Local artist donates $100K sculpture to Remai Modern

A sculpture valued at more than $100,000 has been donated to Remai Modern by Saskatoon-based artist and educator Eli Bornstein, the art gallery announced Wednesday.

Major work by Eli Bornstein part of art gallery's inaugural exhibition

This 2017 Eli Bornstein piece was donated to the Remai Modern by the artist. (Remai Modern)

A sculpture valued at more than $100,000 has been donated to the Remai Modern art gallery by Saskatoon-based artist and educator Eli Bornstein.

Remai Modern had commissioned the new Structurist relief sculpture for its inaugural exhibition, Field Guide, which opened with the new museum on Oct. 21. The exhibition features 300 works by nearly 80 artists.

The Bornstein piece, which is 1.8 metres high, joins a number of Bornstein's smaller works that are already part of Remai Modern's permanent collection. That collection of about 8,000 works was mainly acquired through donation.

In the release, Bornstein said the sculpture is part of an ongoing series that was inspired by a trip to the Arctic, where the light is "overwhelming."

Bornstein, who was born in Wisconsin in 1922, is a well-known artist locally, nationally and internationally. He immigrated to Saskatoon in 1950 to become head of the University of Saskatchewan's department of fine arts and continued to teach there until his retirement in 1990.

"Bornstein has played a significant role in the art community in Saskatoon and the Prairies," said Sandra Guimarães, Remai Modern's director of programs and chief curator, in a news release.

"A pioneer in the area of abstract reliefs, he influenced generations of artists through his work in the art department at the University of Saskatchewan; he has also been a respected artist in North America and beyond for more than 65 years."

Field Guide will remain on display at Remai Modern until Feb. 25, 2018.