RENE MARCIL was born in Montreal in 1917. He began to study art production at L'Ecole des Beaux Arts in Montreal at the age of fourteen. He had a partly atrophied right arm was required to undergo a major surgery which left him with a limp. In order to escape from a troubled childhood and tumultuous relationship with his family, Marcil poured over the works of Raphael and Da Vinci.
After graduating he pursued work in the fields of advertising and illustration. In 1941, he moved to New York with his wife. There, he gained recognition for the line, style and elegance of his fashion drawings. His drawings were given daily spot in the New York Times. Marcil moved to Paris in 1952, where he embraced the longstanding European traditions of large abstract oil paintings and figure drawings. He became a member of "La Grande Chaumière", a studio space shared by a collection of Paris School artists. He spent a brief period of time in England before eventually settling in the French village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup.
Marcil utilized his practice as therapeutic tool. Some phases of his work cross into outsider territory. His paintings and drawings range from calculated and academic to furious and free-associated. Many earlier works display posed women, while later in life, his non-illustrative ideas and images explode in a frenzy of activity. Marcilʼs talent in colouration was his main mode of expression. His works display comfort and skill with a wide variation of colour schemes. This is evident in the artfully layered skin tones of his human forms and the wild juxtaposition of colour blocks in his abstract pieces. He alternated from muted nudes to vivid abstractions. Both display a masterfully expressive use of shape and line.
Marcil maintained a frugal bohemian lifestyle with a commitment to noncommercial art. He died in Toronto, ON from a heart attack on September 25th, 1993.