Joseph Plaskett, Canadian painter, dies at 96

Joseph Plaskett, celebrated Canadian painter, died in his home Sunday at the age of 96.

The celebrated artist died in his sleep Sunday in England

Joseph Plaskett, British Columbia-born painter and one of Canada’s most influential artists, died Sunday in England, at the age of 96.

Influential Canadian painter, Joseph Plaskett, died on Sept. 21, 2014 at age 96. (Plaskett Foundation)
Plaskett's health had been declining over the past year after he was diagnosed with dementia​, his partner Mario Ducet told CBC News.

Born in 1918 in New Westminster, Plaskett studied art in Banff, San Francisco, New York, and London before settling in Paris in 1951.

In a 2008 interview with CBC News, Plaskett described the inspiration he found in the romantic French city.

"When I went to Paris I was so enchanted with the beauty of the old world — what was left of it after the wars — that I just had to surrender myself to my rapture at seeing what was in front of my eyes."

Most recently, Plaskett called England home.

Leaving a legacy for young artists

Still Life on Rectangles is a 2007 oil on canvas by Joseph Plaskett. The artist said he'd look at a painting for days or years before he realizing what would make it better. (Joseph Plaskett/Bau-Xi Gallery)
​Plaskett's chosen subjects have always been intimate expressions of everyday life. His works hang in public art collections across the country including the National Gallery of Canada.

Most recently, the artist helped found The Plaskett Foundation in 2004 to aid and support Canadian visual artists.

Each year, the foundation awards $25,000 to a young Canadian student to enable them to travel and study art in Europe for one year.

In a statement on the foundation's website Plaskett described the joy he received from giving away "a large part" of his fortune to help others:

"The art that I make and that I see others make confirms the miracle of being alive. Almost every day I live in a state of exaltation."