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William Kurelek: Jewish Life in Canada

April 12 - June 25

William Kurelek

Jewish Life in Canada

Ongoing through June 25, 2023

About the Exhibition

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. 

Virtual Curatorial TalkWilliam Kurelek’s Jewish Life in Canada

with Sarah Milroy, David Koffman, John Geoghegan and Natalka Husar
April 19, 2023

William Kurelek (1927–1977), Jewish Immigrants Arriving on the Prairies, 1975.

William Kurelek (1927–1977), Jews in the Clothing Business in Winnipeg, 1975, mixed media on board, 40.6 × 71.1 cm, McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Photo: Michael Cullen, Dunnville, Ontario, © Estate of William Kurelek, courtesy of the Wynick / Tuck Gallery, Toronto

William Kurelek (1927–1977), Jewish Wedding in Calgary, 1975.


April 12
June 25
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