Marcelle Ferron studied at École du Meuble in Montreal, and was an active participant in Les Automatistes, led by Paul-Émile Borduas. Ferron’s non-figurative paintings were hung in all the major Automatiste exhibitions. She pursued an innovative artistic career including noteworthy public art works in stained glass.
Ferron lived in Paris from 1953 to 1966 and continued to show in avant-garde exhibitions. She won the Silver Medal at the 1961 Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. Ferron’s paintings became progressively more forceful with vibrant colours and larger, fluid forms dominating the canvas. Like fellow Automatistes Borduas and Riopelle, Ferron applied paint to the canvas thickly, with great intensity and straight from the tube, often using a palette knife rather than a brush.
Ferron’s work is represented in many Canadian and foreign collections, including the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Hirshorn Museum in Washington, DC. The Musee d’art contemporain de Montréal held a retrospective of her work in 1970, which was also held in Paris at the Canadian Cultural Centre in 1972.
Ferron was made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1985 and was promoted to Grand Officer in 2000. On 7 September 2019, Google honoured Ferron with a “google doodle” to mark the anniversary of the unveiling of her piece at Vendôme station.