Arthur Villeneuve

Arthur Villeneuve (January 4, 1910 – May 24, 1990) was a Québécois painter and member of the Order of Canada.

Early in his second marriage Arthur began experimenting with drawing, collages, and sheet metal sculptures. Among these last there remains an elaborate clock, a ship and a lighthouse, each of which images would become prominent themes in his later platte peinture. But his most famous early work is the house he bought at 669 rue Taché which he nearly completely covered, inside and out, with his first paintings.

This sudden urgency on Arthur’s behalf to become an artist was attributed by him to a revelation he had in 1946. This decisive moment occurred during the homily at Sunday mass, in which the priest quoted from a letter of Pope Pius XII. The purpose of the letter was to exhort the faithful to make full use of their talents. Arthur believed that he had, until then, left his artistic ability untouched, and returned home to set about developing his gift.

Arthur began painting frescoes on the outside of his house in April, 1957. Still working as a barber, he painted 100 hours per week for 23 months, until he had covered the front facade, the rear, all the interior walls and ceilings, and even the windows of his house.

Because he was entirely self-taught and completely out of contact with his contemporaries in the painting world, Arthur was and is classed among those who practised naive art or primitive art.