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A Brief Timeline: William Perehudoff’s Intercontinental Packers Reception Room Murals

Since Remai Modern’s opening on October 21, 2017, we have been honoured to showcase the beloved murals by late Saskatoon artist William Perehudoff.

Installed to match their placement in the former reception room of Fred Mendel’s Intercontinental Packers plant, these colourful works have been a visitor favourite.

This work is an important piece of Saskatchewan art history and testament to the impact of the Mendel family. The murals have a rich history that includes almost being lost forever.

It was no small task to preserve the murals, but thanks to an art-loving property manager, a team of conservators and the support of the public, they were saved and brought into Remai Modern’s collection.

Here’s a brief timeline of William Perehudoff’s Intercontinental Packers Reception Room Murals:

1953 – Fred Mendel, the namesake of Remai Modern’s predecessor the Mendel Art Gallery, commissions artist and plant employee William Perehudoff to create murals for the reception room. Perehudoff used a fresco technique, applying wet pigment directly onto wet plaster walls.

1977 – Perehudoff over-paints his original work with acrylic paint, creating a film that, decades later, made it easier to preserve the surface of the murals.

2008 – Plans are announced for the demolition of the Intercontinental Packers building (now known as Maple Leaf Foods). Concerned citizens begin a campaign to save Perehudoff’s work.

2009 – In August, art conservator Ian Hodkinson, along with a team of local assistants, successfully removes the first of 11 murals using the Strappo method, peeling the images off the wall with a glue made from cod fish.

2010 – After a successful removal of all the reception room murals, the Maple Leafs Foods building is demolished.

2013 – The rescued murals are exhibited for the first time at the University of Saskatchewan’s College Art Galleries.

2017 – Remai Modern opens to the public and its first exhibition Field Guide includes the Perehudoff murals.

After more than two years, and with more than 8,000 works in our permanent collection, it’s time to make room for change. Visit Remai Modern before January 5 to get one last look (for now) of this special installation. And, visit again on February 1 for the expansive new Collection Galleries exhibition Next Year’s Country.