News+Politics July 17, 2013
RIP Canadian Painter Alex Colville

Alex Colville speaking to CBC News in Nova Scotia (Photo: CBC)

Renowned Canadian painter Alex Colville has died at home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. He was 92.

Colville's work was known around the world for his work, including iconic paintings like 1954's 'Horse and Train' and 'To Prince Edward Island' from 1965, and he was a celebrated fixture in the Canadian art world.

He got his start as an artist during the Second World War, when he chronicled the Canadian assault on Juno Beach in France as a military artist, among other subjects.

rip-alex-colville-officer.jpgFor two years, he travelled through Europe painting English training camps, the Canadian Navy landing at Toulon and the 3rd Infantry in Belgium.

He was also one of three Canadian artists sent to paint images of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.

Works from that trip include Bodies in a Grave, Belsen and Tragic Landscape.

After the war, Colville took a job at Mount Allison teaching art and art history, and continued painting on the side.

His first solo exhibition took place in 1951 at the New Brunswick Museum in St. John, and by 1963 he had achieved enough success to become a full-time painter.

In 1972, he and his wife Rhoda moved to a house in Wolfville, Nova Scotia (her childhood home), where he remained until his death.

'To Prince Edward Island', 1965 (Image: Alex Colville)

Today, his work can be found in gallery collections the world over, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre National d'Art de Culture Georges Pompidou in Paris.

In 2010, his painting 'Man on Verandah' sold at auction for $1.1 million - the highest price one of his works has received to date.

rip-alex-colville-cows.jpgHe was also an Officer of the Order of Canada, an honour he received in 1967, and became a Companion of the Order in 1981.

Colville married Rhoda Wright, his muse and frequent model, in 1942. She passed away last year.

The couple had four children, one of whom - their son, John - predeceased Colville in December, 2012.

"This was, of course, a terrible blow for our father," Graham Colville told CBC News. "You might say that in some respects he never really recovered from that. But he certainly put on an amazing display of stamina and good cheer."


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