His roots | 1921-1942

some milestones, from his youth to the beginning of his career

When an artist disappears, we are finally able to measure the extent of his work. It does not result from a single gesture, it has developed from a continuous activity and matured over several years. The most talented show a promising start, but their potential is realized through efforts that last a lifetime. Thus, as the child learns to walk, the artist has to learn the abc of his profession before launching his career. Here are some of Jean-Paul Ladouceur's first steps.
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Jean-Paul on his rocking horse

Over the years…


  • Jean-Paul Ladouceur is the eldest son of André Ladouceur and Germaine Schetagne. He was born in Montreal on December 30, 1921.

  • Eleven brothers and sisters followed him. The Ladouceur family grew up in Verdun at the corner of Newmarch and Hickson streets in a house that grew in step with the family.

  • As the eldest, Jean-Paul shared the games and activities of his brothers and sisters and developed talents as a storyteller, entertainer and handyman. He was fond of reading and passionate about drawing and painting that his mother encouraged.


1927 / 36

  • He did his primary and secondary studies at Verdun's Richard Academy run by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart.
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Living model posing / lead pencil on sketching paper

As years pass…


  • He enrolled in evening classes at the École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) in Montreal.

  • A derogation would have been granted to him to attend these courses, given his young age (15 years) ...

  • At the insistence of his father, he still pursued a general education based on proven values at Sir George Williams College. He therefore shared his schedule between two poles; arts and science.

  • At the Beaux-Arts, he learned drawing, painting, was introduced to sculpture, lettering and calligraphy, technical knowledge deemed essential at the time.  



  • Eager for knowledge, he learned the basics of watercolor and commercial art under the guidance of Professor James McCorkindale (1886-1956) at the School of Art at Sir George William College.

  • He participated as a day student at the school's year-end exhibition in May 1941, reported The Gazette.

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Fine arts students personifying the "Kodaks of sound". Ladouceur is ranked second.


  • He completed his training at the École des Beaux-Arts in Montreal while being actively involved in student politics.

  • He joined his fellow students against the conservative administration of Charles Maillard and became head of the student association called La Masse. He was named Massier, as was the custom at the time.

  • As Montreal's 300th anniversary neared, much of the work force was mobilized for the war effort restricting available human resources.

  • To solve this problem, senior fine art students were asked to provide hands to build and paint the pavilions of a thematic exhibition held at Saint Joseph's Oratory.

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Fellow Fine Arts students sitting on the Main Staircase of the Old Montreal School of Fine Arts


  • At Spring 42 school year end, filmmaker Norman Mc Laren, who visited art schools looking for emerging talent, noted Ladouceur's work.

  • Despite opposition from school authorities, McLaren interviewed him and finally invited him to join his team of animators at the National Film Board of Canada.

  • During that summer, Jean P. Ladouceur moved to Hull, on the opposite shore of the Canadian capital, ready to begin his career at the National Film Board of Canada helping the war effort.

  • This was the darkest period of World War II when England and her allies suffered defeat upon defeat.