William Kurelek

William Kurelek (Wasyl), painter and writer, evangelist was born near Whitford, AB in 1927 and died in Toronto, ON in 1977.  Influenced by Bosch and Brueghel and by prairie roots, his Ukranian heritage and Roman Catholicism, Kurelek's realistic and symbolic paintings record his historic culture and religious vision. He studied at Winnipeg, Toronto and San Miguel, Mexico. In England (1952-59), he sought psychiatric help and was hospitalized for severe emotional problems, depression and eye pain. He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1957 and credited God with his healing, then began to paint the Passion of Christ according to St Matthew. Returning to Toronto, he was established by the early 1960s as an important painter, alternating realistic works depicting his prairie roots with didactic series. In the 1970s he began to publish his paintings with simple texts. His books for children (A Prairie Boy's Winter, 1973; Lumberjack, 1974; A Prairie Boy's Summer, 1975; and A Northern Nativity, 1976) have become modern classics. His autobiography, Someone With Me (1973, rev ed 1980), ends with his marriage to Jean Andrews (1962). Kurelek was an outstanding artist with a unique idealistic and pragmatic vision.

Primeaval (sic) Forest - Windsor Before the Arrival of Man
ink on paper
2.2" x 11"