Frederick Hagan’s unique work has for decades responded to and shaped Canadian painting. Born in Toronto in 1918 and raised in Cabbagetown, Hagan looked to his lived environments as sources for his artistic subjects. This is certainly evident in the collection of work to be exhibited in "Close to Home: Paintings from 1940-1990". The works offer intimate glimpses into the artist’s home and studio - masterpieces honouring the humble objects found there.
Immersed in a culture of painting that increasingly favoured abstraction, Hagan remained firmly committed to his figurative style with little investment in self-promotion. But the artist’s canvases were nonetheless deeply symbolic, powerful, and energized portraits of humanity that combined Cubist, Mannerist, Expressionist, and even Classical principles of composition while ultimately creating a style all his own, rooted his personal, existential questioning.
In 1967, Hagan was awarded the Canadian Centennial Medal. In 1985, he was commissioned by Canada Post to create 16 postage stamps, issued 1986-1989. In 1998, he was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal. His work is presented in prominent public collections including those of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Royal Ontario Museum.
Frederick Hagan passed away on September 6, 2003 at the age of 85.