Repatriating Conrad Furey’s art

Newfoundland-born Conrad Furey was a quintessential Canadian artist, so it seems strange to discover his artworks sitting in Hawaii.

Conrad Furey is perhaps best known for his colourful, simply-rendered paintings depicting everyday life on the land and waters of Newfoundland: fishers fishing, mummers mummering, people dancing, etc. The largely self-taught artist also painted Canadians enjoying everyday life: people playing music, sports, going for balloon rides, even taking a bath.

But after years of being away, as a Newfoundlander might say, Conrad Furey’s paintings are back home — where they belong.Photo of Conrad Furey painting called Skulling discovered several Conrad Furey paintings were available for sale in Hawaii and “repatriated” them back to Canada.

One piece, Angel, has been purchased by a St. John’s art lover, and the painting will soon be home in Conrad Furey’s birth province.

A second piece, called Skulling, was bought by a Hamilton collector, equally fitting, since Hamilton is where Conrad Furey lived and created his art before passing away in 2008 at just 53.

I don’t know the whole story of how Conrad Furey’s paintings ended up in one of Hawaii’s islands, some 7,500 kilometres from where they were created. An art collector had brought them there, and then left them with a friend.

The tale of how the paintings ended up in Hawaii isn’t important as the story that they are home again. The paintings have travelled a long way but have come full circle to be enjoyed again, loved again, here in Canada.

— Mark Skeffington,
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