Artwork by Molly Lamb Bobak,  Skaters

Molly Bobak

signed lower right; unframed
15 x 21.75 ins ( 38.1 x 55.2 cms ) ( sheet )

Sold for $4,130.00
Sale date: February 18th 2020

The Fine Art Gallery, St. John’s, N.L.
Private Collection, Ontario

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Molly Lamb Bobak
(1922 - 2014) RCA

Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Molly Lamb Bobak was encouraged by her immediate and extended family to study art. Attending the Vancouver School of Art, she studied with fellow Canadian artists Jack Shadbolt and Charles Hepburn Scott.

The artist is well recognized for her work as an official War Artist—the first female artist to be appointed to the Canadian War Records art program during the Second World War. In 1942, Bobak enlisted as a draftswoman in the Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC), sketching and documenting the day to day activities of her fellow corps members. Having exhibited at the Canadian Army Art exhibition in 1944, she was awarded a prize for her work which lead to her appointment as a war artist between 1945 and 1946. First working in Canada, Bobak was sent overseas to England where she captured the crowded scenes and celebratory parades of Allied countries at the end of the war.

Returning from Europe, Molly Lamb taught at the Vancouver School of Art (1947-1950), the Vancouver Art Gallery (1954-1958), and the University of British Columbia (1958-1960). She married fellow war artist Bruno Bobak and moved to New Brunswick in 1960. The artist taught at the University of New Brunswick between 1960 and 1977, frequenting pubs, sporting events, parades, and public gatherings where she could continue to work and engage with the crowds.

In 1961, issue 71 of Canadian Art, a survey of 24 Canadian artists appeared, which included her photo, works, and comments written by Robert Fulford. Joan Lowndes in 1963 noted fewer flower pieces and more bustling cityscapes, outdoor activities and scenes with crowds of people in her work and linked her in this way to Pegi Nicol MacLeod. Making particular reference to her paintings of pubs she described this work in the following words “Only the figures in the foreground are silhouetted, in a heavier, more emphatic line and in new, high-keyed red orange. They recede into mere ovals, then into a haze of off-white and pink, which we readily translate into cigarette smoke, chatter, joviality . . . Molly Bobak powerfully projects an atmosphere”. This is perhaps the most essential quality of her work.

In 1973, Molly Lamb Bobak became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and, in 1993, the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina, Saskatchewan held a touring retrospective exhibition of her work.

Though she favoured watercolours, Bobak also worked in oils, conte and charcoal, working in an impressionistic style more concerned with capturing the essence of the scene rather than the details of her subject matter. Molly Lamb Bobak stopped painting at the age of 84 when her eyesight began to deteriorate and she passed away in 2014. Bobak's work can be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian War Museum, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the Glenbow Museum, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, the Military Museums of Alberta, and the Art Gallery of Alberta.

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