FOUREUR (or Le Fourreur), dit Champagne, LOUIS, cabinet-maker, wood-carver, and clockmaker; b. 2 June 1720 in Montreal (Que.), son of Pierre Foureur, a blacksmith and locksmith, and Anne-Céleste Desforges; m. 9 Nov. 1744 Catherine Guertin in Montreal; d. there 16 April 1789.
Louis Foureur may have learned the trade of cabinet-maker and wood-carver under the guidance of François Filiau, dit Dubois, since the two men knew each other well. Filiau was at Foureur’s wedding and the following year was godfather to his eldest son. Little is known about Foureur’s career as a wood-carver. He took on at least six apprentices, the first in 1744 for a period of four years, the last in 1775 for six years. In 1757 he made six wooden candlesticks for the church of Sainte-Geneviève (Pierrefonds), and in 1760 he received money for the retable and tabernacle of the Chapelle du Père Éternel in the Hôpital Général of Montreal. Two years earlier he had signed a contract with mason and stone-cutter François Périnneau, dit Lamarche, for the stonework of a chapel in the Recollet church in Montreal. Work was to begin in April 1759, and it is probable that Louis Foureur had made the plans for the chapel since the contract refers to him as “architect.”
Even less is known about Louis Foureur’s career after the conquest, and care must be taken not to confuse it with that of his son Jean-Louis, who was also a cabinet-maker and wood-carver and who used the signature and name of Louis Foureur. From 1760 on the senior Foureur may have been responsible for the maintenance of the organ in Notre-Dame, Montreal, a task subsequently carried out by his son. His work as a clockmaker is known thanks to an article published in 1813 in the Montreal weekly Le Spectateur and devoted to Foureur and another Montreal clockmaker, Jean-Baptiste Filiau, dit Dubois, the brother of François. Described as “an amiable man” known for “his wit and the liveliness of his conversation,” whose entire education consisted of “having learned to read and write in his youth,” Foureur is said to have been a friend of the Sulpician Gabriel-Jean Brassier, who supposedly often extolled to him the superiority of Europeans over Canadians in the fine arts. Using a clock imported from Europe as an example, Brassier is said to have asked Foureur “if a Canadian workman would be capable of contemplating the execution of such a work.” The story goes that Foureur, having taken up the challenge by studying clockmaking in secret and by making an excellent clock, continued to make clocks until his death.
Louis Foureur spent his entire life in Montreal. At first a tenant in a merchant’s house on Rue Notre-Dame, in 1747 he had a single-storey stone house built on that street and lived in it until his death. Being rather well-off, he owned two other houses with the land they stood on, one on Rue Notre-Dame and the other on Rue Saint-Jacques, as well as a large piece of land on the Côte Saint-Louis. After 1776 Foureur and his wife began to sell their property, the last transaction being in 1784, the year in which they drew up their will. Their seven children included, besides Jean-Louis, Pierre, a silversmith, and Charlotte, who married Dominique Rousseau*, a silversmith and fur-trader.
ANQ-M, Doc. jud., Registres des audiences pour la juridiction de Montréal, 28B, f.83v; État civil, Catholiques, Notre-Dame de Montréal, 2 juin 1720, 9 nov. 1744, 23 août 1745, 23 août 1756, 18 avril 1789; Greffe de L.-C. Danré de Blanzy, 24, 25 mai 1745, 12 mai 1752, 24 avril 1759; Greffe de Jean Delisle, 4 avril 1771, 17 oct. 1774, 10 mars, 17 juin 1779, 20 janv., 12 juin 1780; Greffe de J.-B. Desève, 12 mars 1791; Greffe d’Antoine Foucher, 15 janv. 1755, 15 janv. 1775, 28 janv. 1776; Greffe de P.-F. Mézière, 15 août, 4 nov. 1767, 29 janv. 1776, 24 avril 1781, 31 juill., 6 nov. 1784; Greffe de François Simonnet, 14 sept., 8 nov. 1744, 20 févr. 1746, 10 avril 1747, 29 juin 1750, 22 févr. 1753, 2 nov. 1758, 15 avril 1763. IBC, Centre de documentation, Fonds Morisset, Dossier Louis Foureur, dit Champagne. [F.-M.] Bibaud, Dictionnaire historique des hommes illustres du Canada et de l’Amérique (Montréal, 1857). Tanguay, Dictionnaire. Émile Falardeau, Artistes et artisans du Canada (5 sér., Montréal, 1940–46), 5e sér., 59–60, 67–71. Morisset, Coup d’œil sur les arts, 18, 34. “Arts libéraux et mécaniques,” La Bibliothèque canadienne, ou miscellanées historiques, scientifiques, et littéraires (Montréal), I (1825), 174–78. “Communication,” Le Spectateur (Montréal), 16 sept. 1813, 65–66. O.[-M.-H.] Lapalice, “Les organistes et maîtres de musique à Notre-Dame de Montréal,” BRH, XXV (1919), 245.