Canada’s first woman war artist, Molly Lamb Bobak fought gender bias in the early twentieth century to become one of the country’s most important artists. Today she is revered for her groundbreaking paintings of military life as well as depictions of urban activity and crowd scenes that capture daily life in Canada.
The daughter of celebrated photographer Harold Mortimer-Lamb, Vancouver-born artist Molly Lamb Bobak (1920–2014) joined the Canadian Women’s Army Corps in 1942 and was sent overseas to London, becoming the first Canadian woman war artist. She brashly captured women’s military life and roles during the Second World War in her paintings, illustrated diaries, and drawings, depicting female military training as well as dynamic scenes of marches and parades.
Upon her return to Canada, Bobak married fellow war artist Bruno Bobak, and the couple settled in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where they lived and worked for over half a century. One of the first Canadian female painters to earn her living as an artist, Bobak was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1973 and presented with the Order of Canada in 1995.
Molly Lamb Bobak: Life & Work traces the career of this pioneering Canadian painter and the diverse range of her artistic output, from her still lifes and interiors to her crowd scenes and self-portraits. It explores Bobak’s legacy as a painter and educator and what it meant to be a female artist in mid-twentieth-century Canada.
Michelle Gewurtz is the curator at the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG). She holds a PhD in the history of art from the University of Leeds with a specialization in feminism and the visual arts. Her curatorial work explores gender politics and creative identity, and her research covers both historical and contemporary art.
Key Selling Points
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- Publication coincides with a major travelling retrospective of Bobak’s art, opening at the Ottawa Art Gallery in fall 2019.
- Canada’s first official woman war artist, Molly Lamb Bobak is a Canadian icon.
- Creator of one of Canada’s most iconic paintings: Private Roy, Canadian Women’s Army Corps, 1946.
- 80 full-colour illustrations, many of works that have never before been reproduced.
- Bobak’s paintings can be found in art institutions across Canada, with a particularly strong concentration of them in New Brunswick and British Columbia.
- Of particular appeal to the Canadian Armed Forces, a national organization with almost 70,000 members.
- Includes a “Where to See” section that directs readers to the public institutions that hold the artworks illustrated in the book. It also provides the location and contact information for each.
- Includes a glossary of important artistic terms that occur throughout the book, including people, artistic techniques, materials, and institutions.
- Part of the Canadian Art Library Series, the only fully illustrated series on Canadian artists.
- The Canadian Art Library Series makes Canadian art history a contemporary conversation with its accessible, beautiful, and informative books on individual artists. The series highlights the diversity of artists, techniques, and styles in Canadian art and aims to make lesser-known artists household names.
- The website of the Art Canada Institute is visited by just under a million readers each year. The ACI site engages academics and art lovers alike. It is the go-to resource on Canadian art history.