William Kurelek, Canadian artist


kurelek at work in his studio

One of the things that has made Canada such a fascinating experience has been the diversity of both its peoples and its regions. This is an influencing factor in the Canadian art scene, and has always been so.

William Kurelek is one of the definitive painters of the Canadian scene, whether regional, urban, rural, northern, ethnic, religious or non-religious subject matter was being explored.

Kurelek was born northeast of Edmonton on March 3, 1927 the first child of Ukrainian immigrants who farmed and raised a large family in Alberta, and after losing their wheat farm there to the depression, moved to a dairy farm near Stonewall, Manitoba.


Kurelek’s parents did not support his pre-occupation with art, but  he obtained a BA degree in Manitoba and headed east to receive training at Ontario College of Art. He was forced to drop out due to emotional issues after a short period and worked at lumbering during the winter season and attended an art centre in Mexico. Going to Europe, he was treated for schizophrenia in England and then in the Netherlands before returning to Canada, following  marked improvement.


About that time, he had converted to Roman Catholicism from his Ukranian Orthodox tradition, and his newly restored faith helped him to achieve stability. He was able to establish himself as an artist based in Toronto and in the Polish settlement of Wilno in the Ottawa Valley, and began to meet with success and indeed, acclaim, in the Canadian art community.

His work shows a wide variety of styles and influences and a deft skill in using form and colour effectively.


He published many books using brief written texts to enhance his art and wrote several books for children and youth. He is known for his large body of work dealing with the passion of Christ and this work plus his collected papers is held at the Art Gallery in Niagara Falls founded for that purpose.


Read more about Kurelek and view some of his art by clicking any of the links in this post.


Kurelek died of cancer on November 3, 1977 at the age of only 50. His premature death was a huge  loss to the Canadian art world.

Below is an interesting lithograph on paper, image size is 18×24, dated signed and numbered #64/100 in pencil, this print was one of a portfolio  called “Toronto 20” published by Jerrold Morris Gallery of Toronto. This print is framed using archival quality materials, conservation quality glass and a black frame.

This impressive print will enhance any collection and the pricing is proof that good art can be affordable. It will make a fine bold statement in any home or office and reflect well on your taste. Perhaps it could form the nucleus of a future collection…..

Contact me mailto:mich@redkettle.com to discuss purchase.


                Above: Hound of Heaven by Williamk Kurelek


5 responses to “William Kurelek, Canadian artist

  1. Hi:
    I just came upon your blog, and was wondering if you could help me . I have 5 Kurelek Ltd ED prints, still in original plastic envelopes which I am interested in selling. I have no idea of the market values or demand now. I would appreciate any guidance. THANKS, Glen

  2. I am looking for a print of a Kurelek’ painting which is titled “Quebec Farm Children in Nature Ecstasy”. Can you help me?

  3. I have a piece of work by Kurelek called Quebec Children ??

  4. I am also searching for a print of ‘Quebec farm children in nature ecstasy’ to replace a poster from an exhibition my wife had that was destroyed by a child. Any help with this would be incredibly kind.

  5. Pingback: Featuring Two Classic Canadian Artists | Redkettle's Blog

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