Intercontinental Packers Reception Room Murals
The Mendel Art Gallery Collection at Remai Modern
Soon after founding Intercontinental Packers Limited in Saskatoon in 1939, Fred and Clare Mendel began inviting artists to their suite in order to share their growing collection of European and Canadian art. The reception room outside of Fred Mendel’s office was, itself, an artwork. Mendel commissioned Saskatoon-born artist William Perehudoff to paint a mural to enliven the room, which the Mendels often used for entertaining. Previously to painting the reception room murals, Perehudoff had been studying the fresco technique, under the French muralist Jean Charlot in Colorado Springs, and at the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts in New York. The artist’s design for the reception room murals was influenced by Purism, a style developed by Amédée Ozenfant and Le Corbusier in the early 1900s, which calls for clear, ordered, geometric forms and large areas of pure colour. Perehudoff selected the arts as the theme for his murals, which depicts figures making music, sculpture and painting.
Event/Exhibition meta autogenerated block.
October 21, 2017 – January 5, 2020
Perehudoff had used a conventional fresco technique, where wet pigment is applied directly onto wet plaster walls. Over time, the walls had cracked and sustained damage through years of use and redecorating. In 1977, Perehudoff over-painted the original fresco in acrylic paint, breathing new life into the murals. When the Intercontinental Packers building (then known as Maple Leaf Foods) was slated for demolition in 2010, a group of concerned citizens initiated a campaign to salvage the murals. Perehudoff’s 1977 refresh of the murals enabled a conservation team to carefully remove the layer of paint, using a strappo technique, literally striping the paint off the wall and onto a fabric layer, picking up the texture of the wall in the process. This layer of paint was then attached to a new support in order to preserve and reconstruct the reception room. These murals are a legacy of William Perehudoff’s early aesthetic achievements and of the Mendel family’s impact on the community and their tremendous support of artists.
Sandra Fraser, Curator (Collections)