This work, painted by Rodolphe Duguay while he was staying in France to improve his knowledge of the arts, was given in November 1928 to octogenarian poet Nérée Beauchemin during a ceremony honouring him following the publication of his book, Intimate Homeland.

One of the great French-Canadian poets, Nérée Beauchemin was born in Yamachiche on February 20, 1850. He was the son of Dr. Hyacinthe Beauchemin and Marie Elzire (Elsire) Laflèche, who died of tuberculosis when Nérée was only six years old. He, his two sisters, and his brother were entrusted to their maternal grandmother. Thanks to her, Émelie (Emmelie) Christine Comeau, Nérée learned to love poetry from a very young age.

After completing his humanities at the Séminaire de Nicolet, Nérée decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and enrolled in medicine at the Université Laval in Quebec City. Admitted to practice in 1874, he likewise practiced in Yamachiche. In 1878, he married Anna Lacerte. They had ten children together.

Alongside his professional life, Nérée Beauchemin continued the literary work that he had begun during his studies in Quebec City. He published The Morning Blossoming in 1897 as part of his election to the Royal Society of Canada. Thirty years later, under the authority of Msgr. Albert Tessier, he published a second collection: Intimate Homeland. Following the success of this work, the author was awarded an honorary doctorate from French-Canadian poets. Nérée Beauchemin died at the start of the following summer, on June 29, 1931.

With respect to the artist, Rodolphe Duguay (1891-1973), he was a native of Nicolet. He left for Europe in September 1920. He attended great art schools (the Académie Julian and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière) and studied with painter Jules Alder and at the Académie Colarossi.

At vacation time, he travelled. He visited Brittany and Normandy. There, he met up with his good friend Octave Bélanger. He also had the opportunity to visit Italy. He returned from Europe in June 1927 with souvenirs, works, and sketches in his boxes, as well as his diary, where we can find this passage:

Paimpol, Aug. 6/26, Friday night, 8:30. Yesterday morning, I took the 7 o’clock train to get to Pontrieux. When I got off the train, a fog, morning vapours enveloped the landscape. It was ravishing; tears almost came to my eyes. It was so beautiful, and it reminded me every morning of home. How beautiful Your nature is, O Sweet Master. When it was time to go have my breakfast, everything had disappeared, a bit like those sweet dreams. During my day, made 3 sketches and 2 landscape drawings. At 6:30, I set off for the return. Paris, Wednesday, December 29, 1926, 9:15 pm. Several canvases in progress, a large one about 90 cm x 65 cm, cottages in a landscape in Pontrieux, Brittany, which I enlarged the day before yesterday…

Donation from Jeanne Beauchemin
Musée Pierre-Boucher Collection
1977 16 P