At the beginning of the 1960s, Hydro-Québec launched a competition for Québec artists to design and produce a mural to be installed over the elevators in the lobby of its new head office building.

Candidates were given considerable latitude, in keeping with the sizable constraints imposed by the site. The surface to be decorated was five times wider than its height, and there was little separation between the main entrance to the building and the space accommodating the work. As well, a row of columns meant the mural could not be viewed in its entirety at a single glance.

The jury made up of painters Jean-Paul Lemieux, from the city of Québec, and André Biéler, from Kingston, and jury chairman Evan H. Turner, Director of the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts, received proposals from 71 artists. Second and third place went to Joseph Iliu and Armand Vaillancourt, respectively, but it was Jean-Paul Mousseau who carried off first prize with his idea for a mural that would continually transform electricity into light and color.

Slideshow

The following slide show contains images from: Historical Background

  • 71 artists submitted works of art. In September 1961, they were displayed at Hydro-Québec's Jarry service centre.

  • Jean-Paul Mousseau won the 1st prize.

  • From left to right, Armand Vaillancourt (third prize), Jean-Claude Lessard (former President of Hydro-Québec), Jean-Paul Mousseau (first prize) and Joseph Iliu (second prize).

  • Jean-Paul Mousseau at work on the mural in Hydro-Québec's head office

  • Jean-Paul Mousseau at work on the mural in Hydro-Québec's head office

  • Jean-Paul Mousseau at work on the mural in Hydro-Québec's head office

  • Inauguration of the Mousseau's mural at Hydro-Québec's head office, October 1962.

  • Jean-Claude Lessard, president of Hydro-Québec, Jean-Paul Mousseau and his daughter Katherine Mousseau.