Maxwell Bates before Kindergarten

Maxwell Bates with painting Kindergarten

Born in Calgary, Alberta, Maxwell Bates studied under Lars Haukaness at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary, from 1926 to 1927.  W. L. Stevenson paired up to study impressionist and post-impressionist painting during that time and by 1928, Bates’ abstracts first appeared. That same year they both were banned from exhibiting with the Calgary Art Club because their works were deemed too modern.

In 1931, Bates went to England to study painting and architecture and for the next seven years was a member of London’s “Twenties Group”. When World War II broke out, he enlisted with the British Army.  He was captured by the Germans and spent five years in a prison camp.  He later wrote about this experience in his 1978 book A Wilderness of Days.  After the War ended, he returned to Calgary for a short time to work as an architect and then moved to Victoria in 1961.  By that time he was exhibiting internationally as well as in every major Canadian city.  He was the Limner’s founding president, a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary.

Source: Excerpts from Skelton, Robin.  The Limners,  Victoria: Pharos Press, 1981, published with permission.