1906 - 1980
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Maxwell Bates was a Canadian architect and impressionist painter. Born in Calgary, Alberta in 1906, he started painting at an early age. His work ‘In the Kitchen’ was painted when he was 15 years old. As a young adult, Bates worked for the architecture firm owned by his father, William Stanley Bates, who was a prominent architect in early Calgary, having designed the Burns Building (1912) and the Grain Exchange (1909).
In 1931, Bates move to England. Along with spending some time as a door-to-door vacuum salesman, he showed his work in several exhibits at the Wertheim Gallery. While in England, Bates joined a group of promising young artists that included Barbara Hepworth and Victor Pasmore.
As a member of the British Territorial Army in 1940, Bates was captured in France and became a prisoner of war in Thuringia. He remained a POW until 1945. He recorded his wartime experience in his 1978 book ‘A Wilderness of Days’.
Bates returned to Calgary in 1946 to work with his father’s firm. As an architect, his most notable work was St. Mary’s Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1957. He married Charlotte Kintzie in 1954, two years after the untimely death of his first wife, May Watson.
In 1949, Bates studied at the Brooklyn Museum with artist Max Beckmann. He moved from Calgary to Victoria, British Columbia in 1962 after suffering his first stroke in 1961. He suffered a second stroke in 1978 and died in Victoria on September 14, 1980.
Bates’ work has been showcased at art galleries worldwide. Retrospective exhibitions of his work have been held at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Vancouver Art Gallery. In 1971 he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Calgary. In 1980, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.