Alliance française exhibit celebrates Charles Pachter’s 60-year art career

Apr 20, 2022 | Arts

Alliance française Toronto is hosting an art exhibition that will display the work of Canadian contemporary artist Charles Pachter.

The international organization that promotes French language and Francophone culture is celebrating Pachter’s life and works for its 120th anniversary in Toronto this year.

The retrospective art exhibition retraces the Canadian artist’s 60-year career. The show opened runs until April 30 at the Alliance française Toronto’s Galerie Pierre Léon at 24 Spadina Road, just north of Bloor Street.

Still of Charles Pachter's artwork Baywatch.

Charles Pachter's artwork Baywatch. His artwork is being shown as part of the 120th anniversary of Alliance fran├žaise in Toronto. Photo credit: Courtesy/Alliance francaise Toronto

Pachter said he has a good relationship with the institute and this is the fourth time he is doing a solo exhibition at Alliance française Toronto.

He said he was delighted that the international organization chose him for its 120th anniversary.

“I am honoured that they chose me as an artist who has been a long-time friend to have my fourth exhibition there,” Pachter said. “It is a major retrospective of over 30 works of art.”

Born in 1942 in Toronto, Pachter is Canada’s leading contemporary artist. He is a painter, printmaker, sculptor, designer, historian, and lecturer.

Still of Dahlia (2020), Pansy (2020), and Zinnia (2021) respectively (from left to right). Charles Pachter started working on creating a

From left, Dahlia (2020), Pansy (2020), and Zinnia (2021). Charles Pachter started creating flower series during the pandemic and is part of the his show honouring the 120th anniversary of Alliance fran├žaise in Toronto. Photo credit: Malav Contractor

Pachter was interested in art from his early days. His passion for art led him to the University of Toronto, where he studied art history.

During the third year of his studies, Pachter fell in love with the French language and culture when studying in Paris.

His bilingualism has helped him a lot, including landing a job at Expo 67 in Montreal, where he installed 60 contemporary sculptures from around the world.

Pachter’s works are exhibited in many art galleries and museums, including the Royal Ontario Museum, the Art gallery of Ontario, and the McMichael Canadian art collection.

One of his murals, Les Rois de l’Arène or the Hockey Knights in Canada, make up the walls of the College subway station in Toronto, where the Montreal Canadiens face the Toronto Maple Leafs across the tracks. The College station was just steps away from Maple Leaf Gardens on Carlton Street.

That particular painting was one of the original ones I did when I submitted the idea to the TTC about 35 years ago,” he said.

For his contribution to art, he received numerous awards, including the Queen’s Jubilee medal, the Chevalier of France’s Order of Arts and Letters, and the officer of the Order of Canada.

Olimpia Lombardi, the artistic director at Alliance française Toronto, said Pachter’s paintings are intriguing.

“In his paintings, you will always find a humoristic aspect,” she said. “He’s a really witty and funny character.”

There are paintings from his early days to the artworks he created during the ’80s and ’90s, including Vincent au lit, which was inspired by the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh.

During the pandemic, he created paintings on a series of flowers which are on display in this exhibition.

Lombardi said through this event, her organization wants to celebrate the years of solidarity and friendship between the French and English cultures by promoting contemporary Canadian art.