Jacques Hurtubise was born in Montréal in 1939. He attended the École des beaux-arts de Montréal, graduating in 1960. He received the Max Beckman scholarship and studied in New York for a year in 1960.
His first solo exhibit, which included work he created while in New York, was at the Montréal Museum of Fine Art in 1961.
Hurtubise also spent time in China in the mid-1980s. His paintings encompass a range of influences from abstract expressionism to Chinese ceremonial masks.
In 1983, he moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia where he still resides.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Grand Prix de Peinture, Concours Artistique du Québec in 1965, the Prix Victor-Martyn-Lynch Staunton from the Canada Council of the Arts in 1993, and the Prix Paul-Émile-Borduas du Ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec in 2000. He is a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts.
Hurtubise has been exhibiting regularly since 1961 in both solo and group exhibitions across Canada and internationally. He is viewed as a key figure in Canadian abstraction, along with his contemporaries Yves Gaucher, Guido Molinari, Claude Tousignant and others.