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Visitor donates four paintings to Masterworks

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Timeless scene: Breaker Rolling In by Canadian artist and frequent Bermuda visitor Bernard Poulin

A Canadian artist who has painted princes and prime ministers has donated some of his work to a Bermuda art gallery.

Bernard Poulin, whose subjects have included the Royal Family’s Prince William and Jean Chrétien, a former Canadian prime minister, as well as Bermudians, has gifted four of his paintings to Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

Mr Poulin, 74, a regular visitor to the island, said he decided to make the gift to Bermuda two years ago on the 50th anniversary of the start of his career. He added: “I have done approximately 118 portraits and about 250 paintings of Bermuda and 95 per cent have sold — I think I owe Bermuda.

“I am saying thank you. I am at the point now where I am painting the children of the children that I painted years ago.

Mr Poulin said he also started his autobiography on his 50th anniversary. He added: “My book is due to go to press this summer and will be published in September. It will certainly feature Bermuda and some of the Bermudians I have painted.”

Mr Poulin’s Bermuda commissions include Dame Jennifer Smith, a former premier, Stanley Lowe, a former Speaker of the House of Assembly.

Mr Poulin has also painted the late Dame Lois Browne- Evans, a politician, lawyer and the country’s first woman attorney-general.

He has also painted William Boyle, Sutherland Madeiros, and Jay Bluck, all former Mayors of Hamilton.

Mr Poulin said he loved visiting and painting in Bermuda.

He added: It’s a place that compels you to come back — the colours are incredible and the people are out of this world.

“It has been a very big part of my life. I was sent there for the first time in 1967 by friends who told me I needed to rest. I liked it very much.

“Eventually, my wife got me an agent through Bluck’s Bermuda and I began painting portraits, landscapes and seascapes. I will be painting for the sheer pleasure when I am there.”

Mr Poulin, of Windsor, Ontario, will visit the island for the unveiling of his four oils at Masterworks, in the Botanical Gardens in Paget, on July 14.

The Masterworks show will be held under the patronage of Dame Jennifer, also an artist, in recognition of his 46 years of work on the island.

Mr Poulin’s portrait subjects have ranged from top figures from the corporate, artistic, sport and religious worlds to private family and child portraits.

His clients have included the governments of Bermuda, Canada, and Ontario as well as institutions such as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Royal Collections at St James Palace in London, where his portrait of Prince William is housed, and Windsor Castle.

Tom Butterfield, the founder and executive director of Masterworks, said: “I have known Bernard Poulin for a very long time. In that time I have found his generosity is matched by his talent which in turn is matched by his passion for his art and art wherever it may be found..

“He is a true ambassador and advocate, believing that art is the root and cornerstone of civility.

“We have been blessed with his support to help us fundraise and now most recently a gift of his art in perpetuity trusting in our custodial duties.”

Mr Poulin’s work has been exhibited at the galleries of the now closed Bluck’s, the Crisson & Hind Gallery, Windjammer Gallery, the Desmond Fountain Gallery. Mr Poulin was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Laurentian University of Sudbury in Ontario last month to mark his career as a visual artist and author.

The unveiling will be held at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art on July 14 from 2pm to 5pm. Anyone who wants to attend should e-mail info@masterworksbermuda.org

A portrait of Dame Jennifer Smith by Bernard Poulin
The unveiling of Bernard Poulin’s portrait of Dame Lois Browne-Evans
An artist’s reflection: a self portrait by Bernard Poulin
The Arches by Bernard Poulin
Middle Beach Horseshoe by Bernard Poulin