Lot # 206
Post-War & Contemporary Art Highlights Online auction

William Kurelek
ARCA OC OSA 1927 - 1977 Canadian

Untitled (from the Burning Barn Series)
oil on board
initialed and dated 1968 and on verso inscribed "# 37"
22 1/2 x 48 in  57.2 x 121.9cm

Art Gallery of Edmonton
Acquired from the above by a Private Collection, Quebec, circa 1969

Hart House Art Gallery, University of Toronto, The Burning Barn: 16 Paintings by William Kurelek, March 11 – 29, 1969

This dramatic work was previously known to researchers of William Kurelek’s work, but its location was unknown until now. It has been in the same collection since its acquisition from the Art Gallery of Edmonton in 1969. It is a painting full of meaning, and was part of the Burning Barn series. Kurelek was intensely religious, a product of his soulful self-searching – reflected in the title of a circa 1953 work – Where Am I? Who Am I? Why Am I? His beliefs formed the imagery in some of the most intense and significant works in his oeuvre. Kurelek was well aware of social issues in the 1960s. As Andrew Kear comments, “Kurelek was doing most of his work when globalization was just beginning. He was painting after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when people believed ‘The end is nigh!’ ” The Burning Barn series was based on Kurelek’s belief that humanity was as “a child playing in a burning barn, blind to its own mistakes and to the world’s suffering.” The artist’s careful attention to detail is seen everywhere in the work, as well as his focus on telling the story – Christ stands over the man, who crouches humbly before him, clearly repentant. Although he is a farmer, not a part of urbanity, he is a part of the world - with Kurelek’s admonition of what could happen without our intervention in the background. Kurelek’s social critique is still just as relevant today as it was over 50 years ago.

This work is in the original frame made by Kurelek.


$20,000 ~ $30,000 CAD

Final Bid: $45,000 CAD
Bidding History
Paddle # Date Amount $
9541 28/11/2019 10:04:15 AM $45,000 Autobid
1709 28/11/2019 10:03:42 AM $42,500 Autobid
9541 28/11/2019 10:03:41 AM $40,000
1709 28/11/2019 10:03:26 AM $37,500 Autobid
9541 28/11/2019 10:02:25 AM $35,000
1709 28/11/2019 10:01:16 AM $32,500
9541 28/11/2019 9:58:40 AM $30,000 Autobid
1709 28/11/2019 9:58:40 AM $27,500
9541 28/11/2019 9:58:15 AM $25,000 Autobid
1709 28/11/2019 9:58:15 AM $22,500
9541 26/11/2019 9:26:45 AM $20,000 Autobid

All prices are in Canadian Dollars.

Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information posted, errors and omissions may occur. All bids are subject to our Terms and Conditions of Business.