Alex Colville was many things during his long life: a painter, a teacher, an engraver, a sketch artist and a muralist. He was born in Toronto but grew up in Nova Scotia and lived most of his life in Wolfville, eschewing big city life. When he died this week, at the age of 92, Canada lost one of its finest creative forces.
Alex Colville sat down with Michael Enright in 1974 - on the CBC radio program, This Country in the Morning - to talk about his work - what inspired him and what haunted him from his years of being a war artist.
He enlisted in the Canadian infantry in 1942 and became an official war artist in 1944. At the end of the war he was one of three Canadian artists who went into the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, creating haunting images from what he saw there.
Colville was marked for life by his experiences during the second world war, and his son has said that he had nightmares about it for decades. Which is perhaps why Colville saw "life as inherently dangerous" and once said he had an "essentially dark view of the world and human affairs". This is a rebroadcast of his 1974 conversation with Michael Enright.
IMAGE: Soldier and Girl at Station, a painting by Alex Colville, dated 1953, glazed tempera on board 40.6x61cm or 16x24 inches.