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Chiarandini’s hippies on canvas

May 28th, 2015 · No Comments

Artist was fascinated by Yorkville and hippie culture

Michael Waage was from Queens, New York. He came to Toronto in the 1960s working for a circus and loved it so much he returned. He became a street worker or social worker helping Yorkville hippies. Waage moved out to Vancouver in the early 1970s and passed away in 2006 from lung cancer. Courtesy of a private collection

Michael Waage was from Queens, New York. He came to Toronto in the 1960s working for a circus and loved it so much he returned. He became a street worker or social worker helping Yorkville hippies. Waage moved out to Vancouver in the early 1970s and passed away in 2006 from lung cancer. Courtesy of a private collection

By Joan Tadier

It was 1967: the year of Expo in Montreal, the Summer of Love, Haight-Ashbury was in full swing. Love was in the air and flowers were in our hair. Yorkville Village was abuzz with music, hippies, Blow-Up, The Penny Farthing, The Purple Onion, the Riverboat, and much more.

Artist Albert Chiarandini rented a studio near Yonge and Bloor streets. He had arrived in Canada in 1932 at the age of 17, and enrolled at the Ontario College of Art, where he studied under the guidance of Frederic Challener, John Alfsen, and Franklin Carmichael of the Group of Seven.

The centennial anniversary of his birth is celebrated this year. Chiarandini frequented Yorkville, looking for interesting models. He was fascinated by hippies and the hippie culture, and wanted to capture their way of life on canvas. Many of them agreed to model, and he created several portraits.

Ten of these hippie portraits will be displayed together for the first time at Gallery Gevik (12 Hazelton Ave.). The paintings come from private collections, the Carrier Gallery, the Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery, and the University of Ottawa.

One is owned by the City of Toronto and hangs at City Hall. Chiarandini kept a detailed list of names of the hippies he painted. From this list, with the help of Linda R. Goldman and others, names can be linked to the paintings.

Chiarandini was a versatile artist. He painted society portraits, commentary pictures, and landscapes. In 2004, nearly 200 of his paintings were donated to the Georgina Arts Centre and Gallery in Sutton, by the art collector Bruce Smith.

This major collection was included in The Group of Seven Project, citing Chiarandini as “the unknown member of the Group of Seven”.

The exhibition Chiarandini: Yorkville Hippies will take place at Gallery Gevik, June 13­ to 20. There is a musical event on Saturday, June 13, 1 to 5 p.m., starring prominent musicians from 1967 Yorkville: Keith McKie, Dede Higgins, Klaas Van Graft, Sebastian Agnello, and Stan Endersby.

On Sunday, June 14, from 1 to 5 p.m. Yorkville 1960s superband Luke and The Apostles will be playing an outdoor concert. The exhibit will include photographs, 1960s memorabilia and clothing.

—With files from Linda Goldman. Joan Tadier is Albert Chiarandini’s daughter.

Tags: Annex · Arts · People