October 11, 2019

Discovering Oscar Cahén (1916-1956)

Oscar Cahén was a professional shaper of popular culture.
He was a man of his time, ready for the future.

TrépanierBaer Gallery is delighted and honoured to present Discovering Oscar Cahén an exhibition featuring a selection of rarely seen, singularly outstanding works by the esteemed multidisciplinary artist and founding member of Painters Eleven. Discovering Oscar Cahén is the first comprehensive exhibition in Western Canada, and the first exhibition of the artist’s work in a private gallery in 25 years.

Discovering Oscar Cahén features a selection of twenty-six works spanning a period of 9 years: from 1948 to 1956. The paintings and drawings on view are lush in colour and rich in compositional detail. Cahén was said to use colour as a “battering ram,” often within the context of daring compositions. In 1968 the Ringling Museum in Sarasota, Florida mounted a major exhibition of Cahén’s oeuvre and an American critic described the show in terms of the works’ visual effect: A visual bash, an orgy of sensual satisfaction. Tom Hodgson (1924-2006), a fellow member of Painters Eleven said: “I can’t think of anyone in any place, in any country, any time, who was a better colourist: I thought Cahén was the best colourist anywhere.”

Oscar Cahén arrived in Québec from Europe in 1940 as an unwilling refugee. Yet in a few short years, the vibrant and emotionally complex artist would broaden the scope of illustration and painting in Canada. Cahén died suddenly in 1956, but not before rising as one of the nation’s most celebrated illustrators, as well a major influence on fellow abstract painters, with whom he formed the renowned artist collective Painters Eleven. For more information on Oscar Cahén click here.

Please join TrépanierBaer, and Michael Cahén of The Cahén Archives and son of Oscar Cahén for the opening reception:

Saturday, October 19, 2019
1:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Opening remarks at 2:00 p.m.

Refreshments served.

Image Credit:
Semaphor(e), FAMM 650, 1951
Pastel, ink, gouache on paper
23.5″ x 19″