George K. Rackus Biography

George K. Rackus




George K. Rackus (Račkauskas) is a Canadian artist, born in Lithuania in 1927. He moved to Canada at the age of eight. Following his art studies at Wayne State University in Detroit Michigan, U.S.A., and the Ontario College of Art in Toronto Ontario, Canada, he left for Paris in the fall of 1952 to continue his studies. Aside from short “work periods” that required his return back to Canada every few years, he continued to live in Europe, primarily in Paris up until 1960. His first one-man shows were held in Paris, London and Barcelona and later extended to Luxembourg and Brussels. His annual participation in those early years in the well known “Salon des Independants as well as the “Exhibition Arts Plastic,” in Paris, all added to his laurels as did his involvements with the Penwith Society in Cornwall and the London Group in the U.K.

On his return to Canada in 1960 the works of George Rackus caught the attention of such noted art dealers as Agnes Lefort, of the Agnes Lefort Gallery in Montreal, and Douglas Duncan of the Picture Loan Society in Toronto where he held his first Canadian shows in 1960 followed by a showing at Gallery Moos in 1962 when the Gallery was first located on Avenue Road just north of Bloor Street in Toronto. His connections with some of Toronto’s major art dealers helped in many ways to consolidate his position as an emerging artist on the Canadian art scene. Through his shows, back in Canada, Rackus gained the respect of some of Canada’s most noted art critics in both the French and English press. In Montreal Francoise de Repentigny covered his show there extensively for Le Devoir as did Robert Ayrs for the Montreal Star and Dorothy Phyffer writing for the Gazette. Toronto took somewhat longer to warm up to the abstract expressionistic works of George Rackus but the positive response of Pearle McCarthy and later Kay Kritzwiser, both Art Critics for the Globe and Mail did much to bringing his works to the attention of Toronto’s art going public.