A trio of original watercolour paintings by late artist Heinz Klassen will be unveiled at the Yarrow Library in his honour on April 25.
Klassen lived in Yarrow with his wife Lois for more than 40 years and was a big supporter and patron of the Yarrow Library and loved his community.
The paintings are from a series of about 10 pieces Heinz did of the Chilliwack-Vedder River and the neighbourhood around the Yarrow Library (Community Street and Wilson Road) before he died in 2017. The three paintings in the series which Lois chose for the library are her favourites.
The framed piece — known as a triptych — will showcase all three paintings in one frame with mats separating each piece. It’s about 24 inches wide by 16 inches tall, and will be displayed alongside a smaller framed photo of Heinz and his biography.
“It’s wonderful. I feel very honoured on his behalf that the community will remember him in this way. He was such a supporter of the library and of the community,” says Lois.
She’s grateful to the Friends of the Chilliwack Libraries Society who approved the funding “very quickly” for the art installation.
Lois says her husband always saw things differently. He wouldn’t paint landscapes exactly as they were, but rather he would alter scenes so they’d become more expressive, moving people with his art.
His work was “loose and interpretive and that’s what I loved about his drawings,” she adds.
Whenever she drives down some of the streets he’s painted, “I always think I’m driving through a Heinz Klassen painting.”
Heinz Klassen’s three watercolours will be unveiled at the Yarrow Library on Thursday, April 25 at 7 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Biography: Heinz Klassen (1948 – 2017)
Heinz Klassen studied art at Vancouver Community College and the Alberta College of Art and Design graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (ceramics major).
He worked at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art and Design) as a studio assistant in the Ceramics and Sculpture Departments, taught sculpture as a sessional instructor at Fraser Valley College (now the University of the Fraser Valley) and worked in the construction industry as a builder, inspector and designer.
His work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at the Vancouver Art Gallery, the UBC Fine Arts Gallery, the O’Conner Group Art gallery, and the Reach-Gallery Museum and toured the province as part of a Vancouver Art Gallery travelling exhibition.
Heinz was instrumental in establishing the Life Drawing Open Studio at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre, serving as volunteer facilitator in the Life Drawing sessions for many years. In 2015, he co-curated an exhibition of Life Drawings in the O’Conner Group Gallery. His last exhibition was the two-person show “Interaction” with his wife Lois, in fall of 2017 shortly before he died.