A Short History of Jeanne Henry Côté

Jeanne Henry Côté received her first drawing contract at the age of five.

“Someone needed a drawing done by a five year old child. I was free to draw what I wanted, so I drew a turkey in a pan ready to go to the oven.”

By the seventh grade, Côté was drawing posters and selling them to her classmates.

When asked when Côté got her start as an artist, Côté responds, “I never really started as an artist because I always was one.”

At the age of 14, Côté witnessed her grandmother mixing colours on canvas and it gave her the feeling that she wanted to do it, too.

While taking some drawing courses at the Halifax College Art and Design, Côté met Michael Grunsky, an architect, who encouraged her to study Fine Art. That summer Côté was offered a contact by the Ministry of Recreation to paint in public. The position paid $50.00 an hour which was thought to be very good money back then.

In 1978 Côté was accepted into the Ontario College of Art in Toronto. Côté spent five years intensively drawing and painting live models.

In 1984, Côté was awarded a grant from the Ontario Art Council, and was also interviewed on CBC Radio Canada about her work.

After graduation, Côté opened a commercial art studio in Guelph, Ontario.

Côté designed trade show booths, signs, brochures, illustrations and various other promotional materials.

“There were no visual challenges I could not meet, I did them all.”

After the studio years, Côté taught art on Madison Avenue in Toronto for one year. She left at the end of the year to live in her cottage and paint landscapes in Georgian Bay.

Jeanne Henry 2The following years found Côté working as a freelance artist, receiving different contracts and commissions from various companies and private clients. It was not unusual to see Côté up in some scaffolding, painting huge murals for franchise restaurants throughout the country.

In 2003, Côté bought a house on the shores of the Rivière Rouge in La Conception, a village 4 kilometers from Mont-Tremblant. Côté demolished the walls and made it into her own studio.

Côté began to offer picture and painting restoration for antique dealers.  

Côté would paint on rusted metal sheets or 100 year old wood boards, scraping and scratching the pieces adding stains to make them look old.

Meanwhile, Côté was developing a style of her own.

Spending hours looking and studying the snow and skies of Suzor Coté (1869-1937), Côté began painting skiers. Her experience with costume design drawing from live models at the Ontario College of Art proved to be helpful, making it easier for Côté to dress up her “personages” in an old-fashioned style.

Côté says that the costume design part of her painting is important as well as natural to her abilities.

Côté often designs the costumes onto the canvas without sketching them first. Her recent work has been done in acrylic on 100 year old wood, as well as canvas. Her wood boards are carefully chosen and have been laminated by Jean Yves Paradis, a 77 year old artist who is known to be the best furniture maker, sculptor and wood worker in the Laurentian region.

Côté has had many art exhibits in various galleries throughout Ontario and Québec including the McMichael Gallery in Toronto.

Some of Côté’s works can be found on greeting cards that can be purchased directly from Côté by email.

Today, Côté works and lives in her studio.

You can view and purchase Côté’s work at Lorraine’s, which is located at 2000 Chemin du Village in Mont-Tremblant. You can also view Côté’s work online, at artgalleryjeannecote.wordpress.com. Or directly communicate with Côté by email at jeannecote@hotmail.com.

You can find Côté’s book “My Short Story of Enlightenment” on Amazon.