Canadian Artist, William Kurelek

I was captivated when I saw the cover of the Special Holiday Section of The Globe and Mail over the Christmas weekend. I'm slightly embarrassed that even with all my Art History background his name, William Kurelek, didn't seem familiar as he's quite the accomplished Canadian Artist. As I've done in the past, I like to showcase artists I love, especially Canadian Artists. So it is fitting that I introduce his work.


After some digging I found the following two paintings that I also fell in love with. When I read the titles I was surprised when I saw the street name Balsam Avenue.  Balsam Avenue is right down the street from us.
(LEFT) WILLIAM KURELEK, CHILDREN PLAYING IN A SNOWBANK BALSAM AVENUE AFTER HEAVY Found here
(RIGHT) William Kurelek Balsam Avenue After Heavy Snowfall 1972 Courtesy of Joyner Waddington’s Canadian Fine Art found here


I Googled some more and found some references. Turns out Kurelek lived on Balsam Avenue with his family, and the painting on the right depicts Kurelek and his Family on their street after a heavy snowfall. Toronto Star, November 26, 2008 and Joyner Canadian Fine Art

For those of you not familiar with the Toronto Beach area, we have steep streets going towards the water. From Kingston Road to Queen Street,  the streets are so steep, I wouldn't even attempt to walk it in the winter. Kurelek captured this in his painting - see the three men helping the car up the road?  

And so I started to try to actually locate where he may have stood for his starting point of the painting. Two factors lead me to believe I could figure it out - The Bend in the street, and the red building that looks like a school. But the red building in the background, I can't locate anywhere on Balsam Avenue.  On Beech Avenue (2 streets over) this is the only thing I can come up with. 

I wonder if he used some creative freedom with the placement of the buildings in his painting? The hunt continues on to see if I can figure out where his vantage point was. At any rate, I hope you enjoyed this introduction to William Kurelek!