Canadian painter Alex Colville died at 92 years of age today. He became famous early in his career during the 60s:
In 1966, he showed 12 paintings as Canada’s representative at the Venice Biennale. Colville also designed a new set of coins celebrating Canada’s 100th birthday in 1967.
His work can be found in gallery collections including the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris. The Art Gallery of Hamilton owns the seminal work Horse and Train, often taken as an allegory for death.
According to the New York Times, his work ran against the grain of international art:
But at a time when the art world was tilting toward abstraction and internationalism, Mr. Colville was also something of an outsider, dedicated to figurative painting and to his native Canada, where he was revered by many as “painter laureate.” In 1965, he was commissioned by the government to design commemorative coins for Canada’s centennial. In his final decades, he collected a series of honors; most notably, he was named a Companion of the Order of Canada, a lifetime achievement award.
In 2004 the art historian Martin Kemp called Mr. Colville “the best Canadian artist of his time.” Comparing Mr. Colville to the English Romantic painter John Constable, he wrote, “He is a local painter in the sense that Constable was local, creating art that has to draw nourishment from scenes known intimately in order to find a wider truth.”
His most valuable work at market, Man on a Veranda, sold in 2010 for C$1.27m
Canadian Painter Alex Colville Dies (CBC.ca)