Modern In Nature: Bruno Bobak’s Vancouver Years (1947-1960)

Bruno Bobak (Canadian, 1923-2012), Early Watercolour #60 (detail), date unknown, watercolour on paper, 27.9 x 38.1 cm, Gift of the Estate of Bruno Bobak

November 20 - March 1, 2015    |    Regular Exhibition    |    Cost:

Bruno Bobak

Still fresh from his war artist duties and after a short sojourn in Ottawa, Bruno Bobak and his wife Molly Lamb Bobak moved to Vancouver in 1947 to embrace a new start and to focus on their careers as two of Canada’s most promising young artists. 


With a deep urge to create, backed by the security of a teaching position at the Vancouver School of Art (the forerunner to Emily Carr University of Art & Design), Bruno Bobak found himself in the epicentre of a burgeoning art and design scene at the western edge of Canada.  Modernism was the clarion call of the era in Vancouver, and together with such artistic trailblazers as B.C. Binning, Jack Shadbolt and Gordon Smith in the Visual Arts (and Molly too, of course), and Ron Thom as collaborator and architectural genius, Bruno was a keystone of Vancouver’s progressive cultural energy. Strongly inspired by the heroic natural environment and the newfound freedom and optimism of the post-war years, he produced some of the finest work of his career.

The 1950s were incredibly fertile years for Bruno Bobak. Not shackled by being labeled a painter and printmaker, he also explored many other artistic mediums such as fine craft, jewellery, pottery and architecture; and succeeded magnificently at all of them. Whatever he pursued, he fused artistic rigour with a vivid sense of material integrity, rich colour, and oftentimes a sense of whimsy for good measure. It was during the 1950s when Bruno started to fully flourish as a mature artist, and his work was first recognized by being purchased by the National Gallery of Canada and awarded multiple honours at numerous national and international art exhibitions.

For those more familiar with his post-1960 expressionist and figurative canvases, Bruno Bobak’s body of work from his Vancouver Years will be a revelation, showing this renowned artist at one of the most productive and innovative periods of his career.

Curator: John Leroux
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Province of New Brunswick, and the City of Fredericton (Arts, Culture & Heritage Funding Program).