Artwork by Aba Bayefsky,  Figural Works

Aba Bayefsky
Figural Works

four graphite drawings and book
“Fruit Vendor” (signed and dated 1990 lower right, 5.75 ins x 8 ins)“Shopkeeper” (signed lower right, 7.75 ins x 5.25 ins);
“Woman with Fruit Baskets” (signed and dated 1990 lower left adhered to reverse of matting, 8 ins x 5.75 ins);
“Profile of a Man” (signed and dated 1976 lower right, 8 ins x 5.25 ins);
each unframed (laid down and matted);
sold with a copy of “Aba Bayefsky in Kensington Market” (Paul Duval [introduction] and Ben Lappin (A Memoir),Mosaic Press, Oakville, 1991, signed and dated by the artist on the titlepage)
8 x 5.75 ins ( 20.3 x 14.6 cms ) ( largest sheet )

Auction Estimate: $200.00$150.00 - $200.00

Price Realized $236.00
Sale date: January 28th 2020

Collection of Paul Duval, Toronto
Paul Duval (intro.) and Ben Lappin (A Memoir), “Aba Bayefsky in Kensington Market” Mosaic Press, Oakville, 1991, “Fruit Vendor” reproduced page 54, “Shopkeeper” reproduced page 29 and “Woman with Fruit Baskets” reproduced page 111
“Aba Bayefsky’s life-long affection for Kensington Market has emerged in three distinct creative periods - the 1940’s, when he painted his dramatic and forceful watercolours of a Jewish merchant community that then dominated the area; the late 1970s when he drew his first pencil impressions of a gradually changing ethnic scene; and the latest group of drawings created between the early spring of 1990 and the summer of 1991.

These drawings represent both a celebration and a requiem. Kensingon, as Bayefsky has known it, is inexorably changing, even disappearing. Together, his market drawings compose both a vivid portrait of a vanishing place and a memorable creative statement.”

- Paul Duval

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Aba Bayefsky
(1923 - 2001) CGP, CSPWC, Order of Canada

Aba Bayefsky was born in Toronto in 1923. As a child, the artist enrolled in children's art classes at the Art Gallery of Toronto (later the Art Gallery of Ontario), a program under the directorship of Arthur Lismer of the Group of Seven. At the age of 15 Bayefsky transferred to Central Technical School, where he began to study art full-time. Bayefsky’s teachers at Central Tech included the Canadian artists Carl Schaefer, Peter Haworth and Charles Goldhamer.

Upon graduation from high school in 1942, Bayefsky enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Appointed an official war artist in December of 1944, he completed assignments in the United Kingdom, before his arrival in Lüneberg, Germany, in August 1945. It was during this period that he depicted the war-damaged cities of Hamburg, Niemunster, and Hanover, and visited Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Bayefsky had just turned 22 when he arrived at the camp for the first time on May 10, 1945. For the young Jewish man the experience would forever alter his approach to art and life. Bayefsky completed 45 works during his tenure as an Official War Artist. His renderings of the Belsen pit and malnutrition wards remain among the most personal and emotionally charged of Canada's war paintings.

After the war while in Europe he studied at the Académie Julian, Paris, 1947-8 on a French Government Scholarship, and completed a series of paintings of displaced persons camps he visited in Germany which were shown at Hart House, University of Toronto in 1948. Bayefsky returned to Canada after the war to begin a decades-long career teaching art at Hart House, University of Toronto and at the Ontario College of Art, now Ontario College of Art & Design University. Beginning in 1949, his paintings, drawings, and illustrations were featured in 45 solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and India. Subsequently he did a series of drawings based on the legends of Paul Bunyan; genre paintings at the St. Lawrence and Kensington markets, in Toronto, using oils, pastels and coloured ink later exhibited at the Toronto Central Library in 1957.

Bayefsky was a member of the Canadian Group of Painters, the Canadian Society of Painters in Water Colour and was awarded the Order of Canada for his life’s work in the arts in 1979.

Source: "A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, Volume I: A-F", compiled by Colin S. MacDonald, Canadian Paperbacks Publishing Ltd, Ottawa, 1977