Friday, January 05, 2018

Arty Farty Friday ~ Arthur Villeneuve, Quebecois barber turned artist.

Arthur Villeneuve, born on 4 January 1910, was raised in a working class family in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada. He left school at age fourteen, and after a couple of years experimenting with different jobs he settled on a career, he became a barber's apprentice. By age nineteen he had purchased his first barber shop in Chicoutimi. Business flourished. His years of prosperity ended abruptly, though, in 1944 with the death of his first wife, Simone, and the loss of his properties. He became a barber at a hospital in Chicoutimi. By 1950 Villeneuve had re-married his second wife Hélène and seven children moved into a modest house at 669 rue Taché, Chicoutimi.

Arthur Villeneuve was inspired to become an artist in 1946, after what he considered to be a divine revelation. A homily at Sunday mass, in which the priest quoted from a letter of Pope Pius XII inspired Villeneuve. The letter quoted was an exhortation to the faithful to make full use of their talents. Arthur believed that he had an artistic gift, so far unused, so he set about developing his talent. He 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.

Villeneuve, by 1978, had painted 2,800 canvasses. Because he was totally self-taught and out of contact with his artist contemporaries, his work has been classed as "naive art" or "primitive art". A painter of comparable style in the USA would be
Grandma Moses.

Arthur Villeneuve welcomed visitors to view the art throughout his house until his death, in 1990. In 1994, the house was transported to an exhibition space at the Pulperie de Chicoutimi, and remains a prominent piece there.

Brief video (just over a minute long):


Arthur Villeneuve born on 4 January 1910 in Chicoutimi, Quebec, Canada. Chart set for 12 noon as time of birth is unknown.

A few thoughts on his natal chart:'s a fairly eccentric thing to do to start painting every surface of one's home residence, inside and outside - Villeneuve's chart was bound to have something reflecting that oddity - and it does! Sun is in practical, business-like "feet on the ground" Capricorn but so is Uranus, planet of eccentricity and the unexpected; and next door in Uranus-ruled Aquarius are found Mercury, and Venus conjunct Chiron. That's a sufficient dose of astrological eccentricity for the average guy, I'd say! In addition, Venus(planet of the arts) in Aquarius links to Moon (if fairly near to its noon position)in Libra, and Pluto in Gemini, forming an harmonious circuit known as a Grand Trine, linking art (Venus) healing (Chiron), emotional sensitivity (Moon) and obsession (Pluto).

His chart also shows a Grand Square or Grand Cross - easily picked out on the chart image, in red. It links 4 planets, all in Cardinal signs in this case, by 90 degree angles, throwing up also two oppositions. Without going into detail, this formation is said by astrologers to indicate a challenge-filled life, with challenges quite often met through determination - never giving up. Though Villeneuve's challenges were self-imposed - or, I guess, in his mind divinely-imposed, they were still challenges. The opposition from his sensible Capricorn Sun to foggily creative and imaginative Neptune in home-loving Cancer does, kind of, represent the rather odd and contrasting yet corresponding direction of Villeneuve's inclinations - he found a way to balance that opposition!

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