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Wildlife: A Tribute to Clarence Tillenius

Open now: a special exhibition of Clarence Tillenius’s paintings and sketches in the Urban Corridor. Wildlife: A Tribute to Clarence Tillenius includes nine original paintings and six sketches, including Polar Bear Hunting Along the Floe Edge and Timberwolves Resting at Sunrise.

Clarence Tillenius was born in 1913 in the Interlake region of Manitoba. He was initially self-taught in wildlife art, and made many long expeditions into isolated areas to sketch animals in their natural habitat. In 1936 he lost his painting arm on a CNR construction job, but a year later was taking painting classes with Alexander J. Musgrove to rehabilitate.

The artist’s work came to wide public attention through the distribution of Monarch Life Assurance calendars in the 1950s and 1960s. His paintings were widely used as education tools to teach children about Canadian wildlife.

Tillenius created wildlife dioramas for museums across Canada.  Five of these are exhibited in The Manitoba Museum, including the iconic Buffalo Hunt and Polar Bear.

Clarence Tillenius created works that inspired younger generations. Environmental groups, schools, scientists and museums have collaborated to support his mission to create not only an appreciation of nature, but a way to protect Canada’s wilderness.

“I believe that there is in the universe an underlying rhythm, a stream of life common to all ages; that the work of an artist who could tap into that rhythm would be timeless, it would be understood in any age, since man himself is bound by, and responds to, the same rhythm as the animals.

When that rhythm calls me to a universe other than this one; I ask each of you, who wish to remember me, to look at my paintings or my dioramas. As long as my work is appreciated by the generations that follow, my work will have tapped into that rhythm and will be timeless; even though I have now crossed that great Divide.”  – Clarence Tillenius, 1913-2012