Norman R. Beaupré
Biddeford, Maine

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L'Enclume et le Couteau

The Life and Works of Adelard Coté Folk Artist

L'Enclume et le Couteau, The Life and Works of Adelard Coté Folk Artist was originally published by the National Materials Development Center, Manchester,N.H. in1982. It has now been reprinted and is available to readers and researchers of Franco-American folk art. It was out of print for many years until the author decided to get a reprint done. The work deals essentially with the wooden sculptures and the life of Adelard Coté (1889-1974) who emigrated from St-Pierre-Baptiste, Québec to Biddeford, Maine in 1913. The Forward relates how the author met Mr. Coté in 1971 and is followed by an introduction to the history of the city of Biddeford from 1610 to 1920. The third section concentrates on the artifacts.

Most of Mr. Coté's sculptures are hand painted; he used any kind of available wood and worked not only with wood but also metal and leather. He was an illiterate farmer turned blacksmith who during the winter months spent his time carving: horses, carts, other animals such as cows and pigs, spinning wheels, chairs and human figures. His most intricate ones are his farmer and son with a team of horses pulling a tipping cart as well as a little plowman with plow and moldboard pulled by two workhorses with an intricate assemblage of straps, buckles and swingle bars. Mr. Coté painted and/or varnished all of his pieces. He never sold any of them but relished making them for his own pleasure often exhibiting them at agricultural fairs such as, the Fryeburg Fair and the Rochester Fair where he won first prize for his choice pieces. The book includes 58 black and white photos of many of the sculptures and of the wife of Mr. Coté, Éva, taken by Stephen Muskie the son of the late Senator Muskie who happened to be a neighbor of Norman Beaupré at that time.

Adelard Coté's wood sculptures are unique inasmuch as they stand out as a reflection of the traditional way of life of the Québécois ancestors of the Franco-Americans. They are a faithful testimony of the way rural Québec worked and lived in the 19th Century through the early 20th that was brought here in New England by the French-Canadian immigrants.

ISBN: 9781595268600
Language: French/English

Reprinted in 2007 by Llumina Press.

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Last updated: July 13, 2012