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DRUÉ, JUCONDE, Recollet, architectural designer and painter, born in Paris 1664; entered the Recollet order 1683; died after 1726, possibly in Paris c. 1739.

Drué’s chief importance in the history of New France is as the designer who popularized the type of church plan and interior decoration known, after the religious order in whose chapels it first appeared, as à la récollette. This style was first introduced to New France by the painter-architect Claude François*, Frère Luc, the church he designed for the Recollets during his stay in Quebec from August 1670 to November 1671 being modelled on the Recollet church in Paris, still extant as the Villemin Military Hospital opposite the Gare de l’Est. In 1692 the Quebec church was sold to Bishop Saint-Vallier [La Croix] for use as the Hôpital Général, and the Recollets acquired another property near the Château Saint-Louis. Here they were to build a new church and monastery in 1693 to the designs of Juconde Drué.

Before coming to Canada – probably in 1692–Drué had been trained in painting and architectural design at the Recollet monastery in Paris where Frère Luc lived. Drué not only followed his teacher’s precepts in designing the 1693 Recollet church of Quebec but also incorporated in it most of the interior woodcarving from the earlier Recollet church which Frère Luc had built; under the terms of sale to Saint-Vallier the Recollets were allowed to take these fittings with them. Though this first building by Drué in Quebec was damaged during the siege of 1759 and destroyed by fire in 1796, its appearance is well known from the exterior and interior drawings which Richard Short* made of it, and published in 1761.

In basic form the building was a long barrel-vaulted rectangle, without transepts; on either side of the end wall were altars, framed by freestanding columns on pedestals carrying straight entablatures. Between these columns was a deep recess, whose walls supported a tall tower and spire, and against the flat end wall was a main altar framed like the side ones, but with double instead of single columns and an elliptical pediment giving the effect of a triumphal arch. This arrangement was instantly popular and widely imitated in the colony. Drué himself helped spread this vogue by repeating it in several works. He is thought to have designed the third church of Sainte-Anne de Beaupré (rebuilding begun 1689, interior from 1694 on). To him also has been attributed the Petit Hermitage, or Chapelle Saint-Roch, erected in 1694 by the Recollets on the east side of the St Charles River. He also apparently designed the 1706 Recollet church of Montreal (which Pierre Janson, dit Lapalme, contracted to finish in 1712), and the churches of Saint-Joseph (1721) and Saint-Nicolas (begun 1721, completed 1728) on the Lauson shore. Not one of the five buildings now survives. Gérard Morisset has also attributed to Drué the design for the third parish church of Trois-Rivières, built 1710–13; this church was in an area traditionally under strong Recollet influence, and the interior decoration, begun in 1730, was under the direction of Augustin Quintal*, Drué’s pupil and his successor as chief designer for the Recollets. The lavishly carved interior of this Trois-Rivières church, executed by Gilles Bolvin*, was, until its destruction by fire in 1908, one of the greatest achievements of Quebec art, and the first of a brilliant series of interiors created jointly by Quintal and Bolvin which directly carried on and developed the precedent set by Drué.

Other examples of Drué’s influence on church design during the French régime include the first church of Ange-Gardien (built 1675–76, interior decoration begun after 1694 under Louis-Gaspard Dufournel*, destroyed 1931), the redecoration of the chapel of the Hôpital Général (begun 1697, still extant with many later alterations), the second church of Pointe-aux-Trembles, Montreal (built 1705–9, decorated from 1726 on by Pierre-Nöel Levasseur*, destroyed 1937), the first church of Yamachiche (probably designed by Drué’s follower Augustin Quintal in the early 1730s), and the chapel of the Ursulines in Quebec (built 1720–22, decorated 1734–39 by the Levasseurs, remodelled in 1902 and still extant). After 1763, churches à la récollette were severely criticized by Bishop Briand*, but despite his strictures Drué’s precedent and influence lived on into the 19th century to be brilliantly revived and given classic expression in the great church designs of Thomas Baillairgé*.

That Drué’s artistic talents were recognized by his contemporaries is evident from the fact that in 1700 the Conseil Souverain chose him as “arbiter-estimateur” in a litigious affair between the sculptor Denis Mallet and the Jesuits. However, for Drué himself his artistic career was only a small part of his life’s work, and most of his time was devoted to missionary and ecclesiastical activities. In 1692 he is referred to as “prêtre missionnaire” at Notre-Dame-des-Anges (Quebec), and in 1693 we find him at Saint-Augustin de Portneuf. From 1693 to 1698, he interrupted his ministry there to become the first chaplain of the Hôpital Général of Quebec. In 1700, Drué went back to missionary work which led him successively to Charlesbourg (1700), Ancienne-Lorette (1701), Sainte-Anne de la Pérade (1718), Saint-Antoine de Tilly (1719–20), Saint-Joseph de Chambly (1721, 1723–24), and to Pointe à la Chevelure (1721–23). In July 1726, we find him in Montreal – the last mention of him in Canada.

Alan Gowans

AAQ, Registres d’insinuation A, 419. Archives des Franciscains de Québec, Dossier Juconde Drué. AJQ Greffe de François Genaple, 17 sept. 1692, 10 janv. 1693. Charlevoix, Histoire (1722), III, 74f. Jug. et délib., IV, 487, 495; V, 211. Richard Short, Twelve views of the principal buildings in Québec (London, 1761). Caron, “Prêtres séculiers et religieux,” 290. R.-É. Casgrain, Histoire de la paroisse de l’Ange-Gardien (Québec, 1902). J.-C. Gamache, Histoire de Saint-Roch de Québec et de ses institutions 1829–1929 (Québec, 1929), 24f. Gosselin, LÉglise du Canada, I. Alan Gowans, Church architecture in New France (Toronto, 1955). Jouve, Les Franciscains et le Canada: aux Trois-Rivières; Les frères mineurs à Québec, 1615–1905, simple coup d’œil historique (Québec, 1906), 80f. Monseigneur de Saint-Vallier et lHôpital Général de Québec. Gérard Morisset, Coup d’œil sur les arts en Nouvelle-France (Québec, 1941). J.-E. Roy, Histoire de la seigneurie de Lauzon (5v., Lévis, 1897–1904), II, 96f. P.-G. Roy, A travers lhistoire de lHôtel-Dieu de Québec (Lévis, 1939); Les vieilles églises de la province de Québec, 1647–1800 (Québec, 1925). Ramsay Traquair, The old architecture of Québec (Toronto, 1947). Gérard Morisset, “Thomas Baillargé,” Technique (Québec), XXIV (1949), 471.

General Bibliography

Cite This Article

Alan Gowans, “DRUÉ, JUCONDE,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed September 21, 2014, http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/drue_juconde_2E.html.

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Permalink: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/drue_juconde_2E.html
Author of Article: Alan Gowans
Title of Article: DRUÉ, JUCONDE
Publication Name: Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 2
Publisher: University of Toronto/Université Laval
Year of publication: 1969
Year of revision: 1969
Access Date: September 21, 2014