" Dans l'Est du Québec, le peintre Basque fait figure de légende ".
Pédro Rodrigues, "Perspectives" Journal LA PRESSE
Léonard Parent, called "BASQUE", was born in Trois-Pistoles, a beautiful town along the St-Laurent river in front of Ile-aux-Basques where he has taken his pseudonym from. He acquired a bachelor degree in art history at the University of Québec in Rimouski and a master degree in theology at the University Angelicum in Rome. Since 1948 Basque has been devoting all his time to art. From 1952 to 1972 he gave lectures in theology and art history at the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR). He is recognised as mentor, counsellor and legendary figure in eastern Québec. In 2001 Basque received the highest Canadian distinction the Order of Canada from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson for all his realisations.
As self-taught artist Basque uses two different mediums. His landscapes in oil represent mountains, rivers and the sea in all their beauty and intensity. The light and fluidity in the artist’s gesture leave the viewer with a sensation of movement and underlying life. Basque is also well known for his ink washes that explore themes like couples, relations mother-child, the owl, the rooster, the goose, Don Quixote and Christ. These figurative pieces reflect intensely human emotions and interiority.
Basque is devoting to the cultural heritage of the region of Bas-St-Laurent in many ways. He gives artistic courses and conferences, founded the association of artists in Trois-Pistoles and consults the government in questions relating to the cultural heritage of Québec. As member of the Institut des Arts figuratifs du Québec, the Regroupement des Arts Visuels, and the Commission des Biens Culturels du Québec Basque supports the development of art.
“C’est par lui que, pour une bonne part, la population du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie a été initiés aux Beaux-Arts. […] Léonard Parent, dit BASQUE, fait dans l’est du pays, figure de légende et il est rare dans cette région que l’on parle peinture sans évoquer son nom; plus rare encore que l’on peigne sans l’avoir déjà eu comme maître ou sans avoir, un jour ou l’autre, comparé ses œuvres aux siennes.” (Pédro Rodriges, Supplément PERSPECTIVES, La Presse, vol. 21, no. 12, 1979)
Basque received in 1998 the title doctor "Honoris Causa", in 2001 the Order of Canada and in 2003 the Médaille du jubilée de la Reine. His work is exhibited in several galleries across Canada: Hollander York Gallery (Toronto), Galerie Vincent in Château Laurier (Ottawa), Galerie Blais (Vancouver), Galerie Clarence Gagnon (Montréal), Galerie Pauline Johnson (Outremont), Galerie du Château Frontenac (Québec), Galerie Jules Harvey (Québec), Galerie Linda Verge (Québec), Galerie Le P’tit Bonheur (La Malbaie), Galerie Lisette Martel (Montebello) und Galerie Basque (Rimouski).