Maxwell Bates (1906 - 1980)
Maxwell Bates was one of Canada’s early modernists. He is credited with bringing European modernism to western Canada. A student of Max Beckman, Bates used shifting perspectives, unique plays of colour, broken up forms and planes to accentu¬ate the features of his painted subjects: scenes of Prairie people and landscapes, people engaging in everyday activities and still lifes. In his own words, Bates was “a product of the period of Art Nouveau, pared down by the prairie wind.”
Bates was a member of the Twenties Group in pre-war London, England, and later he joined the Calgary Group of artists with Jock Macdonald. He was an early adopter of lithography with his friend, fellow Calgary artist John Snow. The two are credited with bringing the first art press to Alberta.
Maxwell Bates was awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal in 1967 and made a Member of the Order of Canada in 1980. His work is represented in numerous public collections in Canada and abroad, including the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. As an architect, Bates’ most notable work was St. Mary’s Cathedral, a unique prairie monument co-designed with A.W. Hodges in 1957.