MALLEPART DE GRAND MAISON, dit Beaucour, PAUL (he generally signed Paul Beaucour or Paul de Beaucour), soldier, painter; baptized in 1700 in the parish of Saint-Eustache in Paris, France; m. on 25 June 1737 Marguerite Haguenier in Montreal; d. 15 July 1756 in Quebec.
The scarcity of documents concerning painters in the first half of the 18th century restricts considerably research on the life and work of Paul Beaucour. According to Gérard Morisset*, Beaucour is believed to have come to New France around 1720 in the colonial regular troops. The only information we have on his activities until his marriage in 1737 is that he served in the army. In his wedding certificate he is described as “sergeant in the troops of the company of M. de Beaujeu [Louis Liénard].” In the Montreal census of 1741 he is listed as “one of Beaujeu’s sergeants,” on Rue Saint-Paul. On 25 February of the previous year he had had his son François* baptized at Laprairie; François was to become the first painter of Canadian origin to study in Europe.
Beaucour’s life from 1740 to 1746 is unknown, but everything suggests that during this period he gave up his military career to become a painter. In 1746 he was in the region of Quebec. In the “inventory of the furnishings and belongings of the church” drawn up at Cap-Santé in 1747 are mentioned “two gilded frames, in one the portrait of the Virgin Mary, in the other that of Saint Joseph.” Gérard Morisset, who was able to examine these two paintings closely around 1934, states that they represent the “Virgin and Child” and “St Joseph and the Infant Jesus”; “they bear the almost illegible signature of Paul Beaucours and the date 1746.” Another piece of evidence of Paul Beaucour’s artistic production is furnished by the account books for 1751 of the parish of Saint-Pierre, Île d’Orléans: in them mention is made of a payment “to the Sieur Beaucourt for different paintings, to wit three baldachins and their supporting columns, and for having repaired the picture of the high altar and some others, all at the rate of four livres per day for 40 days, 160 livres.” It seems certain, moreover, that Beaucour continued to work as a painter at Quebec until his death. Indeed, the baptismal registers of the parish of Notre-Dame de Quebec for the years 1747 to 1756, the period in which four of his children were baptized, always describe him as a painter. It was in the cemetery of this parish that Paul Beaucour was buried on 16 July 1756, the day after his death.
ANQ-M, Registre d’état civil, Laprairie, 25 févr. 1740; Notre-Dame de Montréal, 25 juin 1737. AJQ, Registre d’état civil, Notre-Dame de Québec, 11 nov. 1747, 5 nov. 1749, 30 sept. 1751, 14 nov. 1753. Archives paroissiales de Saint-Pierre (île d’Orléans), Livres de comptes pour 1751. IOA, Dossier Paul Beaucour, peintre. “Recensement de Montréal, 1741” (Massicotte), 31. Morisset, Coup d’œil sur les arts. Antoine Roy, Les lettres, les sciences et les arts au Canada sous le regime français (Paris, 1930), 241–55. Gérard Morisset, “Généalogie et petite histoire, le peintre François Beaucourt,” SGCF Mémoires, XVI (1965), 195–99; “Paul Beaucourt (1700–1756),” Vie des arts (Montréal), I, no.4 (1956), 20–21; “Paul Malepart de Beaucours (1700–1756),” L’Événement (Quebec), 5 déc. 1934.