80 years after his death, a Canadian war hero’s art finally finds an audience

Nick Yudell in a self-portrait in 1940. (Photo courtesy The Lost Expressionist exhibit)

Nick Yudell was a gifted photographer. But at just 26 years old, Yudell, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force fighting Nazis in the Second World War, was killed in action. He and his five crewmates were shot down by German forces over Tunisia.

After he was killed, he left behind a gray hand-painted box full of hundreds of film negatives. Yudell excelled at portraiture and street life, and his unpublished work depicted the everyday world of his hometown of Morden, Manitoba, as well as Winnipeg, where he attended high school.

His family saved that box ever since his death; and this year, thanks to one of his cousins, Celia Rabinovitch, the war hero has received his very own exhibit at the Manitoba Museum. The Lost Expressionist opened in February and runs until December, and today, Rabinovitch joins to explain how she kept a promise to her late father by doing something noteworthy with the family’s treasure trove of art.

What we talked about:


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