Where William Perehudoff grew up, sweeping prairie landscapes dominated the visual field and the harsh climate kept those who lived there humble. Perehudoff’s large horizontal canvases similarly serve as a point of reflection and self-determination. The windswept bands of lush green, cobalt blue, and burnt ochre hold strong against a snowy backdrop.
Perehudoff was a remarkably disciplined individual in all aspects of his life. After working hard as a farmer and painter, he raised sufficient funds to study in Colorado, New York, and England. He was, however, eternally loyal to the prairies and, instead of relocating to New York City, to which other abstract painters flocked, he chose to return home. This was an insightful decision, as Saskatoon became a hotbed of modernist activity based around the Emma Lake Workshops. Here, Perehudoff maintained and developed relationships with other internationally recognized art-world figures such as Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, and Clement Greenberg. The notoriously opinionated Greenberg praised Perehudoff’s work and encouraged his lifelong commitment to colour theory.
Perehudoff was a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and was awarded the Order of Canada, the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his significant contributions to the development of art in Canada. A retrospective of his work, The Optimism of Colour, was exhibited across Canada in 2011–12.