipeg School of Art, where she was taught by LIONEL LEMOINE FITZGERALD and FRANZ JOHNSTON.

Pauline Boutal studied in Provincetown, RI, under George E. Browne and Henry Hensche, in Paris with André Lhote, and at the Acadèmie de la Grande Chaumiëre under Charles Picart-Ledoux. From 1932 to 1975 she exhibited annually with the Manitoba Society of Artists, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery included her works in various group shows. The Centre culturel franco-manitobain held four solo shows of Pauline Boutal's work, the first when the CCFM officially opened in 1974, two others in 1975 and 1982, and the last one month before her death in 1992.

Boutal is known for her oil portraits of local personalities, official portraits and pastel portraits of children, and her views of historical buildings and landscapes, especially urban Manitoba scenes. Her work is characterized by solid draughtsmanship, particular attention to lighting, and skilful colour-mixing applied liberally and rhythmically by palette knife.

She is distinguished by her ability to capture a faithful representation of her subject in a few simple lines, particularly in her theatre costume designs. These lively gestural drawings of costumed actors are unique in that she herself played the dual role of costume designer and theatre director; these sketches illustrate her perception of the characters in their roles.

Theatre occupied an important place in Pauline Boutal's life. She received national acclaim for her contribution to the CERCLE MOLIÈRE theatre as an actor (1926-1941), costume and set designer (1933-1976), and artistic director (1941-1968). She also designed sets and costumes for the Winnipeg Little Theatre and the ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET.

As a lifelong member of the Cercle Molière, Boutal, La Grande Dame du Cercle, was devoted to promoting excellence in French theatre in the Franco-Manitoban community. She directed over 20 plays, three of which were by Molière. She and her husband, Arthur Boutal, director of the Cercle Molière from 1928 to 1941, took the CM on tour across Canada and into many Franco-Manitoban communities. They regularly brought the troupe to the DOMINION DRAMA FESTIVAL, where she won Best Actor three times and the 1938 Lady Tweedsmuir prize for best individual performance by a woman. Under Pauline Boutal's direction the CM received numerous prizes at the regional and final DDF competitions, for which she was twice awarded Best Director.

In recognition of her devotion to the Cercle Molière, the CCFM officially named its theatre the Salle Pauline Boutal (1975).

For her contribution to Canadian theatre, Pauline Boutal won many awards: the Palmes académiques (1939), the Canadian Drama Award (1950), the Ordre du mérite de la culture française (1971), the ORDER OF CANADA (1973), an honorary doctorate from the UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA (1978), and the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique (1981).