Saskatchewan Council for Archives and Archivists - AN EXHIBITION

Saskatchewan and the Visual Arts
Robert Newton Hurley

Studio photo of a young Robert Hurley, ca. 1949. [70]

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Hurley's pencil sketch for a painting that was later presented as a gift to British royalty. [71]
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"Blue Herons-Hurleynik." [72]

Born in London, England, on March 26th, 1894, Robert Hurley trained as an apprentice printer-compositor before serving in the Suffolk Regiment (1917-1920). In 1923, Hurley emigrated to Canada and moved to Saskatoon in 1930. Finding himself unemployed at the age of forty during the depression, Robert Hurley began to paint with berry juices and a toothbrush. Largely self-taught with only a few classes from Ernie Linder he quickly became well known in Saskatchewan and other parts of Canada for his treatment of the prairie landscape. His first showing was at a 1935 exhibition with the Manitoba Society of Artists in Winnipeg. He remained in Saskatchewan until retiring to Victoria, British Columbia, in 1963, where he remained until his death in 1980.

Hurley focused primarily on prairie landscapes, but also painted still lifes and portraits. Always experimenting, Hurley began to produce works that he called "Hurleyniks." Using everyday objects such as string, cardboard and lace that had been pressed into paint and transferred to paper, he created images of fish, birds and other objects. His work has been exhibited and collected across the country, appearing, for instance, in a 1971 National Gallery of Canada exhibition entitled "Watercolour Painters from Saskatchewan." In 197X, Hurley received a honourary degree from the University of Regina.


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