Ivan Eyre Obituary, Death – Canadian painter Ivan Kenneth Eyre, CM OM RCA LL.D., is well recognized for his compositionally abstract, figurative, and prairie landscape works. He was born on April 15th, 1935, and died on November 5th, 2022. From 1959 until his retirement in 1992, Eyre taught painting and drawing at the University of Manitoba for 33 years. There, he was a retired professor. He has been referred to as a “visual philosopher” and a “true outsider and visionary.” Ivan Eyre’s paintings and drawings have been displayed in numerous galleries around Canada and at international shows. His paintings are prominently displayed in Assiniboine Park and the McMichael sculpture garden in Kleinburg, Ontario.

Ivan Eyre was born in 1935 in Tullymet, Saskatchewan, to Thomas and Katie Eyre. Eyre started school when she was five years old. During this time, his family twice moved—first to Ituna in 1941 and then to Southey in 1940. Thomas Eyre, an Air Force electrician, left soon after for overseas deployment, and Katie and her three children moved to metropolitan Saskatoon. Eyre had an interest in the arts at a young age. At the age of 15, while still a high school student, he enrolled in after-school art lessons at the Saskatoon Technical Collegiate, where he studied under Ernest Lindner from 1950 to 1953. Eyre thought it comforting to know that there was someone who took art seriously and had given his life to it. The influence of [Lindner] was substantial in this regard.

Eli Bornstein was Eyre’s high school teacher during his senior year. He later attended the University of Saskatchewan for evening classes. Eyre moved to Winnipeg in 1953 and enrolled at the University of Manitoba School of Art. He graduated from this institution in 1957 with a BA in fine arts. In his memoirs, Eyre discusses the direction provided by his lectures and field trips to the Chicago Art Institute. Wynona Mulcaster and George Swinton, two artists, were his teachers. While still a student, Eyre put on a number of exhibitions at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, where he attracted Ferdinand Eckhardt’s backing and attention. Eyre was awarded a scholarship by the Winnipeg Art Gallery for his accomplishments in 1956. Around the time of his graduation, he got married to Brenda Yvonne Fenske, a fellow university student.

At the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, Eyre worked as a graduate assistant while pursuing a master’s degree in 1958–1959 there. One of the many sculptures he completed was his “first wooden skull,” which is now held in a private collection in Ottawa. Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Joan Miró, and Max Beckmann’s work started to have an impact on Eyre’s paintings when the American art movement was in full swing. The Assiniboine Park Pavilion museum in Winnipeg, Manitoba, honors and displays numerous Manitoban painters, including Ivan Eyre. Walter J. Phillips and Clarence Tillenius are two additional painters who are recognized and showcased at the pavilion.

After finishing renovations due to dampness and roof leaks, the WAG At The Park project was created in the fall of 2016. In the refurbished space, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Assiniboine Conservancy decided to organize free exhibitions that will only include works by Eyre, Phillips, and Tillenius. The Assiniboine Park Conservancy is home to the largest collection of Eyre’s artwork in Canada courtesy to Eyre’s donations of 200 paintings, 5000 drawings, and 16 sculptures. The current exhibit is called “Wasteland Dreamland: Early Works by Ivan Eyre, 1957-1969.”