Artist Biography

Bruno Bobak (1923- ) is a Canadian artist, born at Wawelowska, Poland. Bobak moved to Toronto with his family in 1925 and began taking Saturday morning art classes at the Art Gallery of Toronto. He continued his studies at Toronto’s Central Technical School. During World War II, Bobak enlisted with the Canadian Armed Forces and, in 1943, went to battle in England. During this time, he submitted a watercolour called Cross Country Convoy to an army exhibition and won first prize. By 1944, he was appointed Canada’s youngest official war artist. Bobak’s World War II art used an expressive-realist mode and focused on the aftermath of battle.

During his service, Bobak met and married Molly Lamb, a fellow war artist. After the war, they settled in Vancouver, where he developed a “surrealist” style in response to the mystical qualities of Western Canadian landscape. In 1960, following several visits to Europe, Bobak and his family moved to Fredericton, New Brunswick, where he became the Director of the Arts Centre at the University of New Brunswick, a post he held from 1962 to 1988.

Bruno Bobak’s favourite subjects have been the figure, landscape, and still life, although he never confined himself to one single subject, medium, or technique. He was equally skilled at drawing, watercolour, printmaking, oil painting, and sculpture. He often portrayed emotion through an expressionistic style, with simplified forms and bright, unblended colours applied with a palette knife.

Bobak’s work has been exhibited throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. In 1971, a major touring exhibition of his work entitled Humanism toured the Atlantic Provinces. In 1996, he received the Order of Canada. Bobak currently makes his home in Fredericton, New Brunswick.