Artwork by Molly Lamb Bobak,  The Bike Race
Thumbnail of Artwork by Molly Lamb Bobak,  The Bike Race Thumbnail of Artwork by Molly Lamb Bobak,  The Bike Race Thumbnail of Artwork by Molly Lamb Bobak,  The Bike Race

Preview this item at:

Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Lot #2

Molly Bobak
The Bike Race

oil on canvas
signed lower left
5 x 7 ins ( 12.7 x 17.8 cms )

Estimated: $7,000.00$5,000.00 - $7,000.00

Private Collection, Montreal
Laura Brandon quoted in Allison Lawler, “Molly Lamb Bobak was first Canadian Woman Sent Overseas as War Artist,” The Globe and Mail, March 14, 2014 [online]
Michelle Gewurtz, Molly Lamb Bobak: Life & Work [online publication], Art Canada Institute, Toronto, 2018, pages 63-65
A trailblazer for women in the arts in Canada, Molly Lamb Bobak was an official war artist, stationed in England during the Second World War. Bobak often gravitated towards depictions of crowd scenes, as she was inspired by the celebratory victory parades of the Allied Forces at the end of the war. The communal gathering and subsequent energy created in a crowd fascinated the artist and this interest was further explored when Bobak returned to Canada to begin teaching at the University of New Brunswick.

Frequenting pubs, sporting events, parades and student rallies, the campus environment offered Bobak ample inspiration and the opportunity to capture the essence of the crowd scene unfolding. Laura Brandon, the authority on the Canadian War Art Program and its artists, explains that Bobak’s work “was very personal. It’s an art about shared experiences and sharing those experiences. It is almost like conversational art.” Bobak reflects on her natural gravitation towards crowds as subject matter, stating, “I think that it is an interest I have had ever since I was a kid...I simply love gatherings, mingling... It’s like little ants crawling, the sort of insignificance and yet the beauty of people all getting together.” “The Bike Race” is a charming work; the canvas captures the movement and frenzy of a bike race, as cyclists round a corner with exaggerated leaning bodies and dots of bright colour stipple the landscape.
Sale Date: September 24th 2020

Register to Bid

To participate in our auction in person, by phone or to leave an absentee bid, please register below.

Register to Bid Telephone Bid Absentee Bid

Download our bidding form

Already have an account? Sign-In

Get updates or additional information on this item
Watch This Item Ask a Question Request Condition Report

Preview this item at:

Cowley Abbott
326 Dundas St West
Toronto ON M5T 1G5
Ph. 1(416)479-9703

Share this item with your friends

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