Born: April 14, 1908, in Montreal
Robert LaPalme was one of the most famous Quebec caricaturists; his work appeared in nearly every important French newspaper in Canada, and he illustrated numerous books. During his years as a cartoonist, he became particularly well-known for lampooning Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis when nobody else would.
He never formally studied art, although he would teach at Laval University until 1949. He also organized the Salon Internationale de la Caricature, and served as artistic director of Expo 67.
He was also artistic director for the metro, where he set a policy that favoured representational art telling the history of Montreal — one of the first metro networks to include public art throughout the network. He envisioned works for every station of the original network, though only a few would eventually be created.
He inveighed against abstract art in the metro, believing that it would lose its interest for passengers after being viewed only a few times; but this policy ran up against the Automatiste movement in Quebec art. Even in the original network, a few non-representational pieces would be included in the architecture; but the policy most severely cracked during a well-publicized feud between him and Marcelle Ferron over her stained glass at Champ-de-Mars station. Ferron won, and abstract art found its place in the metro. LaPalme's own son would split with his father over the subject, taking the name Pierre Gaboriau; and an Automatiste, Jean-Paul Mousseau, would later take LaPalme's place as artistic director.
LaPalme's honours and recognitions include the 1952 National Newspaper Award and the Order of Canada in 1972.