Okay, not quite, but you wouldn’t know it if you visit any large department or grocery store these days. A huge waft of cinnamon hits me as soon as the doors slide open at my neighbourhood Superstore. It’s enough to knock me back on my heels. And just as we start planning for the holiday season and hope that people will remember our books in their gift-giving, the weather has other ideas. Ah, autumn in Ontario. Snow one week and balmy as summer the next. I’ll take some more of this weather, please, before we go back to the other.
Here’s a book you may want to consider for someone on your gift list. It is due mid-December. Order it now from your local bookstore.
Woldemar Neufeld’s Canada: A Mennonite Artist in the Canadian Landscape, 1925–1995
Woldemar Neufeld (1909–2002) emigrated with his Mennonite parents from Ukraine to Canada in 1924. By the late 1920s, he had begun his lifelong project as documentarist, responding especially to the built environment, whether close to his home in southern Ontario or farther afield: northern Ontario, the prairies and the west coast, the Maritimes and Quebec. His work passed through a number of styles, from the coolly abstract to the vividly “realistic.” Although he never abandoned oils, he produced a substantial body of watercolours and block prints—the latter influenced by German Expressionist and Japanese printmaking approaches.
Woldemar Neufeld’s Canada, a record of Neufeld’s Canadian paintings and block prints, explores influences that shaped Neufeld’s career as it developed in Canada during the 1920s and 1930s and came to fruition from 1940s to the 1990s.
Early on, Neufeld came into contact with leading Canadian artists, from Homer Watson to members of the Group of Seven. During the 1930s, he began to participate in group and solo exhibitions, including a one-man show at the Vancouver Art Gallery. After studies in Cleveland, he settled in New York City (1945) and New England (1949). Until the 1990s, however, he continued to work in Canada, returning especially to document, in various media, urban and rural landscapes in southern Ontario.