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LIMNERS AND COMPANY


Mercurio is currently interested in acquiring work by Limner group artists, as well as work by Flemming Jorgensen, Margaret Peterson and Jack Wise.
Maxwell Bates - founding member

Born Calgary AB 1906. Formally trained as an architect, he was also a painter, printmaker, and poet. Bates helped bring European modernism to western Canada. In 1961 he moved to Saanich, near Victoria. Here he met other artists sharing his enthusiasm for modern art and later formed The Limners, an association of modernists supporting each other in bringing their work to the public eye. 

He received several major honours including the Order of Canada. His work is represented in numerous public collections in Canada and abroad, including the Tate Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada.

Died Victoria 1980.
Pat Martin Bates

Born St. John, New Brunswick 1927. In 1957 she completed a Fine Arts diploma with honors at the Royal Academie des Beaux Arts in Belgium, and went on to graduate studies at a number of institutions including the Sorbonne in Paris. In 1963 she arrived in Victoria. 

The artist has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a professor at the University of Victoria since 1965 and as an acclaimed printmaker and arts advocate. Pat's unique artistic contribution has been to introduce metal collage prints (1959-1980) and perforated paper works (1962 to the present). Her highly innovative printmaking has won her many awards in the international arena and her work is represented in most of the world's finest art museums including the National Gallery of Canada and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

She lives and works in Victoria.

Richard Ciccimarra - founding member

Born Vienna, Austria 1924 . Largely a self-taught artist, Ciccimarra immigrated to Canada in the early 1950s and made Victoria his home. Along with Herbert Siebner, Ciccimarra helped bring a broader, more sophisticated European vision of art and creativity to Victoria. 

His pieces have a distinctive, melancholic quality, and are highly prized by knowledgeable collectors. Many of his major works are in the collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, and the Michael Williams Legacy collection.

Died Greece 1973.
Colin Graham

Born Vancouver BC 1915. Studied at UBC, Cambridge, and U of C, Berkeley.

From 1951 to 1974, during his tenure as Curator at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Colin Graham was instrumental in furthering the acceptance of modern art and its practitioners in a city still largely entrenched in a conservative, colonial attitude toward the arts.

On leaving his curatorial position, Graham began to actively pursue his own practice as a painter, creating a distinctive body of work in both watercolour and oils. He became a member of the Limners Group, an association of Victoria artists many of whom Graham had exhibited during the previous two decades.

Died Victoria 2010
Flemming Jorgensen

Born Aalborg, Denmark 1934. Jorgensen immigrated to Canada in 1956. He studied here under Herbert Siebner. He became a much respected member of the Victoria artistic community for both his mastery of artistic techniques and dedication to teaching.

 Jorgensen was a co-founder of the Metchosin International Summer School of the Arts, where he served as director from 1984-1996. 

His works are in the collections of galleries across Canada, and he had local, national and international solo and group exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and the Fran Willis Gallery in Victoria as well as galleries in Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Copenhagen, Switzerland, France and England.

Died Victoria 2009.
Alexander Lavdovsky

born 1950 Presov, Czechoslovakia. He studied painting and printmaking at the Fold Academy of Fine Arts. In addition, he attended the Institute of Graphic Arts for 5 years, where he mastered the crafts of letterpress printing and engraving. He pursued his career as an artist, engraver and printmaker. After his stay in Prague he lived shortly in Finland and Sweden, then in 1974 moved to Canada, where he now resides and continues his work. Lavdovsky became the last and the youngest member of the Limners Group.

Lavdovsky's art has been shown in one-man and group exhibitions in Czechoslovakia, USSR, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Canada.

Apart from his painting and printmaking, A. Lavdovsky operates Classic Engraving Limited, a commercially oriented, specialty print shop in Victoria, BC. Here he designs and produces engraved/embossed stationary, business cards, note cards and limited edition books.

He is also cofounder of Poppy Press, a Victoria based small press. His design and illustration have earned him several prestigious awards including two First Prizes in the Alcuin Competition for excellence in book design in Canada.

He lives and works in Victoria.
Herbert Siebner  - founding member

Born Stettin, Germany 1925. He studied fine arts there and in Berlin. 

In 1954 he immigrated to Victoria, where he became a key figure in a burgeoning artistic scene. About 1960, the artists around Siebner formed the Point Group, a predecessor of The Limners, which Siebner co-founded in 1971 after the arrival of Maxwell Bates. 

Siebner taught at the UBC Extension Department, Vancouver; the U of W, Seattle; and at UVic. He had numerous one man shows and group exhibitions throughout Germany, France, the United States and Canada. His art is found in numerous permanent collections around the world. 

 Died Victoria 2003.
Walter Dexter

Born Calgary, AB 1931. He received a diploma in Ceramics from Alberta College of Art in 1954, and continued his studies in Stockholm at the Swedish School of Art. He is well known for his innovative work with raku techniques and high quality stoneware, and his daring use of colour.In 1962 he was awarded a silver medal at the International Ceramics Exhibition in Prague, and in 1963 the Outstanding Stoneware award at the Canadian Ceramics Biennial. He has run his own studio since1972.
In 1993 he was commissioned to create a raku donors' wall for the Saanich Peninsula Municipal Hospital and had a major solo show at AGGV in 1994.

In addition Walter has instructed at the Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, VCC and the Emily Carr College of Art in Vancouver, the University of Saskatoon, and UVic. He has been President of the Craftsmen's Association of BC, Director of the CanCrafts Council and President & Vice President of Ceramists Canada.

He has exhibited across Canada as well as in Belgium, Czechoslovakia, England, Finland, Italy, Japan and the US.
Permanent collections: the Claridge Collection ,Montreal; Canada Council Art Bank & the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa; Confederation Art Gallery and Museum, Charlottetown; University of Calgary.

Died Victoria 2015.

Karl Spreitz - founding member

Born Graz, Austri1927. Encouraged by his family to study the arts in Austria, he followed a career in physical education; while working as an Olympic coach, he first took up film photography. Emigrating to Canada in 1952, Spreitz had a variety of industrial jobs. Working for General Tire in Welland,Ontario, Spreitz co-designed the first successful plastic refrigerator door gasket, a device still in use today.

In 1957 he began studies at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Ca; he went on to pursue photography, painting, graphic art, and documentary filmmaking. He won first prize in the 1964 International Film Festival (BC category) "Steelhead River" showing future fellow Limner Richard Ciccimara fly fishing in the Cowichan River.


After moving to Victoria, Spreitz worked as a freelance photographer for various publications, and began a fruitful association with a number of local artists, who encouraged Spreitz in his painting, drawing and collage. He joined the Limners with a group of these artists, with many of whom he collaborated on prints, books, exhibitions, and films.

Andy Warhol called Karl Spreitz "…the master of Instant Retrospectives."
Spreitz's work has been exhibited and collected widely throughout BC.

Died Victoria 2016
Michael Morris

Born 1942 Saltdean, England. Immigrated to Canada at age four. In 1960, Morris began his studies at the University of Victoria, transferring the following year to the Vancouver School of Art (now known as Emily Carr University of Art + Design).

After graduating from the VSA with honours in 1964, Morris attended two years of post graduate studies at the Slade School of Fine Art at the University College London, England. There he absorbed the work of Fluxus and the European avant-garde; these artistic developments abroad had a critical influence on the Vancouver experimental art scene.

Upon his return to Vancouver, Morris became acting curator of the Vancouver Art Gallery and the Centre for Communications and the Arts at Simon Fraser University. In his roles as a curator and, primarily, as an artist, Morris was a key figure of the West Coast art scene during the 1960s.

During this time, he was also known by his alias Marcel Dot. In 1973, Morris co-founded the Western Front Society – one of Canada’s first Artist-Run Centres – and served as co-director of the Front for seven years. Morris has participated in artist-in-residence programs both in Canada (Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta 1990; Open Studio, Toronto, Ontario, 2003) and internationally (Berlin Kustlerprogramm, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Berlin, Germany, 1981-1998).

His artwork is included in collections nationally and international. Morris was awarded an Honourary Doctorate of Humanities in 2005 by Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

He currently lives and works in Victoria, British Columbia.


Copyright © 1995—2010 
Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery 
+ University of British Columbia.

ASSOCIATES
Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic - founding member   
                                          b. Victoria BC April 27 1916 
A gifted child, Myfanwy Spencer was born into one of Victoria's best-known families. Her obvious talents were recognized early on by others in the community. At age 15 she was invited by Emily Carr to show her drawings in an exhibition at Carr's Peoples' Gallery. Her youth was enriched by trips to Europe and enrollment in excellent schools. After being "presented at court" in London in 1937, she returned home to help Emily Carr catalouge the paintings in Miss Carr's studio.
By 1940, Myfanwy had joined Lawren Harris's charmed circle in Vancouver. When war began, she left the coast and went on to raise a considerable amount of money for the Red Cross by drawing portraits. This done, she moved to New York, took up residence in the famed Algonquin Hotel and lived in a rich cultural world enjoying private tutoring in both music and art. She was diagnosed with an  health condition....a problem with her wrists...some years later. When told she would be unable to become a concert pianist, she let go of that intention and shifted her professional focus to drawing and painting.
The artist continued to live in both Victoria and  New York for part of each year until 1969. It was then that she returned to the family property in Saanich, built a studio and began to create work that, once again, caught the attention of the community. The gifted child had come home an acutely informed adult. However, though now expert in many styles and techniques, and able to master vitually any subject matter, it was portraiture that remained of primary importance to her. No wonder! Her portrait work borders on magic, telling much more about the subject than any photograph could. Pierre Elliot Trudeau, for one, was aware of this and commissioned MSP to do his official portrait, now hanging in Ottawa. Her portrait of Sir Yehudi Menuhin is in the National Portrait Gallery in London.
  The Spencer-Pavelic residance became a place of legendary status in the local arts community and the generosity of that family was an essential ingredent in the Limners beginning. Her portraits of fellow Limners and numerous people who have shaped Victoria's cultural life are gifts that have value beyond measure.
Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic died Victoria 2007


Our thanks to Patricia Bovey and the Maltwood Gallery for biographical and historical information on the Limners Society and its members.

Elza Mayhew - founding member

born 1916 Victoria, BC. After studying Classics at UBC, she began studying drawing and sculpture under Jan Zach in Victoria. In 1963 she completed a Masters of Fine Arts in sculpture at the University of Oregon, also under Zach's guidance. Together with Harold Town, Mayhew represented Canada at the Venice Biennale of 1964.

Mayhew is best known for her monumental abstract bronzes. Her achievements include public commissions for the International Trade Fair in Tokyo, Expo '67 in Montreal, the Bank of Canada, Expo '86 in Vancouver and the University of Victoria. She was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy and exhibited internationally.

Her work is found in many permanent collections including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, the National Gallery of Canada, Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria where the piece "Bronze Priestess" can be found. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Victoria in 1989.

In later years, she suffered greatly from physical and mental ailments resulting from styrene toxicity, related to her sculpting process.

"I feel terrific things when I put a hole through a work. I am really making doorways and that is something with which I have always been fascinated." - Elza Mayhew, quoted by Patricia Bovey

died Victoria 2004.