City Councillor, Ward 3, Fulton Heights/North Devon Area, City of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
CELEBRATED WAR ARTIST BRUNO BOBAK REMEMBERED
By Kate Wallace, Telegraph-Journal, September 25, 2012
Bruno Bobak’s final work is a good-sized
floral oil painting.
son, Alex Bobak, found it last week in his father’s home studio, in
Fredericton, when he went to air out the second-story bedroom of the thick
smells of oil paint and turpentine.
was really interested to see there was a completed painting on his easel,” he
said from Fredericton. “I
guess it indicates that right up to the very end he was still quietly going up
to that studio for half an hour or an hour or whatever he could muster. He
literally worked right until the last day.”
(Bruno) Josephus Bobak died Monday at the Saint John Regional Hospital. He
in Wawelowska, Poland, in 1923, he immigrated to Canada as a boy. His artistic
career had auspicious beginnings; his first teacher was Arthur Lismer, at
Saturday art classes he took as a teenager in Toronto.The
Group of Seven member emphasized interpreting nature, instead of copying it,
and using big, bold brushes rather than the formalized, academic way of
really the beginning of that whole program I got involved in,” Bobak told the
Telegraph-Journal in 2011. “I was hooked from then on.”
the seven decades since, Bobak has had a national career that includes hundreds
of group shows and dozens of one-man exhibitions, in Canada and abroad. His
work is in many public and private collections, including The Canada Council
Art Bank, the Canadian War Museum, and the National Gallery of Canada. He has
received numerous awards, honours and distinctions, including membership in the
Royal Canadian Academy and honorary university degrees.
the resumé. What friends, family and colleagues talk about when they talk about
Bruno Bobak is an unpretentious, compulsively creative man with a dry wit who
loved nothing more than casting a fly-line on the Miramichi.
was also half of one of Canada’s most famous husband-and-wife painting couples. In
1944, the year after he joined the army, he won a Canadian Army art
competition. Molly Lamb, his future wife, took second place, but it was not
until 1945, when she became an official war artist, the year after he had
joined the program, that they met.
to share studio space in London, he was initially irked by her presence. On
Dec. 10, 1945 they were married.
Canadian War Museum, in Ottawa, has 130 Bruno Bobak paintings and drawings in
its permanent collection. “That
work shows a commitment to art that probably wouldn’t have come so quickly if
it hadn’t been for the war,” said Laura Brandon, historian, art and war, at the
museum. “He used to say that being a war artist saved his life,” as most of his
platoon died on D-Day.
were 32 official war artists. Only Molly Bobak and Alex Colville survive.
the war, the Bobaks returned to Canada, living in a Toronto apartment building
owned by Group of Seven member Lawren Harris.
lived in Ottawa and Vancouver before moving to Fredericton in 1960 when he was
appointed artist-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. In 1962, he
became director of the university’ art centre, a position he held until
retiring in 1986. The
Bobaks promptly became prime movers in the city’s – and the province’s –
said that Bobak, like other war artists, helped create the next generation of
Canadian artists, and the recovery of post-war Canadian art in general.
were interested in other artists, they were interested in Canadian art, they
were interested in future generations,” she said. “I think they valued what
they had as a result of what they had been through. It was palpable in the way
they conducted their lives and how they contributed on all sorts of different
levels to the cultural fabric of their locality, their province and their
Pataki, Bobak’s Fredericton gallerist since 1976 and a longtime friend, met him
the week she arrived in Fredericton from her native Germany. “He
really, truly brought something special to the city,” she said.Bobak
arrived bearing a basket of vegetables from his garden.
was so easygoing. He was so relaxed,” she said.Later,
when she learned about the “serious part” of his artistic career, she was awed
by his talent.
always called him a renaissance man,” she said. “He reminded me of painters in
Europe in the early part of the 20th century, artists who were not just
made pieces of furniture, silk-screened his own neckties, and even built
time, he covered the ceiling of his dining room in gold foil he collected from
Peter Jackson cigarette packages.
was a great gardener and a skilled cook celebrated for his hospitality. Costume
parties were not just for Halloween. “There
was a certain standard,” Pataki said. “It was expected that you be creative and
come up with something amazing.”
time Molly Bobak donned a blue swimsuit and a sash, like a contestant in a
beauty pageant. Bruno had printed “Miss Fit” on her sash. He
once made a dress of see-through plastic for himself, protecting his modesty
with a bra and slip.
Pataki’s daughter, Germaine Pataki, who now runs the gallery, the Bobaks were
like grandparents. “He
made the craziest Christmas presents,” she said, including toys or artworks
decorated with his signature animal, the marmot.
was Bobak who came up with the name Gallery 78, from the Patakis’ house number
on Brunswick Street.
much as he loved art, he was sustained equally by salmon fishing. Alex
Bobak said that catching fish had become secondary, that the natural beauty and
contemplative side of angling had become the primary draw for his father. “He
indulged it to the nth degree,” he said. “He’d go fishing when there was no
chance in hell of catching anything.”
summer was a bad one for salmon, but Bobak was on the river just the same,
driving a 26-foot canoe, refusing, as ever, to don a life jacket. Alex
Bobak had bought him a high-tech one as a Christmas gift. It was never used. “I
guess I’m going to inherit that in mint condition,” he said.
is survived by Molly, Alex, his daughter, Anny Scoones, of British Columbia,
and Alex’s daughter, Julia.
Beaverbrook Art Gallery invites the public to stop by to sign a book of
condolences and view a selection of Bobak’s works it has put on display. The
tribute reflects the vitality, variety, rigour, honesty and splendour of
wanted to make New Brunswick and Canada a better place,” Bernard Riordon,
executive director and CEO of the gallery, said. “And he did that with great
Welcome to my Blog. I am the four term Councillor for beautiful and prosperous Ward 3, having first been elected in 2001, and again in 2004, 2008 and May 14, 2012.
Ward 3 is on the northside of Fredericton (the majestic Saint John River carves the city into equal north/south components). For those familair with our city, the approximate Ward 3 boundaries are: the Saint John River to the south, St. Mary's 1st Nation/Cliffe Street to the east, Brookside Drive to the west and the city limits/Killarney Lake to the north.
In my intial two terms, I was asked to co-chair the massive rewrite and public hearing process for Fredericton's new Municipal Plan. I also served two years as the Citys' Deputy Mayor; two years as Chair of the Development Services Committee, and as the inaugural Chair of the City of Fredericton Affordable Housing Committee.
In the third term, I had the honor of serving as Chair; Finance & Administration Committee for three years, Chair; City of Fredericton Pension Board for three year and continued as Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee
In this fourth term, I have been appointed Chair of Community Services, which encompasses recreation, liesure services, sports & facilites, parks and trees, and senior's issues. I am also serving as Chair of the labour/management contract Negotiaitons Committee, also as Chair of the City Employee's SuperAnnuation (pension) Board, and again, as Affordable Housing Chair
Please feel free to contact me at: email@example.com; or at Fredericton City Hall, PO Box 130, Fredericton, NB, Canada, E3B 4Y7 (506) 460-2020