Artwork by William Kurelek,  Snow Showers and Horses Foraging

William Kurelek
Snow Showers and Horses Foraging

gouache
signed with monogram and dated 1966 lower right
14 x 18.75 ins ( 35.6 x 47.6 cms )

Sold for $23,000.00
Sale date: May 31st 2016

Provenance:
Isaacs Gallery, Toronto
Art Gallery of Ontario Art Rental Service, Toronto
Private Collection, Toronto
Literature:
William Kurelek, “Someone with Me: The Autobiography of William Kurelek”, Cornell University, Ithaca, 1973
A calm winter scene of horses grazing on farmland, Kurelek returns to his childhood of growing up on his family's wheat and dairy farms on the prairies. With grain mills visible on the horizon and the casual meandering trails left by the horses, the scene stands in contrast to the artist’s own sentiments of farm life. Interested in drawing and daydreaming rather than farm labour, Kurelek often sketched scenes of the daily activities on the farm in his youth, which translated into complete works during his developed artistic career. Interestingly, Kurelek was afraid of horses while growing up, giving this scene an interesting tension between the artist's experiences and the relative calm captured on a snowy winter day.


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William Kurelek
(1927 - 1977) RCA

Kurelek was the son of Ukrainian immigrant farmers. He grew up during the Great Depression on a grain farm in Alberta and then a dairy farm in Manitoba. His hard-working father thought that his son was lazy and was not pleased when he decided to pursue his studies in art. His father's rejection was to haunt him all of his life. Kurelek briefly studied art at school but preferred to teach himself through books. While traveling in England he was hospitalized for over a year and enrolled in the hospital's art therapy program. It was there that he drew many self-portraits and scenes of farm life from his youth. He also developed his unique style of outlining the drawing with a ballpoint pen, using coloured pencils for texture and adding details in pen. Careful examination of his drawings reveals images full of realism with minute details of things like cots, clothes and even insects. Under the pen of William Kurelek, prairie farm scenes and landscapes came to life. By the time of his death in 1977 Kurelek had produced over 2000 paintings. Many of Kurelek's painting were produced to accompany books for children. For these he won several awards including the New York Times' Best Illustrated Children's Book Award for A Prairie Boy's Winter and Lumberjack, and the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians Illustrators Award for A Prairie Boy's Summer.