Erich Pehap (1912–1981)

Pehap, Erich (1912–1981). Woods landscape. (1932)

Eric Pehap, born in 1912, is celebrated as one of Canada’s premier abstract artists. Originating from a policeman’s family, Pehap’s artistic journey began under the guidance of the renowned Viljandi artist, Julius Mageri. His academic pursuits led him to the Tallinn State School of Arts and Crafts where he honed his skills in ceramics and graphics.

In 1931, Pehap furthered his education at the Pallas Art School, earning a diploma in painting and graphics. Over the years, he built his reputation as a freelance artist and educator. However, in 1943, seeking new horizons, he ventured to Northern Europe. Settling in Stockholm, he found success as a commercial artist and illustrator until 1949 when Canada became his new home.

Recognized as one of the most prolific 20th-century artists, Pehap’s portfolio boasts thousands of prints, as well as hundreds of oil and watercolor masterpieces. His artistic eye often captured urban landscapes and compelling figure compositions, with a particular fondness for portraying female moving figures in vibrant hues. Throughout his illustrious career, Pehap graced the art world with over 15 exhibitions, spanning from Northern Europe and Estonia to New Zealand and Canada. His exceptional contributions to the art community were acknowledged with numerous awards, including the prestigious Cultural Medal.

While several European and Canadian museums proudly display Pehap’s creations, art enthusiasts worldwide can also explore his pieces online, prominently featured at the Rios Art Gallery.