Artwork by Aba Bayefsky,  Spirit as Frog

Aba Bayefsky
Spirit as Frog

colour woodblock
signed, dated 1968 and numbered 101/150 in the lower margin
14.5 x 11.5 ins ( 36.8 x 29.2 cms ) ( sight )

Auction Estimate: $250.00$150.00 - $250.00

Price Realized $258.00
Sale date: July 20th 2021

Private Collection, Ontario
This single print is from the artist portfolio “Legends” which included twelve original colour woodblock prints by the artist, with a foreword by Humphrey Milnes.

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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