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Molly Lamb Bobak

View Molly Lamb Bobak's Gallery


b. 1922
Born in Vancouver, B.C., daughter of Harold Mortimer Lamb and Alice Mary Price.

While receiving elementary education she attended Saturday Morning Classes at the Vancouver School of Art. Following secondary school she entered the Vancouver School of Art where she studied four years under Jack Shadbolt and Charles H. Scott and one year post graduate study (1938-42).

In the third year of World War II, she enlisted in the CWAC (Nov. 1942) and served in various stations in Canada in a variety of positions that included designing costumes and scenery for the Canadian Army Show. In May of 1945 she was appointed Official War Artist with the rank of lieutenant. She painted CWAC activities in England and with Line of Communications units in NorthWest Europe following VE Day. She deposited over 400 paintings and drawings in The War Collections.

In 1945 she met war artist Bruno Bobak and following their return to Vancouver they married and settled in Vancouver. She instructed painting classes at the Vancouver School of Art (1947-50). She received a French Govt. scholarship for study in France (1950-51). She was art teacher for the Women's Auxiliary at the VAG (1954-58). By then she was the mother of two children, Alexander (b. 1946) and Anny (b. 1957). She participated in a CBC TV series on teaching drawing and art appreciation (1956); was instructor for UBC Extension Summer School (1958-59).

In 1960 the Bobaks moved to New Brunswick where Bruno became resident artist at UNB. They settled in Fredericton. This same year the Bobaks both received a Canada Council fellowship for study in Europe (1960-61). On her return she became instructor at the UNB Art Centre (1960-61) (1962-67), and gave an art course for CHSJ TV in Saint John (1964-65). During her free time she continued to pursue her own art.

Noting her work in 1963, Joan Lowndes wrote in Canadian Art, "One notes in the oils fewer flower pieces, more bustling cityscapes, more skaters whizzing around outdoor ranks, more pubs. Indeed in her depiction of animated crowd scenes, Molly Bobak seems the inheritor of Pegi Nicol Macleod. Her pub pictures are remarkable. She has treated this subject before, but more literally. Only the figures in the foreground are silhouetted, in a heavier, more emphatic line and in new, high-keyed red and orange. They recede into mere ovals, then into a haze of off-white and pink, which we readily translate into cigarette smoke, chatter, joviality. Thus, through a combination of expressionistic and impressionistic elements Molly Bobak powerfully projects an atmosphere.... Paradoxically the best picture in the show is emptied of people. In London Pub the lone barmaid is really a still life, and it is the glasses, the beer mug, the flowers on the frosted windows that dance a pattern of arabesques to the artist's old, spirited brush-work....The lithographs, for which she learned the technique in London, have the same probity as her drawings and her water colours, realize all the tenderness of which the medium is capable."

Her colourful street scene of Fredericton (1965) with its reds, oranges, browns, greens and yellows was chosen by Elizabeth Kilbourn for inclusion in "The Cities" section of Great Canadian Painting (1966) with a high quality reproduction. She continues to paint crowd scenes - from Christmas parades to beach scenes, and to paint floral studies, not stately flowers like zinnias, but wild flowers, she once explained to Pat Fleisher (artmagazine) "...that can blow away".

She continued to teach summers at the Banff School of Fine Arts (1971) (1972); Alberta College of Art; Sunbury Shores Art and Nature Centre, N.B.

Exhibitions and Shows:

Her solo shows include:
VAG, Van. (1940) (1952) (1953) (1960)
New Design Gal. Van.
Waddington Gal., Mtl.
Wells Gallery, Ott. (1965)
NGC Travl. Show (1965)
Dalhousie U. (1966)
Douglas Gal., Van. (1967)
Roberts Gal. (1962) (1964) (1967) (1971)
Walter Klinkhoff Gal., Mtl. (1968) (1975) (1989)
Beaverbrook Gal. (1970)
SGWU, Mtl. (1972) (1978-79)
NB Mus., Saint John (1977)
Downstairs Gal., Edm. (1979) and others.

Awards and Accomplishments

She received Honorary D. Litt., UNB (1983); D.F.A., Mt. Allison U. (1983).

She is represented in the following collections:
NGC, Ott.; Can. War Mus., Ott.; AGGV, Vic.; New Design Gal., Van.; U. of V., Vic.; UBC, Van.; VAG, Van.; New Design Gal., Van.; AGO, Tor.; MMFA, Mtl.; UNB, Fred.; Owens Mus., Mt. Allison U., Fred.; Confed. AG, Charlott., PEI; Art Mus., Jerusalem, Israel, and elsewhere.

CSPW (1946); Assoc. BSCA (1950) Mbr. (1951-63); CPE (1959-63); CSGA (1952); CGP (1957); ARCA (1957) RCA (1973).
Recipient of the Order of Canada.

-Colin S. Macdonald, Dictionary of Canadian Artists

Other Information

Category: Watercolors


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