"Kitchener City Hall 1927"

 33.75" x 29" oil on  hard board

            Original Artist Collection         

*open edition print available, see below

  In 1924 Kitcheners old town hall was demolished and replaced by a beautiful neoclassical structure. William Schmaltz of Kitchener was the architect responsible for the design of the first Kitchener City Hall.

Kitcheners city hall became known as a kind of oasis in the downtown area. The large well kept lawn that spread out in front with its flowers and trees was indeed a relief in an otherwise brick and asphalt environment. At Christmastime the city hall was decorated with lights and garlands making it a winter time focal point. By the 1960's it became clear that the city had out grown the old building. It was overcrowded, it was cold in the winter and sweltering in the summer, and it had no elevator. In 1973 the building was demolished to make way for Market Square.

After completing the painting of the Waterloo Train Station, the story of Kitcheners original city hall was brought to my attention. Being an admirer of classical architecture and history in particular, my interest grew until at last I decided to paint it. I set out to create a work of art that would somehow capture the spirit of a time and a building fondly remembered by its' citizens. This was to be a memorial painting.

The significance of a Memorial painting: A number of artists have drawn or painted this building over the years but few have treated it with the accuracy and attention to detail that I have. I painted it as a "Portrait", which means an exact likeness. I am not saying that some artistic license wasn't applied here for it was but I was not loose and sloppy about it. Great care was taken to get the perspective right and the same care was applied to the architectural elements, front facade, capitals and entasis (curvature) in the columns of this much beloved building. My approach attitudinally was akin to that of an archeological reconstruction.  For the discerning viewer this may mean something for it is not uncommon for artists to treat historical buildings that no longer exist (and even those that still do), in a haphazard, generic way. That was not my approach here, the building in this painting was painstakingly recreated right down to the placement of its stone blocks and the shadows it cast at a given time of day. My intention was to make it visually stunning, and architecturally accurate.

That is what I mean by a memorial painting  ~ Robert Isler Wanka


*Open Edition Lithographic Print size 12 x 10 Price $45.00