Willis Magee Art Retrospective Show & Sale
Willis Magee was a long-time resident of Turner Valley and an accomplished artist, illustrator and caricaturist. He studied at the Ontario College of Art, moving to Calgary in the mid-50’s then Turner Valley in 1993. His depictions of rural Alberta, both its people and landscape, inspired by the Turner Valley, Okotoks and Longview area are of a distinctive style never to be seen again. Most of this collection has never before been seen by the general public. Those interested in collecting a piece of real Alberta heritage will not want to miss this!
Where: Iron Crow Antiques and objects of intrigue
4305 9th Street SE, Calgary AB
When: Saturday April 27th, 2013 9:30AM – 11PM
Viewing and pre-sales 9:30AM – 7PM
Music Featuring Calgary band “Doctor Zeuss and the Blue Whos”, 7pm-11pm
For more information please contact Russ Magee at (403)536-7681.
Willis (‘Will’) was born and raised on a farm in Desboro, Ontario in 1928. As a kid he loved to draw, but unlike most other kids, he never grew out of it, especially drawing cowboys and indians. As early as age fourteen, he honed his skills working in a sign shop in Owen Sound on the summer holidays, painting signs for truck doors and highway billboards. At twenty-one he gained entry to the Ontario College of Art in Toronto where he studied under Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael (ca. 1945) in the graphic arts program.
In 1953 Willis rode one of the last CPR steam trains out to Calgary, to see the Calgary Stampede. Arriving broke, he decided to find a job there, finding employment with a local print shop. He went on to an illustrious career in commercial art, eventually landing at Gulf Oil where his Stampede chuckwagon and cowboy art became a standby in the eighties.
An accomplished figure artist, Willis also loved caricature and did many commissions for patrons far and wide. A real-life caricature himself, he became a fixture of the Turner Valley area after retiring there in 1993 — a regular at the Turner Inn and renowned for his humour, wit and gruff (but always well-meaning) disposition.
His body of work, which has never before been seen in its entirety, spans nearly 60 years: from his early ‘blue’ period oilscapes influenced by the Group of Seven, through pastel, pencil and charcoal sketches to his later Alberta autumn oil paintings and colourful, whimsical depictions of prairie life and Alberta personalities. Prominent works are featured inside Turner Valley’s Chuckwagon restaurant and on the walls of Maggie’s Diner in High River, as part of the set of the TV series “Heartland”.
Will passed away in May of 2011 and it was one of his stated wishes that his work be shown and enjoyed by the world at large; he did not have a desire to show in galleries while alive but knew his paintings comprised an important legacy, a record of a vanishing prairie lifestyle and way of life in Alberta. This 2013 Retrospective Art Show and Sale will be the first, and possibly only, time his entire works have been gathered together for public viewing and sale. The Magee family sincerely hopes people will come to experience the unique collection of pieces by this master artist who led such a unique life in the province he loved.