191 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919876-82-X




Reviewed by Jan Roseneder

Jan Roseneder was Bibliographer at the University of Calgary Library.


The evolution of an artist in both style and subject matter is always a fascinating phenomenon. The use of a retrospective exhibition is particularly appropriate for exposing this evolution to the public. This publication is the catalogue for such an exhibition. Gershon Iskowitz emigrated to Canada in 1949, the sole survivor of his immediate family, having suffered through the horrors of the Holocaust and Buchenwald. The earliest paintings shown date from a happier time prior to these terrors. There are a number of bleak, yet matter-of-fact, drawings and paintings showing scenes of burning villages and concentration camps. After the artist came to Canada, his work changes again; landscapes begin to predominate, becoming more abstract as time passes. Colour, blending or definite, becomes as important as subject.

An exhibition catalogue is always a challenge to compile; Burnett has succeeded in making this particular work interesting and attractive. The black-and-white plates are clear and plentiful; there are also numerous colour plates covering a wide period of time and range of subjects. The text deals less with Iskowitz’s life than with his career and work — as should be the case in such a publication.

The design of text and plates is attractive. Six locations were visited by this exhibition during 1982-1983; this fact, combined with the excellence of the catalogue, makes this publication a welcome addition to any art collection library.


Burnett, David, “Iskowitz,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 25, 2024,