In 1948, Yves studied at Collège Brébeuf (present-day Collège Jean-de-Brébeuf), but soon was expelled for drawing immoral pictures. Some time later, he attended Sir George Williams College (later known as Sir George Williams University), where he took his first art course. During the period from 1954 to 1956, Caucher studied at the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. Later, the painter continued his studies under the guidance of Albert Dumouchel until 1960.
Gaucher's first full-time job was at the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), where he started in the mailroom.
His art career began, when he set up an exhibition at the Galerie d'Échange in Montreal in 1957. In the first half of the 1960s, he focused on printmaking. The work from this period, limited to a few lines or rectangles on a white background, shows his exploration of the visual reading process and the effects of the visual tension in his abstract, pared-down prints. To achieve more clearly defined reliefs, Gaucher tried various original techniques and sometimes layered papers of two different thicknesses. In many works, Gaucher explored the links between visual art and music even further, focusing on rhythm, structure, variations, and synthesis.
In 1964, Yves turned from printmaking to painting and to color as well. As a painter, he played with coloured fields, juxtaposing them through the interplay of chromatic energy, symmetry, asymmetry and blank space.
In 1966, he participated in the 33rd Venice Bienniale and in the same year Yves became an assistant professor of fine arts at Sir George Williams University (which became Concordia University in 1974), where he taught graphic arts and painting until 2000. His students included celebrated artists, such as Betty Goodwin, Jana Sterbak and Marc Séguin. The same year, in 1966, he started the series Signals/Silences, which contained what he called "signals" — short horizontal lines, that created a symmetrical, ordered composition, allowing him to explore changes in chromatic perception through contrasts and complementary colors.
In 1967, he began to explore lithography. This printing technique produced a flatter color, than his early prints and subtly played with appearances and disappearances, resulting in a dynamic and stimulating effect on the viewer.
In the early 1970s, the painter traveled to Yucatán and extensively documented Pre-Columbian cultures. From then on, his palette became brighter and more colorful. In 1975, he travelled through Egypt, Greece and Morocco to gather visual documentation.
In 1978, the Gaucher started working on a set of large-scale paintings entitled Jericho: une allusion à Barnett Newman, in which truncated triangles crossed by a blank vertical stripe create an interplay of diagonals and asymmetries. The triangular and trapezoidal structures in these paintings call to mind certain ancient architectural features of Mexico, Guatemala and Egypt, which Gaucher had long studied in his travels. The asymmetry in the work creates strong tensions.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, the painter took part in different North American collective exhibits, some of which were dedicated to the great avant-garde artists of the 1960s.
In the early 1990s, after several decades devoted to painting, Gaucher returned to printmaking.
In 1996, the Galerie Simon Blais and the Montréal Museum of Fine Arts launched retrospective exhibits of his work.
After his death in September 2000, retrospective exhibits were organized across the country in his honour.
RB/PS 2 - 15
Deux bleus, vert
Ocres, Jaune et Vert
Untitled (8 - 3 - D - 19)
Vert, Brun, Bleu, et Ochre
Untitled (9 - 1 - A - 17)
THG N-D 68
CDR - GRB I
Untitled (9 - 1 - A - 15)
MX - O/N/69
Square Dance: Blues for Green
Rouge, Ocre, Bleu, Vert
X - 1
Danse carrée: Once Upon a Square
Pauses (4 - 2 - E - 11)
Study for Six Squares
Trinome (6 - 2 - C - 31)
Deux Bleus/Deux Gris (first version)
R - M - I
Trinome (6 - 2 - C - 32)
Yves married Germaine Chaussé in 1964. The couple had two sons — Benoit Gaucher and Denis Gaucher.