Born in Montreal in 1950, René Lalonde bought his first set of paints, brushes, and canvases at the age of 12. Lalonde is, in many ways, a hybrid of the social and artistic movements of his youth in the 60s and 70s. Swept up in the fervor of rock and roll, Peter Max's psychedelic posters, and a new wave of modernism and postmodernism in art, Lalonde began developing his distinctly cerebral and surrealist artistic style. From surrealists including Magritte, Dalì, and Ernst, to pop art heavyweights such as Warhol and Lichtenstein, Lalonde drew inspiration from a diverse range of sources in his youth.
By 1967, Lalonde presented his first solo exhibition at a gallery in Montreal. While enthusiastically producing and selling art during this time, Lalonde devoted himself further, enrolling in L'Ecole du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, the art school connected to The Montréal Museum of Fine Arts. However, preferring self-study, Lalonde left after a year and continued to learn from the great masters, especially inspired by Picasso's late Cubism and the light effects and colors of Chagall. Lalonde's paintings are an art history lover's dream: they fuse several distinct traditions of modernism, allowing viewers to rethink and reimagine art movements. His vibrant, cacophonous colors are reminiscent of the eclectic Fauvist painters, including early Matisse. Yet Lalonde's juxtaposition of quotidian objects with surreal scenes conveys an eclectic mixture of Pop and Dada.
Lalonde has exhibited internationally, boasting over 175 solo shows over the course of his career.