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Numerous murals legacy of Dutch-born painter Fred Schaefer

Succumbs at age 71

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Well-known Dutch Canadian artist Fred Schaefer who painted murals in many public buildings, recently succumbed after a months-long illness. His students were devastated when the art instructor and lecturer in Adult Education programs in Vancouver, was forced to resign from his position. Using an impressionistic style, Schaefer’s work often reflected the constantly changing harbourfront of Vancouver, cityscapes and landscapes of B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

The Amsterdam-born painter especially left footprints in such countries as Switzerland (where his wife Erna was born and raised), the U.S.A., Mexico as well as South America and the Far East. His art can be found in all these places. In Canada, he initially worked in Montreal and Toronto before settling in Vancouver.

Although Schaefer studied scenic and theatrical design and interior architecture (at the Dutch Royal Academy of Art), his enthusiasm and inquisitiveness also led him to accept commissions beyond those realms. Schaefer’s popular series of paintings of chicken life on the farm is a case in point. In the early 1990s, the monthly trade magazine Canada Poultryman regularly featured Schaefer’s art on its cover, notably “The Hen Party” and “The Cockfight”. Readers of the publication could order prints of the limited edition art reproductions.

One commission which Schaefer considered a highlight in his varied art career resulted in the presentation of a paiting of Vancouver’s harbourfront to Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven during their visit to Canada in April 1991.

The community-minded Dutch Canadian also was active in artist’s groups. A longtime executive member of the local Artist’s Society, he also served as president of the 1500-member strong Federation of Canadian Artists in the early 1990s and was one of a select group entitled to use the acronym FCA behind his name.

Schaefer in his final months was cared for by his wife. He also leaves behind a daughter. He was born in 1929.