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Green SundayEnlarge image

Green Sunday, 1962

William Kurelek
Canadian, 1927 - 1977
oil and graphite over gesso on masonite
57.5 x 63 cm; artist's frame: 69.2 x 74.4 x 2.3 cm
Gift of Judge and Mrs. Darrell Draper, Willowdale, Ontario, 1987
National Gallery of Canada (no. 29860)
courtesy the Estate of William Kurelek

William Kurelek was, above all else, a storyteller. After converting to Catholicism at the age of 29, he became well known for his paintings that were steeped in his Christian beliefs, recounting memories of his childhood in rural Manitoba. "Green Sunday" takes its name from the traditional Ukrainian celebration "Zeleni Sviata", when poplar branches are brought into the house on the first Sunday in May and placed in all four corners of the living room to welcome spring after a long, hard winter. The maid in the foreground is wearing a Ukrainian costume from the province of Bukovina, from where Kurelek’s ancestors originated.

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