René Marcil (b. 1917, Montreal - d. 1993, Toronto). He was educated at the École des Beaux Arts in Montreal from 1931-1935, and in the tradition of many other aspiring North American artists, he studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris in the early 1950s. Other well-known alumni from this school include Canadian artists Jean-Paul Riopelle and Julien Hébert, and American artists Alexander Calder, Hans Hoffman, Nat Mayer Shapiro, among others.
Between 1941 and 1991 Marcil lived in New York City, Paris, London, and southern France. Composition was painted during the tumultuous London years, when he was exploring the inner-self and confronting existential dramas. This gouache on paper exemplifies Marcil's fascination with colour theory and abstraction during this time.
Marcil pinned up the paper he was working on while he painted or sketched; pinholes in the corners of these works on paper are indicative of the artist's creative process.