The catalogue raisonné


What is a catalogue raisonné?

A catalogue raisonné is a published work (or as is increasingly common, an online database) that presents and describes, in a particular classification, all of the known works of an artist. In other words, it is a complete and detailed inventory of an artist’s work. The word “detailed” deserves to be emphasized here, because it is in this detail that a catalogue raisonné is distinguished from a simple inventory. In a catalogue raisonné, each painting, sketch, engraving, etc. has its own entry that describes and documents it as precisely as possible, ideally providing:

  • Its catalog number;
  • Photographs of the work;
  • Its title and title variations;
  • Its date of realization;
  • Its medium and its support;
  • Its dimensions;
  • The location and transcription of the signature as well as the inscriptions;
  • The name of the owner at the time of publication or at least the type of collection;
  • Its origin (the history of ownership since its creation, within the limits imposed by confidentiality);
  • Its exhibition history (the list of exhibitions where it was presented);
  • Its publication history (the list of documents that comment on or reproduce the work).


In addition to these notes and to put them in context, a catalogue raisonné often includes a few essays that present the work, the artist’s career, his critical reception, etc. Finally, a list of lost or destroyed works, a chronology, a list of exhibitions and an exhaustive bibliography are often included at the end of the catalogue.

Marc-Aurèle Fortin: Catalogue raisonné

To carry out this ambitious project, the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Foundation for the Arts called upon researcher Sarah Mainguy, M.A. who had already worked on the catalogue raisonné in its early stages while employed at the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Museum. Ms. Mainguy is known for her expertise on Fortin. In addition to having completed a master’s thesis on the artist, she has collaborated on several major exhibitions on the painter, including Marc-Aurèle Fortin: L’expérience de la couleur, organized by the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, and Marc-Aurèle Fortin: Paysages modernes du Québec traditionnel, a travelling exhibition that circulated in several Quebec museums and for which she assumed the role of freelance curator.


If you own a work of art that you believe to be by Marc-Aurèle Fortin, please send us the information about it by filling out the form available in the section You own a work of art. We are committed to keeping confidential all personal information concerning the owners of the works.

Do you own a work of art?

If you own a work of art that you believe to be by Marc-Aurèle Fortin, please send us the information about it by filling out the following form and returning it to us by mail at the address below.


We are committed to keeping all personal information about the owners of the works confidential.


Submitting a work to the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Project: The Catalogue raisonné offers no guarantee of its inclusion in the Catalogue raisonné. The decision to include or not a work in the Catalogue will depend solely on the opinion we have formed about it.


The decision to include a work in the Catalogue raisonné does not constitute a guarantee of its authenticity or provenance and should not be relied upon as such by the owner or any future purchaser. Likewise, the decision not to include a work in the Catalogue does not constitute a declaration of inauthenticity. We reserve the right to change our decision and opinion without notice and at our sole discretion.


By signing and submitting the work submission form, the owner agrees that under no circumstances will the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Foundation for the Arts be liable to the owner for any damages resulting, directly or indirectly, from the exclusion of a work from the Catalogue raisonné or from the work of creating the Catalogue raisonné (including research, examination, communication, photography) or arising from the resulting publications and postings (including any text, commentary, image or publication as a whole), and the owner voluntarily and knowingly agrees to waive any and all legal remedies or claims against the Marc-Aurèle Fortin Foundation for the Arts as well as its administrators, managers, researchers, photographers, experts, authors, employees, consultants and legal representatives.


Sarah Mainguy
Project and Research Manager
Marc-Aurèle Fortin: Catalogue raisonné