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Oscar Cahén: Canada's Groundbreaking Illustrator Exhibition

April 6 - June 2, 2013

Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies

Main Gallery

Opening Reception Saturday, April 6, 7PM

October 4-December 1, 2012

Museum of Contemporary Art, Calgary

October 1-30, 2011

Illustration House, New York

Curated by Roger Reed (Illustration House) and Jaleen Grove (illustration historian), this exhibition surveys Cahén's work from his beginning to his untimely death in 1956 at age 40. Coming from Europe as a prisoner of war, Cahén began freelancing while still interned as an enemy alien. His talent led to his release, and he went on to influence many younger illustrators and to modernize Canadian illustration with his extreme versatility and experimental approaches. Cahén was recognzed in 1951 by the Art Directors Club of New York, and he dominated at the Toronto Art Directors Club awards throughout the early 1950s. He also appeared in design periodicals Graphis Annual and Publimondial.

Cahén is remembered today for his major contribution in the mid-1950's to abstract painting in Toronto as a member of the famed collective Painters 11. This exhibition, which includes a full colour catalogue, brings attention to how his prior and concurrent illustration practice informed his exploration of painting.

On view will be approximately 35 original illustrations not seen since the artist's lifetime, borrowed from private and family collections, made for periodicals such as MacLean's, Canadian Home Journal, New Liberty, Weekend Picture Magazine, and the Montreal Standard.


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