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Item Name: Print
Title: Showgirls
Maker: Maxwell Bates
Year: 1957
Country: Canadian
Materials: lithograph
Measurements: in frame: 78 cm x 61.6 cm; work: 56.5 cm x 40.6 cm
ID Number: ART 081
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: This lithographic print by Maxwell Bates entitled “Showgirls” depicts three women dressed lavishly in costume, ready to take the stage. Bates was influenced by Expressionism, a movement that flourished at the beginning of the 20th century. In Expressionism, the artist’s internal turmoil and anxiety is reflected in distorted perspectives, sharp angles, flattened figures or forms, and gaudy colours, such as the highly saturated fuschia and violet in this artwork. Bates used the visual language of Expressionism to document his sharp observations of both the working class and the wealthy in the society around him. A painter, printmaker, architect and poet, Maxwell Bates (1906—1980) brought European modernism to western Canada. He was born in Calgary and worked at his father’s architecture firm as a young adult. Bates studied with Lars Jonson Haukaness at the Provincial Institute of Technology and Art in Calgary (1926-27) before moving to England (1931). Bates served with the British Territorial Army (1940-5) and was captured in France, spending most of WWII as a prisoner of war in Thuringia, an experience documented in his book, “A Wilderness of Days” (1978). Returning to Canada in 1945, Bates worked as an architect in Calgary, and established his studio practice, becoming an important teacher and a pioneer lithographer. With the help of John Snow, Bates brought the first lithographic press to Alberta. In 1959, Bates and his family left for a European tour, travelling until 1961, when he suffered a stroke. Settling in Saanich, near Victoria, British Columbia, he concentrated on painting. His awards include the Canadian Centennial Medal (1967), Honourary Doctorate of Laws from University of Calgary (1971), and the Order of Canada (1980). His work has been exhibited internationally, including a retrospective at Vancouver Art Gallery (1973), and is represented in numerous collections, including Tate Gallery, and National Gallery of Canada. As an architect, his most remarkable work is St. Mary’s Cathedral (Calgary, 1957).