Deep Lilac Painting #1, 1977
Oil on Canvas
42 x 38 in.
Gershon Iskowitz (1921-1988)
Please contact gallery for details on Iskowitz artwork.
Gershon Iskowitz was born in 1921 in Kielce, Poland where he spent his childhood. After surviving internment during the Second World War, Iskowitz was sent to recover in Germany where in 1947 he privately studied with Oskar Kokoschka at the Munich Academy. In 1949 he immigrated to Canada where he lived and worked in Toronto.Gershon was known to spend his days in bars and cafés along Spadina Avenue mentoring artists and in the evenings he retreated to his studio where through the night he painted his intensely personal visions – keeping painting alive at a time when the art establishment proclaimed painting was dead.
Initially Iskowitz’s work documented painful wartime imagery and memories. Gradually his paintings and drawings transformed to loose impressions of the countryside and by the sixties became expressive abstractions of light and colour. A major shift in Iskowitz's signature style occurred when in 1967, Iskowitz took his first helicopter ride around the vicinity of Churchill, Manitoba. Looking down through patches of clouds, his helicopter trips transformed his views of the landscape - “my paintings are not abstract, they are real, they are very very much real, I see those things…I paint what I see.”
Early in Gershon Iskowitz’s career he exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada and in 1972 he was one of two artists representing Canada at the XXXVI Venice Biennial in Venice, Italy.
In 1985 the Gershon Iskowitz Foundation and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize were established with the assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts. Each year the Foundation awards the Gershon Iskowitz Prize – a 25,000 dollar award – one of the most prestigious visual arts awards in our country, however, Iskowitz’s greatest contribution was providing the inspiration for others as he devoted his life to art.