The sculptor produced his self-portrait at work, titled Léo Arbour à son studio (Léo Arbour at his artist studio), the year before his death.

As for the artist, Léo Arbour, he was born on October 28, 1912, in Pointe-du-Lac, now Trois-Rivières, and was baptized the following day at the Notre-Dame-de-la-Visitation church under the first names Joseph Omer Léo. The priest spelled his family name “Harbour.” Léo was the son of Omer Harbour (Arbour), a day labourer, and Louise-Anna Berthiaume.

Léo Arbour studied at the École des Arts appliqués de Montréal, where he obtained, with distinction, the first certificate awarded by this school. Supported and encouraged by Father Albert Tessier, Arbour complemented his training with drawing, sculpture, and modelling classes with Léonce Cuvelier.

Once his studies were complete, he obtained his first contract in 1940, which involved producing wooden Stations of the Cross for the Pointe-du-Lac church. Soon, other religious projects were offered to him in Trois-Rivières: at the Sainte-Thérèse-de-l’Enfant-Jésus mission chapel, the Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Allégresses church, the Kermaria chapel of the Daughters of Jesus, etc.

On commission from Father Tessier, he also produced several wooden statues representing historical figures to decorate the archives room of the Séminaire de Trois-Rivières.

In addition, he exhibited some of his work at the “À l’araignée d’or” crafts counter located in the Manoir de Niverville since May 1941.

His talent, particularly sensitive and skillful in rendering the expressions of the faces that he shaped, earned him notable recognition. His work was in high demand, and his studio in Pointe-du-Lac allowed him to fulfill his commissions in calm, serenity, and inspiration.

In 2001, the artist was named a knight of the National Order of Quebec.

Léo Arbour was the husband of Thérèse Clément. He died on January 24, 2003.

Donation from the estate of Louis-Marie Gagné, collector
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
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