Captain Bruno Joseph Bobak, CM (Ret’d)

    • Captain Bruno Joseph Bobak, CM (Ret’d)
    • RCE Badge circa 1937-52
    • Bruno Bobak, War Artist, Ex-Sapper

    We regret to advise of the death of Captain Bruno Joseph Bobak, CM (Ret’d) on 24 September 2012 at the Saint John, NB Regional Hospital at the age of 88.  He was one of Canada’s premier War Artists in the Second World War.

    Bruno was born in Wawelowska, Poland and immigrated to Canada in 1927.  At the age of thirteen, he began Saturday morning art classes in Toronto, ON under Group of Seven painter, Arthur Lismer and, later, at the Toronto Central Technical School.  In 1943, at age 19, he joined the Royal Canadian Engineers as a Sapper and was posted to Camp Petawawa, ON for training. He arrived in England in late 1943 where he was involved in the preparations for the invasion of the continent.  As an amateur artist, he sketched his bunkmates for extra money and came to the attention of the Historical Section at Canadian Military Headquarters in London. He was taken on strength as a Service Artist and, after completing officer training in the summer of 1944 he became an official War Artist. He served with 4th Canadian Armoured Division from December 1944 to July 1945.  Bruno remarked in a 1998 interview that the occupational change “saved my life for most of the platoon I was in died on D-Day.”

    After the war, he married Second Lieutenant Molly Lamb, who was Canada’s first female war artist.  They settled briefly in Ottawa working as artists. In 1947, they moved to Vancouver where he taught at the Vancouver School of Art.  After a decade of work as an artist and instructor of art on the West Coast, where he won much critical acclaim, he moved to Fredericton, NB in 1960 to serve as Artist in Residence at the University of New Brunswick. In 1962 he took on the role of Director of the University of New Brunswick Art Centre.  Bruno retired in 1986.

    Bruno was an eminent member of multiple societies: the Canada Group of Painters; the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers; the Canadian Society of Graphic Art; the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour; the British Columbia Society of Artists; and the Royal Canadian Academy.

    Among a lifetime of awards and achievements he was especially proud of the Honorary Doctor of Letters from Saint Thomas University in Fredericton in 1984; the Honorary Doctor of Literature from the University of New Brunswick in 1986 and the Order of Canada in 1995 when both he and his wife were inducted.  Many of Bruno’s works are displayed in Fredericton as part of the Beaverbrook Art Collection.

    A memorial service to honour his life has taken place.  {dcJan2017gd} [zpi]