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Kurelek’s suite of paintings honours his friendship with art dealer


William Kurelek – Jewish Life in Canada

On now until August @ McMichael Canadian Art Collection

William Kurelek (1927–1977) is a beloved figure in Canadian art, a revered Ukrainian Canadian painter whose works express his deeply felt immigrant experience and his compassionate vision of humanity. Many of his richly detailed, jewel-toned works reflect memories of his hardscrabble childhood in Manitoba, others his sometimes apocalyptic ruminations on a darkening world.

His suite of paintings titled Jewish Life in Canada was made to honour his friendship with the Toronto art dealer Avrom Isaacs, who offered the artist a framing job at his gallery before discovering his employee’s remarkable creative gifts. A devout Roman Catholic, Kurelek intended Jewish Life in Canada as a gesture across the cultural divide, implicitly demonstrating his open-mindedness toward Canadians of cultural and religious backgrounds different from his own.

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