By day, by night

Writings on art

CONTENT Artiste notes, poems, drawings
DATE 2013
ISBN 9782922892727
FORMAT 12 x 17.5 cm
LANGUAGE French, English
PRICE $19.95
In bookstores

This slim volume is the first in a hopefully long series of books on art.

Since the 1960s, painter, artist, and innovator in multimedia arts Edmund Alleyn (1931-2004) had the habit of very privately noting down his thoughts on art. Thus evolved his “studio notes” over the decades. With By Day, By Night, Jennifer Alleyn and Gilles Lapointe have sought to share the painter’s writings afresh. One discovers Alleyn’s reflections on his work, his inspirations and creative points of reference, his poems, and even an erotic short story. By day, by night also brings together his ink washes and drawings, extracted from numerous of the artist’s sketchbooks, all published here for the first time. Edmund Alleyn felt the need to revisit and rework both his writings and artworks until they completely satisfied him. Collected here is a rich array of these images and writings, allowing the reader to enter into the mind of this prolific painter.

This book is also available in a digital version here.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through the National Translation Program for Book Publishing, for our translation activities.


Born in Quebec City in an Anglo-Irish community, Edmund Alleyn (1931-2004) studied under Jean Paul Lemieux at the École des beaux-arts de Québec. In 1955, shortly after graduating, he won the Grand Prix in the Concours artistique de la Province de Québec and received a grant from the Royal Society, which led him to Paris, France, where he lived for the next fifteen years. In 1959, he was honoured with the bronze medal at the Sao Paulo Biennial. Just before returning to Quebec in 1971, he exhibited his poly-sensorial work Introscaphe I, which created a major sensation at the Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris. The oeuvre of Edmund Alleyn invokes a questioning of the passage of time and the evolution of art through a complex formal experience. His works have been collected by Canada’s most prestigious art institutions and feature in private collections in Europe and North America.

Jennifer Alleyn is a filmmaker. She authored her award-winning first feature-length documentary, My Father’s Studio. On the Traces of Edmund Alleyn, in 2008. Honoured at Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art and at Cannes, her films have been well received in Europe and Canada.

Gilles Lapointe is a professor at Université du Québec à Montréal's Art History Department. He is the author of numerous books and articles on Quebec art from 1940 to 1970. In 2005, in collaboration with Jocelyn Jean and Ginette Michaud, he published Edmund Alleyn. Indigo sur tous les tons (les éditions du passage, 2005).


As far as I can remember, images have always comprised the overnight bag of my mental travels. And I make images and objects because I don’t know how to live any other way. It’s as simple and complicated as that.




It is sometimes said that painting is an occupation for the old, since it takes a long time to master (there is no Mozart in painting). Perhaps it is a vocation for the old because it allows one to ramble on without eliciting too much attention.


« This slim volume is the first in a hopefully long series of books on art. [...] At first glance, these writings are reminiscent of John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, but this impression is ephemeral. Berger is a writer expounding on the aesthetics of painting, Alleyn was a painter expounding on the thoughts that images triggered in his mind. Do not be fooled: this dense booklet is deeply cerebral. And erotic as well, as exemplified by a short piece of fiction. The black and white illustrations are oniric and the whole oeuvre invites the reader to enter a trance-like state. »

Maya Khankhoje,