Anything but a Still Life

By Nathan Greenfield

Anything but a Still Life
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Molly Lamb and Bruno Bobak shot to prominence as war artists during the Second World War. Marrying shortly after the end of the war, they moved first to Vancouver and then, in 1960, to Fredericton, where they settled permanently. Molly’s paintings were vibrant and colourful, ... Read more


Overview

Molly Lamb and Bruno Bobak shot to prominence as war artists during the Second World War. Marrying shortly after the end of the war, they moved first to Vancouver and then, in 1960, to Fredericton, where they settled permanently. Molly’s paintings were vibrant and colourful, featuring dynamic crowd scenes and wildflowers that seem to wave on the page. In contrast, Bruno painted near-abstract cityscapes, stunning landscapes, and distorted bodies wracked with inner torment, work that is unique in Canadian art.

In this book, acclaimed author Nathan M. Greenfield brings to light the private and public lives of two of the most important figures in 20th century Canadian art. Combining archival research with Molly’s diaries and letters, interviews with friends and contemporaries, and an analysis of paintings by both artists, he develops an intimate portrait of their life and art: their critical acclaim, commercial success, and a turbulent marriage that lasted over fifty years.

Nathan Greenfield

Nathan M. Greenfield is the author of eight books, including The Damned: The Canadians at the Battle of Hong Kong and the POW Experience, 1941-45, shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction. A regular contributor to the Times Literary Supplement, Greenfield’s articles have also appeared in the Walrus, Canada’s History, the Globe and Mail, and Maclean’s.

Reviews

"This engaging biography illuminates the lives of Molly and Bruno Bobak, two of Canada’s most important artists, balancing their personal stories with their visual record. Greenfield’s account of the Bobaks’ lives — charting their artistic development as the hold of the Group of Seven slowly waned and abstraction came to dominate the art world — focuses extensively on their art, offering incredibly close readings of the Bobaks’ remarkable artistic contributions to Canadian art history. "

Devon Smither

"Greenfield’s book rises far above conventional biography. With his depth of cultural knowledge, Greenfield explores the artistic careers of Molly Lamb Bobak and Bruno Bobak, while unlocking the secrets to appreciating a wide range of visual arts. "

Carol Bishop-Gwyn

"Greenfield offers new insight into Bruno and Molly Lamb Bobak’s complex relationship. They met and married in the aftermath of the Second World War, having served as official war artists, and continued to paint for decades. Based on new evidence, this book captures the Bobaks’ intertwined lives, their clashing relationship, and the enduring value of their art. "

Tim Cook

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