Paintings by Jaroslav Havelka (1922-1997)
Jaroslav Havelka was born in Siluvky, Czechoslovakia, in 1922. As war approached, universities were closed, and he was sent to Austria to work in the war factories. He returned to Czechoslovakia in 1944 to join the resistance movement, narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Gestapo. With war over, Jaroslav Havelka completed a degree at Masaryk University in 1946, and when Czechoslovakia was taken over by the communists, he escaped to Italy where he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Milan. In 1951 he immigrated to Canada, learned English, and in 1954 completed a M.Sc. degree at McGill University, before coming to The University of Western Ontario in 1956 as a professor of psychology. In 1969, Dr. Havelka moved to King’s College to chair its fledgling Department of Psychology. He retired in 1987 but continued to teach as Professor Emeritus. He suddenly fell ill and died on August 14, 1997.

As a youth, Dr. Havelka loved to draw, but the war interrupted any plans to study art. Only years later, in 1968, did he return to painting, untaught in any formal way, but passionate about it. He used no fixed model for any of his work, and each work is an amalgam of experiences and impressions.

Over the years, Dr. Havelka’s work has been shown in many galleries, and accepted in juried shows. These have included public galleries such as the London Regional Art Gallery and the Woodstock Art Gallery, and private galleries such as Kenneith Gallery, Sarnia; Marten Arts Gallery, Bayfield; and the Snellgrove Gallery, London. His paintings have been acquired by numerous private collectors across Canada, and abroad in such countries as Australia, Sweden, Britain and the United States. In October 2001, St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, held a memorial exhibition and sale of some 350 works. In 2004, King’s University College acquired a large number of his works for its “Havelka at King’s” collection. The Sisters of St. Joseph, London, also have a collection of his paintings and carvings.

The paintings displayed here were generously donated by Mrs. Jane Vincent-Havelka to the Centre for Transitional Justice and Post-Conflict Reconstruction.
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