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Alex Colville | Magic Realist painter

David Alexander Colville, painter (born 24 Aug 1920 in Toronto, Ontario died 16 July 2013 in Wolfville, Nova Scotia). Alex Colville moved with his family to Amherst, NS, in 1929 and studied at Mount Allison (1938-42).
On graduating he joined the army and in 1944 was sent to Europe as a war artist. He returned to Canada late in 1945 and worked in Ottawa on paintings based on his European sketches and watercolours until his demobilization in 1946.

Colville taught at Mount Allison 1946-63, when he resigned to devote himself to painting. Between 1952 and 1955 the Hewitt Gallery in New York gave Colville his earliest commercial exhibitions. The most substantial Canadian support for his work at this time came from the National Gallery of Canada, which acquired seven of his paintings in the 1950s.
His subject matter is invariably chosen from his immediate environment: his family, the animals he keeps, the landscape near his home.
The representations, however, are never simply a recording of the everyday; they are highly representational reflections of a world which is at once filled with the joyful and the beautiful, the disturbing and the dangerous.
Alex Colville has changed his medium a number of times, from oil to tempera to oil and synthetic resin, and after 1963 to acrylic polymer emulsion.
He follows a long, careful process for each composition, taking precise measurements and proportioning these to an underlying geometric scheme. He works on only one composition at a time, and since the 1950s has produced only three or four paintings or serigraphs a year.

The first retrospective of his work was held at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1983 and subsequently travelled in Canada. In 1984 and 1985 the exhibition toured in Germany and the Far East, including Japan, the first time that an exhibition of the work of a living Canadian artist had been seen in that country.
A major exhibition of his work done since 1984 was held at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal in 1994 and in 2000 an exhibition was mounted at the National Gallery of Canada to mark his 80th birthday.
In 2003 the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia organized the touring exhibition Alex Colville: Return, Paintings Drawings and Prints 1994-2002.
In 1966 Alex Colville represented Canada at the Venice Biennale.
He was visiting professor at University of California at Santa Cruz in 1967 and in 1971 spent 6 months as a visiting artist in Berlin. He has served on numerous boards and commissions.
He designed the Centennial coins, minted in 1967, and the Governor General's Medal, in 1978.
In 1984 a film, Alex Colville - The Splendour of Order was produced by Minerva Films.
He lived in the small university town of Wolfville, NS, from 1973 until his death in 2013 and was chancellor of Acadia University for ten years.
In 1982 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 2003 he received the Governor General's Award* in Visual and Media Arts. | © The Canadian Encyclopedia

David Alexander "Alex" Colville (Toronto, 24 agosto 1920 - Wolfville, 16 luglio 2013) è stato un pittore Canadese.
Nato a Toronto (Ontario), si trasferisce da piccolo con la famiglia in Nuova Scozia. Frequenta la Mount Allison University dal 1938 al 1942.
Nel 1942 si è sposato con Rhoda Wright; per alcuni mesi parte all'estero come artista di guerra.
Tiene la prima mostra personale nel 1951 a New Brunswick Museum. Negli anni cinquanta tiene mostre a New York e Toronto.
Nel 1966 rappresenta il Canada alla Biennale di Venezia.
L'anno seguente viene nominato ufficiale dell'Ordine del Canada. Espone, negli anni settanta, frequentemente in Europa (Berlino, Londra, Düsseldorf, Arnhem) e negli anni ottanta anche in Asia (Tokyo, Hong Kong, Pechino).
Nel 1982 viene nominato compagno dell'Ordine del Canada. Diviene, nel 1990, membro del consiglio della National Gallery of Canada di Ottawa.
Nel 2003 viene nominato membro dell'Ordine della Nuova Scozia. È morto serenamente nel luglio 2013.
  • Onorificenze
Ufficiale dell'Ordine del Canada - «Per il suo contributo alle arti come artista, insegnante e designer.» - nominato il 6 luglio 1967, investito il 12 novembre 1968
Compagno dell'Ordine del Canada - «Un importante artista canadese che ora vive a Wolfville, Nuova Scozia. Come giovane artista di guerra nella seconda guerra mondiale ha cominciato a sviluppare il suo stile inconfondibile, che unisce il realismo preciso a composizioni efficaci con una sottile espressione del suo oggetto e per questo in termini universali è internazionalmente riconosciuto come uno dei pittori più importanti del suo tempo. Ha anche contribuito notevolmente alle arti in Canada per il suo insegnamento e il suo servizio in enti culturali nazionali», - nominato il 14 dicembre 1981, investito il 21 aprile 1982
Membro dell'Ordine della Nuova Scozia, 2003